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Grappling with Chaotic Weather Patterns, Debt Distress, Least Developed Countries Need Climate, Financial Justice, Secretary-General Urges at Ministerial Meeting

Following is the text of UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ video message to the ministerial meeting of the least developed countries, in New York today:

The troubles of the world often affect least developed countries (LDCs) first and worst.  You are caught up in climate chaos and debt distress, struggling to recover ground lost during the pandemic, and unable to access new technology. Development progress in LDCs depends on global solidarity and support.  But, today, we see the opposite:  a poisonous atmosphere of geostrategic tension and uncertainty.

The Doha Plan of Action is a road map for LDCs to navigate our troubled times.  Its recommendations, from the Food Stockholding System to the Online University, are strategic investments in the future of Least Developed Countries.  More broadly, developing countries need justice in two key areas.

First, climate justice is a condition for sustainable, inclusive development in LDCs.  We must see substantial progress at COP28 [twenty-eighth Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change] in Doha — including by implementing the Loss and Damage Fund.

I will continue pushing for a Climate Solidarity Pact in which all countries make extra efforts to reduce emissions this decade, and developed economies support other countries to achieve this.  That must include a massive boost in technical and financial support for renewable energy and green jobs in LDCs.

Developed countries must also present a clear and credible road map to double adaptation finance by 2025.  The $100 billion goal must be met, and the Green Climate Fund must be fully capitalized.

And second — LDCs need financial justice.  Finance is the fuel that powers sustainable development. But, many LDCs are in a severe financial squeeze.  Twenty-two out of 46 are either in, or at high risk of, debt distress.

I am calling for a Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Stimulus to scale up resources for sustainable development, and provide effective debt relief.  I am also advocating for deep reforms to our dysfunctional, outdated and unjust global financial architecture, which reflects the realities of yesterday’s world.

We need a global financial system that puts the interests of LDCs first, not last.  Least developed countries are home to 1 in 8 people on earth.  Your voices count — especially when you raise them together at the United Nations.  The UN is your ally and partner in implementing the Doha Plan of Action and securing a safer, more sustainable and inclusive future.

For information media. Not an official record.