LDC Watch Statement on the UN ESCAP Regional Workshop on Adaptation of the 2030 Agenda and the IPoA at the National Level for the LDCs in the Asia and Pacific

Regional Workshop on Adaptation of the 2030 Agenda and the Istanbul Programme of Action (IPoA) at the National Level for the Least Developed Countries in the Asia and Pacific

Co-organized by UN ESCAP and the Government of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic

28-29 June 2016, Vientiane, Lao People’s Democratic Republic

Statement of LDC Watch

Chairperson, distinguished participants, and friends,

This is my prime pleasure to be a part of this Regional Workshop on Adaptation of the 2030 Agenda and the Istanbul Programme of Action (IPoA) at the National Level for the Least Developed Countries in Asia and Pacific organized by UN ESCAP. I would like to thank UN ESCAP and the Government of Laos for giving me an opportunity to reflect on the voices of LDC civil society on the UN Mid-Term Review of Istanbul Programmes of Action (IPoA).

As you all know, the UN High-Level Mid-Term Review of Istanbul Programmes of Action was fruitfully accomplished about a month back in Antalya, Turkey reaffirming their “commitment to the full, effective, and timely implementation of the Istanbul Programme of Action”. Political leaders of LDCs officially adopted the Declaration on MTR through a vigorous process. As an integral part of the UN MTR on IPoA, LDC civil society forum coordinated by LDC Watch in collaboration with UN OHRLLS and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of Turkey also came up with a separate CSO Declaration calling to all LDC governments and its development partners including international development agencies “to develop an overarching framework for smooth transition towards graduation and a set of time-bound specific and result-oriented guidelines that promote sustainable post-graduation developments” in LDCs.

The IPoA 2011-2020 has offered an opportunity for LDCs to strengthen their productive capacity and good governance to end all forms of existing injustice, poverty, and vulnerability by transforming their age-old exploitative socio-economic and political structures. In the last five years since 2011 after the adoption of IPoA, many LDCs in the Asia Pacific Region have made remarkable progress in poverty reduction and improvement in their socio-economic indicators. However, the achievements they have made so far are not smooth and sustainable. Over 100 million people in this region are poor, with more than one-third still living in extreme poverty if we adopt the $2 per day poverty line. Thus the question of fair share of fruits of development to the people living and working at the lowest bottom of society is yet fluid.

Likewise, the ongoing political instability, conflict and violence, and increasing climate vulnerability compounded with a lack of adequate resources, infrastructure constraints, and institutional challenges have made the development of LDCs time-consuming and stressful. Natural calamities like earthquakes, tsunamis, cyclones, droughts, landslides, and floods have made the lives of people in LDCs of this region even more challenging. They are the most affected victims of climate change though they contributed the least to it. Therefore, special attention should be given to those LDCs who have been undergoing painfully protracted political transition after internal conflicts, natural disasters, and severe economic crises towards building sustainable peace and ensuring just and equitable societies.

Learning from experiences and past mistakes, in order to achieve the IPoA, firstly we need to enhance ownership and leadership in building capacity for productivity, means of implementation, and policy coherence at the national level. Secondly, we need to further promote regional co-operation, south-south cooperation, and north-south cooperation for fair trade for development, climate justice, technology transfer, and for elevation of science, technology, and innovation (STI) in LDCs. Thirdly, the developed countries must fulfill their ODA commitment and cancel the debt of LDCs. The bleak development situation in LDCs is further worsened by an unsustainable debt crisis with already limited resources going towards debt servicing which instead can be channeled toward much needed social development. Moreover, if we could intensify the tremendous potentialities including human and natural resources of LDCs, it could not only enhance LDCs to graduate from their present status but also contribute to peace, progress, and prosperity in the region.

As clearly stated in the CSO Declaration on MTR, we underscore the need for increased synergy and coherence between the IPoA and SDGs, and other IADGs including the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development, the Paris Climate Agreement and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction in LDCs of this region. If we look at the SDGs, all 17 target goals of SDGs, especially, Goal 1 (poverty alleviation), (Goal 2 (zero hunger), Goal 8 (decent work and economic growth) Goal 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure), Goal 13 (climate action), Goal 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions) and Goal 17 (partnership) are closely associated to eight priority areas of IPoA. Hence, there is a pressing need for governments of LDCs in the Asia-Pacific Region to develop and strengthen appropriate instruments and mechanisms for better inter-agency coordination in planning, implementation, and monitoring of different internationally agreed development goals (IADGs) including the 2030 development agenda with the IPoA in national level.

The LDCs certainly cannot be left behind in the achievement of the Agenda 2030 – the success of LDCs depends on the success of LDCs! LDCs deserve special attention in SDGs. The Global Partnership for Development, well embedded in the IPoA and the Agenda 2030, will be indeed meaningful if it paves the way for the sustainable development of the most vulnerable and marginalized LDCs.

As a global representative of LDCs civil society, LDC Watch sincerely appreciates the role of UN ESCAP in strengthening the institutional capacity of LDCs in the Asia Pacific Region to fight poverty and break the status quo through initiatives for sustainable development. In this context, we also applaud the recommendations of UN ESCAP submitted at the side event of MTR in Antalya Turkey for smoothly achieving the objectives of IPoA. As an integral and independent development stakeholder, we call upon all the LDCs Governments and their development partners including UN ESCAP for continued and more policy space for CSO participation in decision-making in national, regional, and international development processes. We also express our strong support and solidarity to the movement for peace, progress, and prosperity of LDCs and countries of special needs in this region and the rest of the world.

I wish you all the best. Thank you.

Gauri Pradhan

International Coordinator

LDC Watch

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