Washington DC

16 April 2016

Secretary-General's Remarks at the Ministerial Meeting of the Least Developed Countries

Five years ago, the Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries adopted the Istanbul Declaration and the Istanbul Programme of Action.

The upcoming midterm review offers the opportunity to assess progress and forge the path forward.

This year will also see the 18th replenishment of the International Development Association, as well as the start of the United Nations Decade for Action on Nutrition.  And, of course, this is the first year of implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

These events provide crucial opportunities to intensify our work on LDC priorities – including sustainable and inclusive economic growth, social protection and a healthy environment.

LDCs – including Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States -- are disproportionately affected by environmental challenges, health emergencies, natural disasters, poverty and hunger, and youth unemployment.

But LDCs also represent enormous reservoirs of untapped potential. 

Meeting the targets of the Istanbul Programme of Action will require intensified and innovative cooperation.

Agenda 2030 calls for a revitalized global partnership for sustainable development. SDG 2 promises to end hunger and all forms of malnutrition by 2030 -- which is crucial and connected to meeting all of our shared goals.

The Addis Ababa Action Accord addresses a full spectrum of issues, including resources, enabling environments, and systemic challenges.

It captures the concerns of LDCs, and provides a comprehensive package for them.

In this context, the replenishment of IDA 18 is a crucial moment.

It is important to ensure that the IDA’s allocation reflects LDC priorities such as infrastructure investment as well as climate change adaptation and mitigation.

It is equally crucial that IDA’s modality takes into account more favorable criteria to enable easier access to its resources by the most vulnerable countries.

I count on LDCs to play a constructive role in making both the IDA 18 negotiations and the UN Decade for Action on Nutrition successful.

I also salute the LDCs pivotal role in the success of the Paris Climate Accord—so crucial to the future of your countries and our one and only planet.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

At the end of May, leaders will gather in Antalya, Turkey for the high-level mid-term review of the Istanbul Programme of Action.  This provides an opportunity to make further progress towards the graduation of LDCs.

As we embark on our shared journey, the voice of LDCs must be heard in all global decision-making and norm setting processes.

I look forward to continuing our cooperation to achieve these goals and secure a future of prosperity for your people and our world.

Thank you.