I rise to speak on behalf of the Least Developed Countries across the world. This is the collective voice of those struggling with structural impediments to socioeconomic development.
In our common stand, we take this opportunity to express our condolences to the Bahamas following the devastation and loss left by Hurricane Dorian. The suffering of one is the suffering for all because we all suffer pain as one humankind.
As we rise forward to the last decade of the Sustainable Development Agenda, multilateralism is critical. We always need to define, see and pursue shared goals. And we pursue common goals across challenges of finance, climate change and technology.
These are issues that impact how we learn, work, interact and live.
Contrary to the reality that we are countries with the greatest potential to develop, we have become the countries that globally trail behind in development. We are on the worst side of global inequality. But we are also concerned that the widening digital divide threatens to leave LDCs farther behind.
The situation of LDCs demands immediate and belligerent action. The following statistics underscore this fact.
Growth rate in LDCs is projected to decline to 4.6 percent in 2019. More than 35 percent of the population in LDCs are living under extreme poverty. LDCs are hosting 30 percent of all undernourished people of the world.
About 49 percent of our population do not have access to electricity. Internet access only stands at 17 percent. The share of manufacturing in LDCs remains low. As a result, we are forced to be importers and consumers while unemployment of the Youth rises.
But danger has a way of striking most vulnerable economies and societies. We are the countries that suffer most devastation’s of climate change. And yet, Least Developed Countries contribute the least to pollution and climate change.
Our societies are characterized by widespread inequality. We are societies with the most vulnerable people on Earth. This means we have more vulnerable people who suffer the worst of tragedies of climate change.
Climate change has already warmed the world by around 1ºC. This is bad enough. Another half a degree Celsius (0.5 C) rise in temperature would cause more devastating consequences to life on Earth. And the Least Developed Countries would be the worst affected.
The report on the International Cooperation on Humanitarian Assistance in natural disasters confirms that climate change now brings more frequent, more intense, and more devastating consequences on humanity. This calls for greater investment in climate action.
The latest report on State of Food Security and Nutrition in the world suggests that food insecurity may increase in the near future to acute crisis levels. The report has warned that agricultural production may drop in many vulnerable countries. The consequent food insecurity would have more tragic implications on nutrition and public health.
Our situation is our responsibility. Our plight is our duty. But our efforts to mobilize resources domestically are constrained by serious challenges.
Yet, bilateral official development assistance to LDCs is falling. In 2018, this assistance once again fell by 3 percent. As I speak, less official development assistance is going to LDCs and African countries, where it is most needed.
Further, Least Development Countries do not meaningfully benefit from the global trading system. The volume of LDCs exports remains at 0.9 percent. This is far below the target of doubling their share of global exports by 2020. Only 1.8 percent of the global Foreign Direct Investment is going to our countries.
There is actually no progress in implementing the investment promotion regime for LDCs as promised in Addis Ababa. Five of the seven countries in debt distress are LDCs. In fact, a number of them are at high risk of debt distress. More than 10 percent of our export earnings are spent on servicing debt.
We cannot wait any longer to change the current state of the Least Developed Countries. We must take action now or never! Action must be taken by us or nobody will.
Both LDCs and our development partners need to double our efforts to accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. Let us be creative and innovative to increase our domestic resource mobilization.
At the same time, development partners must deliver their commitments. Development partners committed to mobilise 100 billion US dollars annually by 2020. Let us deliver our commitment.
For the sake of humanity, let us act now!
Thank you for your attention!