Community Water Supply and Sanitation
Leaving no one behind calls for countries to address structural challenges to SDG achievement. Credit: UNDP.

As prepared for delivery.

I am delighted to join you today at this important meeting of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) – a group that is at the heart of our work in UNDP as well as the broader UN Development System. I look forward to establishing long lasting and fruitful partnerships with this group of countries, individually and collectively, to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

All the countries of the world, developing and developed, have committed to achieve the goals and aspirations of the 2030 Agenda, but are beginning their post-2015 journey from different starting points.  All countries are seeking new ways to address complex and interconnected challenges, such as shocks from crises, economic stagnation, inequality and poverty, providing access to clean and affordable energy, or mitigating and adapting to climate change.

Let me use this opportunity to commend member states, partners and the entire United Nations Systems for the resounding efforts leading up to the establishment of the Technology Bank. This novel Bank will help to strengthen national capacities in science, technology and innovation towards an effective implementation of the Istanbul Programme of Action (IPoA) and the achievement of the SDGs. Let me acknowledge the leadership role of Turkey in accelerating the take-off of the Technology Bank.   

The Special Needs of LDCs

Development progress has been particularly challenging for LDCs, given the low base, complexity of multiple challenges and capacity constraints. Implementation of the 2030 Agenda will require integrated strategies, a task the development community can assist with.  Such inter-sectoral solutions are needed to address the intertwined challenges of poverty eradication, inclusive and rapid economic growth, environmental sustainability and structural vulnerability in a coherent manner.  In spite of their limited capacity, LDCs are shaping the global development landscape.  

LDCs as a group have made significant strides over the past two decades. For instance, seven of the 13 fastest growing economies in the world are from this group – Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Myanmar, Bhutan, Mozambique, Tanzania and Rwanda. We have also seen reductions in poverty in several LDCs such as Guinea, Burkina Faso, Bhutan and Bangladesh - although at a slower pace when all LDCs are considered. There are more children in school and more people with access to safe drinking water today than there were a decade ago . 

Yet enormous challenges remain

The imperative to “leave no one behind” calls for an approach that addresses the root causes and drivers of risk and vulnerability. Countries must address structural challenges to SDG achievement and on deepening and protecting development gains. These include low and narrow bases in terms of their economic opportunities and prospects, systemic vulnerabilities to natural, economic and other shocks; demographic changes, urbanization and migration; unsustainable natural resource management, and; insufficient or outdated infrastructure and services, and constrained capacity to deliver the type of complex and integrated approaches needed to move towards achieving the 2030 Agenda. 

UNDP’s commitment to LDCs Issues/IPoA

Supporting LDCs on graduation and on the implementation of Agenda 2030 lies at the heart of UNDP’s mandate and work. The bulk of our core programme resourcing is allocated for work in LDCs. Our work on poverty eradication, sustainable development pathways, inclusive markets, aid for trade, extractive industries and building institutional and national capacities all contribute to these objectives.

We also give significant tailored support in the mainstreaming of IPoA and the SDGs into national development plans, UN Development Assistance Frameworks and UNDP Country Programme documents.

In Laos, for example, UNDP supported the elaboration of the 8th National Socio-Economic Development Plan, which is centred on both LDC graduation and mainstreaming the SDGs. In Angola, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Equatorial Guinea, and Nepal, UNDP is supporting their LDC graduation by 2020. In Bhutan and Myanmar, we are working to strengthen statistical systems, data collection, and monitoring for the implementation of both the Istanbul Programme of Action and the SDGs.

In addition, through our Mainstreaming, Acceleration and Policy Support (MAPS) framework in Support of Agenda 2030, we have supported at least 8 LDCs (Comoros, The Gambia, Timor Leste, Sudan, Djibouti, Guinea, Cambodia and Liberia) to adapt the SDGs to national and local contexts, target efforts on priority areas, and provide strategic policy support. 

In Closing

As the UN Development System, we commit to play our part. However, meeting the special needs of LDCs will require continued strong national leadership, dedicated support from national and international partners, and mobilizing sufficient resources. I hope that today’s discussion will generate constructive ideas on how we can collectively accelerate progress on the IPoA, build the necessary synergies with the SDGs and use the Technology Bank to unleash LDCs potential in a way that ensures no one is left behind by 2030.