Statement by the Hon. Mr. Narayan Kaji Shrestha Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Physical Infrastructure and Transport and the Leader of Nepali Delegation at the General Debate of the Fifth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries Doha, 6 March 2023

Statement by the Hon. Mr. Narayan Kaji Shrestha Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Physical Infrastructure and Transport and the Leader of Nepali Delegation at the General Debate of the Fifth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries

Doha, 6 March 2023


Mr. President,

Excellencies, Heads of the States and Governments

Mr. Secretary-General of the United Nations,

Secretary-General of the LDC5 Conference,

Excellencies and distinguished delegates,

At the outset, I would like to join the previous speakers in thanking and appreciating the Government of State of Qatar for generous and warm hospitality accorded to us; and excellent arrangements made for the Conference.

My appreciation also goes to the Secretary-General of the Conference and her able team for substantive as well as other preparations.

I align my statement with the statements delivered by the Republic of Cuba on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, and Malawi on behalf of the LDCs.

Mr. President,

Only six countries have graduated from the LDC category, since the creation of the Group in 1971 by the UN General Assembly. The progress is agonizingly slow. Much acclaimed international economy and globalization have failed to bring prosperity in the LDCs.

LDCs account for 14 per cent of the global population but they account for only 1.3 per cent of global GDP. However, they account for more than 50 per cent of the world’s extremely poor.  Things went terribly wrong leaving so many countries and so many people in poverty on the island of prosperity accumulated by few people and countries.

Doha Program of Action (DPoA) is the fifth dedicated ten-year program of action for LDCs. It must be at least second to the last if not the last one itself. LDCs cannot wait another half a century just to leave the tag of LDC. Therefore, we strongly call on our development partners for the effective implementation of Doha Program of Action in tandem with 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Let us pledge political will to make the DPOA a solution to pull the LDCs back from the global multiple crisis and to enable them to achieve resilient and sustainable development.

Nepal is firmly committed to graduating from the LDC category even in the face of profound economic setbacks owing to the pandemic, earthquake, and climate change.

My government is determined to bring prosperity in the lives of Nepali people through accelerated, resilient, inclusive, and sustainable economic development.

Not far from the recent past, Nepal has gone through historic political transformation. The power of people’s war and people’s movement has transformed the country from monarchy to republic, unitary to federal. Thus, federal democratic republic and socialism oriented inclusive democracy has been institutionalized in the new the constitution promulgated in 2015 by the Constituent Assembly. The Constituent Assembly was itself a part of the unique, home-grown, and nationally led peace process in Nepal. Now, we are in the process of implementing the constitution which has shouldered upon us the historical task of economic development and prosperity with social justice as the main task of today. Our government has taken this as the singleness of purpose. We are also serious on the truth that political change itself cannot be saved and consolidated without giving the dividend to the people in terms of economic development to change their lives.  It is our time to unleash the potential of Nepali people for rapid economic development. We know the moment has come. So, this government is determined to deliver.

Mr. President,

Though the pace of our economic development is not so rapid and satisfactory; Nepal is determined to embark on the process of graduating from LDC by 2026. The LDC graduation should be smooth and sustainable. There should be continuation of some support measures so that graduating and graduated LDCs will attain and sustain their smooth and irreversible graduation.

A strong partnership is essential for building resilience, strengthening productive capacity, and accelerating the structural transformation of the LDCs.

Nepal sincerely calls on development partners not only to fulfill their ODA commitment but also to provide concrete and substantial support to meet the development needs of LDCs.

Tackling climate change is our collective responsibility. However, it primarily entails the scaling up of action by the historical as well as present large emitters. We welcome the decision to establish the Loss and Damage Fund in CoP27. The fund must have sufficient resources, as trillions are required in climate finance for adaptation and mitigation.

Meeting of the $100 billion climate finance promise stands as a test case for a sustained climate finance for the future.

While we welcome some short-term debt relief measures, we call for a comprehensive debt relief initiative for the debt-distressed LDCs.

We call on development partners for enhanced digital cooperation and technology transfer keeping in mind the LDCs are the least connected countries.

Mr. President,

There is barely any disagreement that the LDCs are the battleground on which the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development will be won or lost. Sadly, LDCs are the hardest hit by compounded challenges of pandemic, conflict, and climate change resulting in slow progress of the SDG implementation.

We still have hope that our renewed and strengthened partnership with development partners, UN agencies, and private sectors enable us to win the SDG battle.

In conclusion, Mr. President, collective effort is the foundation of our journey towards a prosperous and sustainable future for our people.

Together, we can overcome new and emerging threats including COVID-19, which has urged to all of us for rethinking

Together, we can overcome economic challenges and rebuild it better.

Together, we can overcome the climate crisis and save our planet from the brink of climate hell.

Together, we can achieve SDGs in the spirit of leaving no one behind by reaching the furthest behind first.

As a responsible member and incoming Chair of the LDC Group, Nepal remains committed to upholding the Group’s collective interest in all possible manners to enable them to march ahead on the path of prosperity.

I thank you!