Statement by the Foreign Secretary of Nepal Mr. Bharat Raj Paudyal at the Annual Ministerial Meeting of the Least Developed Countries
17 September 2021
Mr. Under Secretary-General and High Representative,
At the outset, I would like to thank you, Mr. Chairman, and the Government of Malawi for convening this meeting and for effectively steering our Group during these challenging times.
I would also like to commend Under Secretary-General and High Representative and his able team for their tireless efforts in promoting the interests of the LDCs.
New and deadly variants of COVID-19 continue their march across the world, wreaking havoc on peoples, societies and economies.
The pandemic has exacerbated economic inequality, exposed the most vulnerable people to job losses, aggravated food and housing insecurity, and pushed millions back into poverty.
Its impact on LDCs has been more acute. In contrast to the massive fiscal stimulus deployed by the developed countries, the policy response of LDCs has remained much more limited. This has been due to their weak fiscal conditions, poor resilience capacity and dwindling global support.
The situation is bleaker when it comes to the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. For LDCs, adequate access to vaccines remains many months away, if not years.
This makes the call for equitable, affordable and universal access to vaccines even more urgent.
LDCs must build resilient economies with adequate physical infrastructure, advanced industrial and technological capacity, and expanded social protection systems to win the war against the virus, eradicate poverty and ensure the well-being of their people.
The structural transformation of their economy through building productive capacity is critical to propel them towards the higher stage of development.
An enhanced level of support from the international community in the areas of ODA, FDI, aid for trade, and technology transfer must complement the LDCs’ national development efforts.
Debt cancellation and suspension will be equally important to address the LDCs’ looming debt crisis.
Given the dipropionate impact of climate change on LDCs, adequate climate financing is a must to address loss and damage, and help them adopt a low-carbon development pathways.
Nepal hopes that the upcoming COP26 will take bold steps in ensuring climate justice and addressing the cause of LDCs.
Nepal is on the verge of graduation from the LDC category.
As the first and the only country to be recommended for graduation without meeting the per capita income threshold, Nepal’s is a unique case.
Of course, graduation is our long-held aspiration and an important development milestone, and we are committed to making it smooth, sustainable and irreversible.
However, we are equally anxious that it will come with upfront cost and loss of support measures. It is more so as preparations for graduation will overlap with our efforts to recover from the pandemic.
The post-pandemic recovery plan must be an integral component of the transition strategies.
As we prepare for LDC5 in Doha, we must focus on the unfinished business of the IPoA and chart out actions for sustainable and resilient recovery of the LDCs thereby enabling them to achieve the SDGs.
Graduation was an overarching motif of the IPOA. This must continue in the new programme of action, with adequate financing, means of implementation, and support measures.
In Conclusion, Mr. Chairman, LDCs can no longer afford another lost decade. We can and must avert this risk. What we need is a unity of purpose, global solidarity and strong and ambitious programme of action. Nepal remains committed to engage constructively in realizing this collective ambition.
I thank you for your attention.