As part of preparations for the high-level midterm review of the implementation of the Istanbul Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) for the Decade 2011-2020 (IPoA), UN Member States are considering a zero draft on the review's modalities, and gathered for a thematic event of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) to discuss implementing the IPOA in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
11 February 2016: As part of preparations for the high-level midterm review of the implementation of the Istanbul Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) for the Decade 2011-2020 (IPoA), UN Member States are considering a zero draft on the review’s modalities, and gathered for a thematic event of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) to discuss implementing the IPoA in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The midterm review, which was called for by the UNGA in December 2014 (A/RES/69/231), will take place from 27-29 May 2016, in Antalya, Turkey. The zero draft on modalities was released by the co-facilitators of the informal intergovernmental consultations, Benedicte Frankinet, Permanent Representative of Belgium, and Jean- Francis Regis Zinsou, Permanent Representative of Benin, on 3 February 2016.
According to the draft resolution on modalities, roundtable sessions at the review will focus on four themes: 1) productive capacity, agriculture, food security and rural development, and trade and commodities; 2) human and social development, and good governance at all levels; 3) multiple crises and other emerging challenges, and mobilizing financial resources for development and capacity building; and 4) building synergy and coherence with the global processes, including the 2030 Agenda, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA), the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and the Paris Agreement on climate change. Per the draft resolution, the roundtables will be interactive and multi-stakeholder in nature, and each roundtable will be open to participation by representatives of all States, up to five representatives of observers and relevant UN entities, up to three civil society organization representatives, and up to three business representatives.
The UNGA’s special thematic event on ‘Building Synergy and Coherence in the implementation of the Istanbul Plan of Action in the context of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda’ took place on 11 February 2016, at UN Headquarters in New York, US. UNGA President Mogens Lykketoft drew attention to the most recent comprehensive stocktaking exercise of the IPoA, noting that it paints a “mixed picture” of LDCs’ developmental progress. In addition, recurrent natural disasters, public health emergencies, conflicts and climate change pose serious threats to their development efforts.
Gyan Chandra Acharya, High Representative, UN Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (OHRLLS), underscored that the 2030 Agenda, the Sendai Framework, the AAAA, and the Paris Agreement will be “fundamental” to the progress of LDCs. He said the midterm review will offer a platform to launch concrete measures, initiatives and partnerships to support IPoA’s implementation.
Erik Solheim, Chair of the Development Assistance Committee, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), said nearly all developing countries have experienced “enormous progress” in areas such as life expectancy, malaria, and girls in schools. He called on the global community to be “more positive,” show successes and learn. He said aid should be increased in LDCs, be spent more wisely and focus on areas that are less likely to be supported by the private sector, such as education.
In a panel on ‘Building synergy and coherence in national and international policies for implementation and follow-up of the IPoA and the 2030 Agenda,’ Helen Clark, UN Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator, highlighted common priority areas between the IPoA and the 2030 Agenda, including: developing productive capacity for infrastructure, industrialization, and energy; building on social and human development, including through improved health status and quality education; increasing resilience to external shocks; and strengthening institutions and governance. She noted that implementation of the two agreements follows similar approaches, such as promoting the importance of building new and existing partnerships, technology transfer, support for capacity building, and improving data collection and accountability for better monitoring of results.
Solheim and other speakers pointed to the importance of eradicating poverty. Most participants outlined the need for financial resources. Finn Tarp, Director, UN University, World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER), Helsinki, remarked that, without substantial increase in resources, even Denmark would not be able to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). He called for allocating more public and private resources to infrastructure and human capital. Macharia Kamau, Permanent Representative of Kenya, highlighted “the power of targeted and leveraged financing” in LDCs, and said governments must ensure an enabling environment for financing flows in all sectors. Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, UN Committee for Development Policy (CDP) and The New School, called for greater synergies and balance among investments targeting, for example, capacities, economic infrastructure, good institutions, and productive sectors.
Several participants also called for: strengthening productive capacity; structural transformations; timely, quality and disaggregated data; technical assistance and capacity building on data and other issues; reducing vulnerability to shocks, such as climate change; economic diversification; and building resilience, including through the Green Climate Fund (GCF). The EU and other governments committed to support the smooth transition of countries after graduating from the LDC category. Kazakhstan, Turkey and others called for the timely establishment of the Technology Bank for LDCs. Maldives called for revisiting the LDCs graduation criteria, which he said do not account for graduating countries’ extreme vulnerability.
As part of a second panel discussion, participants discussed ‘Forging strengthened multi-stakeholder partnerships for timely implementation of the IPoA and the 2030 Agenda.’
A summary of the special thematic meeting is expected to serve as an input to the midterm review.
The co-facilitators for the review said consultations on the modalities and organizational arrangements should conclude in advance of a preparatory meeting of experts, which will convene from 28-31 March 2016.[Letter from UNGA President on Draft Modalities Resolution] [UNGA Resolution 69/231] [Midterm Review Website] [UNGA Special Event] [Remarks of UNGA President] [Remarks of UN Secretary-General] [Remarks of UNDP Administrator] [Event Webcast] [IISD RS Story on Preparations for Midterm Review] [IISD RS Sources] [UNGA President’s Event Summary, Issued 18 February]