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The UN commitment to the Least Developed Countries: a reality check


09:00 – 10:00 (New York time)- In English and French

The 2030 Agenda for sustainable development, adopted in 2015, embraced the mantra “leave no one behind”.

How much does this apply to the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), where some 900 million people live all too often in conditions of acute poverty and with many basic human needs still unmet?

The UN is negotiating a new Programme of Action for the LDCs to be adopted in Doha, Qatar, in January 2022. So the time has come for a reality check with regard to this group of countries whose success is critical to the realization of the entire 2030 Agenda.

In 2011, when the Istanbul Programme of Action for the LDCs was adopted, 49 countries were classified as “least developed” based on three criteria: national income below a certain threshold; education and health levels impeding overall human development; and a higher than average degree of economic and environmental vulnerability

The Istanbul Political Declaration included a commitment (paragraph 1) to enable half of the LDCs, about 24 countries, to meet the graduation criteria by 2020. Today, the total count of LDCs is 46. In the past ten years, only three countries graduated while another one (South Sudan) joined the group; and only three countries are scheduled for graduation in the next few years, as reported by the Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Countries, and Small Island States (OHRLLS).

  • Was the target of cutting by half the number of LDCs in just ten years overly ambitious?
  • Is the slow progress in the LDCs due to adverse global conditions, or domestic policy choices?

UN5 brief

This briefing for parliamentarians will raise awareness of the LDCs as part of the IPU’s commitment to contribute a parliamentary dimension to the preparatory process for the Doha Conference (LDC V).

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