united_nations24 September 2016: Ministers of developing countries met in several groupings on the sidelines of the 71st UN General Assembly (UNGA) to discuss development progress against international targets, highlighting the importance of support for South-South Cooperation, technology access and capacity building.

On 23 September 2016, the 40th annual ministerial meeting of the Group of 77 and China (G-77/China) took place. UNGA President Peter Thomson commended the Group’s leadership in formulating international agreements, in particular the Declaration on the Right to Development and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Thomson stressed that the 71st UNGA session aims to drive progress towards all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and noted opportunities in the October 2016 Habitat III conference in Quito, the November 2016 climate conference (UNFCCC COP 22) in Marrakesh, and the June 2017 conference on oceans, which he said will be “the game-changer” for restoring ocean health. Finally, Thomson stressed the value of South-South cooperation as the best expression of solidarity and interdependence among developing countries, and pledged to work closely with the incoming UN Secretary-General to ensure that he or she will put the interests of the world’s developing countries at the heart of the UN’s agenda.

On 24 September, at a ministerial meeting of the least developed countries (LDCs), UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson noted that the mid-term review of the Istanbul Programme of Action for LDCs (IPoA) in 2016 had highlighted gains in agriculture, human development and peacebuilding, but also showed the need for greater progress if the IPoA is to be fully achieved by the 2021 target. To this end, he urged donor countries to fulfill their commitment to allocate at least 0.2% of their gross national income (GNI) for official development assistance (ODA) to the LDCs. Emphasizing the importance of access to technology, he welcomed the forthcoming establishment of the UN Technology Bank for LDCs, which he said will be the first of the SDG targets to be fully achieved.

Also on 24 September, the first ministerial meeting of Middle Income Countries (MICs) took place. In opening remarks, Thomson acknowledged the great diversity of MICs, noting that they encompass the majority of the world’s poor, as well as some of its most dynamic national economies. He emphasized the important role of MICs in achieving the 2030 Agenda, including through South-South and triangular cooperation that will share their development experiences with those of other developing countries. He called on the international community to empower MICs through greater access to policy advice, capacity building and technology, and for improving political coordination and support between the UN system and MICs, suggesting that the UNGA resolution on the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review (QCPR) process, to be negotiated later in 2016, could further these discussions. [UN Press Release on LDCs] [DSG Remarks at LDCs Meeting] [UNGA President’s Remarks at MICs Meeting] [UNGA President’s Remarks at G-77/China Meeting]