STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY MS. SAHAR NASSER, FIRST SECRETARY, MISSION OF THE STATE OF PALESTINE TO THE UN, AT THE CONSIDERATION OF ITEM 21: GROUPS OF COUNTRIES IN SPECIAL SITUATIONS, AT THE SECOND COMMITTEE OF THE UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY (New York, 18 October 2019)
1. I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
2. At the outset, the Group would like to thank the Secretariat for the presentation of the documents for our consideration under the Agenda Item 21 (a) and (b)
3. The LDCs have embarked on the final year of implementation for the Istanbul Programme of Action (IPOA). While much progress has been made on access to information and communications technology (ICT), sustainable energy, health, education, many areas such as structural transformation, trade, financing and climate change remain with huge gaps.
4. Challenges and crises such as climate change, natural disasters, regression in financial progress and the growing digital divide are further compounding the structural challenges that the 47 most vulnerable countries of the world have been facing and pose a threat to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
5. The Group notes with worry the resurgence of economic volatility that has resulted in rising debt ratios and debt distress, with total external debt stocks of developing countries and economies in transition as a whole more than doubling, rising from $4.5 trillion in 2009 to an estimated $9.7 trillion in 2018, resulting as at November 2018, in 12 LDCs listed as having a high risk of distress and 5 in debt distress.
6. We welcome the increased ODA flows to the least developed countries by 5 per cent over the 2015-2018 period. However, we note with concern that bilateral ODA to the least developed countries decreased by 2.7 per cent in real terms in 2018, and remains far below the United Nations target of 0.15-0.20 per cent of GNI.
7. We also welcome the generous offer of the Government of the State of Qatar to host the Fifth United Nations Conference on Least Developed Countries (LDC V), in Doha in March 2021 and we look forward to its endorsement by the General Assembly during this session.
8. The Group would like to thank all partners for their continued engagement and cooperation in the build-up to LDC V and we reiterate the call for contributions to the trust fund for the conference to enable all LDCs to effectively participate in the conference.
9. We look forward to collaboration and dialogue with all stakeholders, member states, NGOs and UN Funds programmes and Agencies as regards the substantive inputs and preparatory processes for LDC V.
10. Turning now to sub-item (b), the Group recognizes special development needs and challenges of landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) arising from their landlockedness, remoteness from world markets and geographical constraints that impose serious impediments for export earnings, private capital inflow and domestic resource mobilization of landlocked developing countries and therefore adversely affect their overall sustainable development and expresses its concern that their efforts towards sustainable development are affected by the frequent falling of commodity prices and that the LLDCs are highly exposed to climate change and disproportionately affected by its adverse impacts.
11. The Group underlines that infrastructure development plays a key role in reducing the cost of development for landlocked developing countries and that the development and maintenance of transit transport infrastructure, information and communications technology, and energy infrastructure are crucial for landlocked developing countries in order to reduce high trading costs, improve their competitiveness and become fully integrated into the global market.
12. We reaffirm our commitment to the effective implementation of the Vienna Declaration and the Vienna Programme of Action for Landlocked Developing Countries for the Decade 2014-2024, and encourage the landlocked developing countries, transit countries, their development partners, the United Nations system and all other actors to implement the actions that have been agreed upon in the Vienna Programme of Action, in its six priority areas, namely: fundamental transit policy issues; infrastructure development and maintenance; international trade and trade facilitation; regional integration and cooperation; structural economic transformation; and means of implementation; in a coordinated, coherent and expeditious manner.
13. The Group welcomes the comprehensive high-level mid-term review of the implementation of the Vienna program of Action for the LLDCs, which will be held on 5-6 December 2019 in New York.
I thank you.