The General Debate of the Second Committee of the 68th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations – 14th and 15th Meeting

Date and Location: Monday, October 21, 2013; 10am-1pm, 3pm-6pm; Conference Room 2 (CB)

Key Speakers: Gyan Chandra Acharya (Under-Secretary-General High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States(HRLLS)); Representative from Fiji (on behalf of the group of 77 and China), Haiti (on behalf of CariCom), Singapore (on behalf of ASEAN), Lao PDR (on behalf of Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs)), Benin (on behalf of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs)), European Union (on behalf of its member states), Ethiopia, Malaysia, India, Tajikistan, Mongolia, Turkey, Russian Federation, Kazakhstan, Maldives, Bangladesh, Morocco, Burkina Faso, Tuvalu, Angola, China, Paraguay, Nepal, Myanmar, Bhutan, Zambia, Botswana, Malawi, South Africa, United States, Nigeria and World Food Programme.

Written By: Shan Cheema

 Mr. Chandra Acharya (www.unohrlls.org)On its 14th meeting, the second committee started its general discussion on groups of countries in special situations, under the agenda item 22. M. Gyan Chandra Acharya, the Under-Secretary-General HRLLS, introduced three reports of the Secretary General. The reports were on the implementation of the programme of action for the LDC’s for the decade of 2011 to 2020; on the establishment of a technology bank and science, technology and innovation supporting mechanism dedicated to LDCs and on the implementation of the Almaty Programme of Action (APoA).

According to the report the implementation of the programme of action for the LDC’s for the decade of 2011 to 2020, “Mixed progress has been made towards achieving the goals of the eight priority areas of Istanbul Programme of Action (IPoA).” A number of LDCs have recorded rising investment rates, rapid

urbanization and improved human development. However, due to reduced ODA flows, increased fluctuations in commodity prices, high exposure to shocks and disasters, the report noted that most LDCs will not meet many MDGs by 2015. LDCs can only graduate from their current status, Mr. Acharya said, if productive capacity-building is prioritized in both, regional and global agenda.

The report on the establishment of a technology bank and science dedicated to LDCs noted that such countries need to advance technologically to overcome their backwardness. The report on the progress in the implementation of the APoA provided an assessment of the social and economic performance of the LLDCs. The report noted that due to their special geographical conditions, the landlocked countries pay more than double the costs to import or export a standardized container of cargo, when compared with transit countries. “The increased costs for trade result in reduced trade flows that negatively impact the economic growth and social development of the LLDCs,” said Mr. Acharya.

Representatives from many states expressed their concerns on the sluggish progress of the LDCs towards achieving the targets of the IPoA. The representative of Haiti said, “It was shameful to know that 79% of the residents of LDCs don’t have access to electricity.” Similar concerns regarding the access to electricity were highlighted by the Indian, Ethiopian and Bangladeshi delegations. The delegations appreciated the progress in child mortality rate but stressed on the urgency of progress in the areas of education, health and poverty eradication.

The representatives noted that the first year of the IPoA has witnessed deceleration. They urged for a full and effective implementation of both IPoA and the APoA. The delegations emphasized on the need of increased multilateral cooperation for LDC’s and LLDCs, prioritization of resource allocation, duty-free tariff treatment of such countries and developing transport infrastructure to facilitate trade across borders.

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