Closing Remarks at the Virtual Meeting of the National Focal Points of African LDCs on Response to COVID 19 and Way Forward

Closing Remarks by Ms. Fekitamoeloa Katoa‘Utoikamanu, High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States

11 June 2020 
New York, USA

Ladies and gentlemen,

Thank you all for an engaging dialogue!

There is no doubt left that the COVID-19 pandemic puts on hold the economic and social progress of African LDCs.

There is no doubt that we must act swiftly and effectively.  Failure to do so may reverse hard-won gains achieved over the last decade.

At the same time, some African LDCs—with the active and effective support of their development partners—have shown the way in fighting the pandemic. They did so by providing some level of social protection to their citizens who lost jobs and thus their incomes. They did so by supporting small businesses.  This is how they also and built the foundations for building back better and stronger.

They and their partners have demonstrated that every black cloud really can have a silver lining.

African LDCs and their development partners ought to seize the moment to build resilience and accelerate the path to an inclusive sustainable development.

We must seize this moment to re- evaluate and adapt development strategies and policies that can accelerate resilience building and promote a post-COVID-19 sustainable recovery.

It goes without saying that for recovery plans to be sustainable they must be aligned with the Istanbul Programme of Action, SDGs and the Paris Agreement. They also must aim for long-term solutions. The stakes are high and we must go beyond immediate health crisis management.

Having said this, without any doubt, public health systems need to be enhanced. Governance at all levels needs to be strengthened. National social protection systems need to be improved on.  We need to accelerate high impact investments in the key levers of sustainable development such as high-speed Internet, education, sustainable infrastructure and renewable energy.  

As climate change is not on hold, African LDCs ought to  raise their climate ambitions. Investing  in the green economy will enhance resilience. Investing in  and leveraging digital technologies will help leapfrog transformations.

Renewed and strengthened global partnerships and regional cooperation must be integral to the robust recovery of African LDCs. More than ever before, African LDCs need global solidarity, cooperation and support.

At a time of crisis, our commitment to leaving no one behind is put to the test.

A Decade of Action on SDGs demands investment in  concerted efforts across the UN system and the global North and the South at large.

The new programme of action 
we see in the making should encapsulate global commitments and solidarity towards the LDCs for the remaining decade of the 2030 Agenda.

Let me conclude by assuring you of OHRLLS full and unwavering support to LDCs in overcoming 
this crisis and on their path to an inclusive and sustainable development.

Thank you.