Least Developed Countries Need Commitment Now, Must Be at Centre of All Global Efforts, Deputy Secretary-General Tells Doha Conference
Following are UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed’s remarks at the closing plenary of the fifth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries, in Doha today:
I am delighted to be with you for this closing session of the fifth United Nations Conference on Least Developed Countries.
Allow me to start by paying tribute to our Qatari friends for their exemplary hosting. And for their unstinting commitment to the LDCs [least developed countries] over a turbulent two years.
Twice we were thrown off course by the COVID-19 pandemic. But during that time, we never lost sight of the need for the world’s most vulnerable countries to have this global moment. A moment where the entire UN system, development partners, parliamentarians, the private sector and civil society, and especially our youth, all came together with one ambition: The determination to get the development journeys of the LDCs back on track, and to bring the Sustainable Development Goals back within their reach. Throughout this week we have seen what can be achieved through genuine partnership and multilateral dialogue.
Each track — youth, South-South cooperation, private sector, parliamentarians and civil society — has contributed energy, vision and ideas for lasting change. The Doha Programme of Action represents a clear blueprint for recovery, renewal and resilience in the world’s most vulnerable countries.
Taken together, the five key deliverables from the Doha Programme of Action — an online university, a graduation support package, a food stock holding solution, an investment support centre, and a crisis mitigation and resilience building mechanism — will answer key challenges facing the LDCs and set the path for a more prosperous, equitable future.
The crisis mitigation and resilience building mechanism will also increase LDCs resilience to climate change through adaptation, early warning system improvement, and multi-stakeholder resilience-building measures. This will all help to safeguard hard-won development gains.
But this success is not automatic. To achieve these deliverables, LDCs need massive financing — at scale, and directed where it matters most. This is why the Secretary-General has called for reforms of the international financial architecture, coupled with a large-scale SDG [Sustainable Development Goals] Stimulus, which calls for a significant increase in financing for development to the tune of at least $500 billion a year.
Importantly, the SDG Stimulus calls not only for additional resources, but for greater channelling of these resources towards long-term sustainable development outcomes and just transitions for all. This includes LDCs in particular, who remain at the heart of the sustainable development agenda. This plan, if backed up by necessary financing, could future-proof LDCs against some of the most intractable issues that are holding them back from fulfilling their potential and their aspirations.
We have achieved a considerable amount already. From the adoption of the Doha Programme of Action last year, to the Conference here today — progress is already apparent. From the Partner2Connect digital coalition, delivering digital transformation in LDCs, to the new partnerships announced at the Private Sector Forum — we are seeing genuine commitment.
But we must go further still. You do not need me to repeat the range of crises we are facing — crises that hit LDCs hardest. What is needed now is a deep and longstanding commitment to the vision of the Doha Programme of Action.
As we move forward to hugely significant events in 2023 — the UN Water Conference, the Food Systems Stocktake, the SDG Summit in September and COP 28 [twenty-eighth Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change], among others — we must continue to prioritize the LDCs at the centre of these submits.
If we are to have any hope of achieving the SDGs, we must put first those who are furthest behind on their development journeys. To this end, it is vital that the SDG Stimulus is agreed to by the G20 [Group of 20] in time for September’s Summit.
Then in 2024, we look forward to the Summit of the Future, which will bring together Member States, UN agencies, civil society, academic institutions, the private sector, and youth to discuss Multilateral Solutions for a Better Tomorrow.
This will be a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reinvigorate global action, recommit to fundamental principles, and further develop the frameworks of multilateralism so that they are fit for the future and support all people, everywhere.
As we prepare to leave Doha, let us all remember that the Programme of Action is for the LDCs — but it is a compact owned by the entire international community and a vehicle to take us closer to the achievement of the SDGs. The commitments and responsibilities do not stop and start with the signing of the documents or attending Conferences. They must be integral to our efforts towards 2030 and extend for the full decade.
That message was delivered loudly and clearly by the Secretary-General to the UN principals who met here this week. LDCs cannot wait. They need commitment. They need action now. In a decade’s time, I am hopeful that the work we have started here this week we result in real and lasting change for millions of people.
Let me close by emphasizing again my sincere thanks to everyone who has made this such a successful and meaningful Conference. My special appreciation to the USG of OHRLLS, Ms. Rabab Fatima [Under Secretary-General of the Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States], and her team, particularly our young people who have joined in making this a success. We go forward with renewed hope and determination and commit to a decade of delivery for the LDCs. Thank you.