Date/Location: Wednesday, June 25, 2013; 10:00-12:00; NLB 3
Speakers: Mr. Debapriya Bhattchariya; Madame Michele Pierre Louis (Former Prime Minister of Haiti); Mr. Anwarul K. Chowdhury (Undersecretary General for UN-OHRLLS); H.E. Mr. Jean-Francis R. Zinsou (Ambassador of Benin); Professor Mustafizur Rahman (Chief Executive Director of Centre for Policy and Dialogue, Bangladesh); Professor Dr. Saleemul Huq (International Institute for Environment and Development); Dr. Mariteuw Chimere Diaw (Head of African Model Forest Network and member of LDC Independent Expert Group)
Written by: Marli Kasdan
Attended by: Iman Yashruti, Wayne Doyle, Sunny Hor, Marli Kasdan
Today at the UN an event was held to discuss the post-2015 development agenda from the perspective of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Landlocked Developing Countries, and Small Island Developing States. These countries face the greatest challenges for development because they are the most behind. Discussing the post-2015 agenda from their perspective is essential to ensure an inclusive and successful post-2015 framework.
The first speaker, Mr. Bhattchariya began the discussion by pointing out the asymmetric power relation that exists today between developed countries and the LDCs. In total there are 48 LDCs. Even though they are a large group of countries, the LDCs constitute less than 2% of global GDP and less than 1% of international trade. Because the LDCs have less of a voice and less power in the international system, they are continually marginalized and put at a disadvantage.
Furthermore, Mr. Bhattchariya stated that in the LDCs, the implementation of the MDGs was not smooth and the results were rather uneven. Many indicators will not be achieved by 2015 so it is pertinent to address the unfinished agenda and tackle new issues. He concluded his remarks by commenting on the global financial economic crisis from which the LDCs have not yet recovered and pointed out that LDCs are often more vulnerable to economic shocks, even though they are not the ones contributing to them.
Following, Madame Pierre-Louis spoke about how the post-2015 development agenda can be shaped from the LDCs perspective. She stated that among the LDCs there is consensus for the need to address major issues such as quality education, equal access for all, issues of governance, accountability, transparency, reproductive health, food production and nutrition, and employment.
Furthermore, she stated that the current economic system is in direct contradiction with sustainable development and poverty eradication because of how marginalized the LDCs are in this system. She also pointed out that the implementation of the post-2015 development agenda will be difficult if there is little political will and if civil society is not fully engaged.
Mr. Chowdhury then gave a statement on how the burden of poverty, disease, and illiteracy that plagues the LDCs means there’s a long way to go in development, even with the current progress that has been made. He called for sustained inclusive economic growth, basic infrastructure, and productive capacity building to lift LDCs out of poverty.
Furthermore, he talked about how 70% of people living in LDCs live in rural areas and that the agricultural sector of the economy needs to be addressed. In conclusion he stated that access to energy and integrated and holistic policies with inclusive, universal goals are essential to enhance the capacity of the LDCs and create a sustainable post-2015 development agenda.
Following the first three speakers, a new panel took the floor consisting of H.E. Mr. Zinsou, Professor Rahman, Dr. Huq, and Dr. Diaw who all spoke about the LDCs perspective in the post-2015 development agenda. The four panelists spoke about the lessons learned from the MDGs and strategies to strengthen the post-2015 framework and take the specific needs of the LDCs into account.
They also spoke about the vulnerability of the LDCs and the challenge of linking global discourse with local realities. Social infrastructure, green house gas emission reductions, universal quality education, and an environmental agenda were also emphasized. The discussion concluded with a question and answer session from the floor.