24 September 2015: LDC Watch, the umbrella group for civil society organisations from Least Developed Countries has insisted that the Sustainable Development Goals will not succeed unless there are additional measures to help LDCs. These include an increase in ODI to LDCs, debt cancellation, technology transfer without intellectual property rights, measures to protect against the plunder of LDCs’ natural resources, common but differentied responsibilities and immediate finance to mitigate the effects of climate change.
Below is the full statement
‘NO SDGs without LDCs’
1) As UN member states, our government leaders convene at a high-level meeting of the General Assembly in New York on 25-27 September 2015 to adopt the post-2015 development agenda comprising a set of 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs); we express serious concerns over the outcome document “Transforming Our World – the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”.
2) LDC Watch has actively engaged in the post-2015 process with our campaign call ‘No SDGs without LDCs’, following on ‘No MDGs without LDCs’ given that the UN-defined 48 least developed countries (LDCs) represent the most vulnerable populations of the international community.
3) The UN member states have committed repeatedly since the last four and a half decades, to provide special development attention to these countries in special situations. LDCs are not only challenged by geographical and environmental constraints but also by violence, war, conflict and political instability symptomatic of poverty, inequalities and social injustices. We have constantly called for a coherent alignment of the post-2015 development agenda with the current Istanbul Programme of Action for the LDCs for the Decade 2011-2020 (IPoA) which focuses on the graduation of at least half of the LDCs. We, however, are gravely concerned about the less ambitious “Means of Implementation and the Global Partnership for Development”.
4) Official Development Assistance (ODA) of 0.15-0.20% of GNI committed to LDCs since the last decade and a half still remains a distant dream. The IPoA states the ODA should be reviewed and enhanced in 2015. Besides increase in quantity, we call for quality of aid without any conditionalities to enable development effectiveness.
5) External debt cancellation of LDCs has been called upon in various UN General Assembly resolutions including by A/RES/68/224 on Follow-up to the Fourth UN Conference on LDCs (LDC-IV) which adopted the IPoA. It however is not included in the outcome document. We call for full cancellation of LDC debt as integral to means of implementation and global partnership for development. The resources thus mobilised can be directed to the realisation of social protection of LDC peoples.
6) We are concerned about investment promotion regimes in LDCs, rich in natural resources and plundered by extractivism. We urge LDC governments to use their sovereign rights and powers to regulate the entry, terms of conditions and operations of foreign investment.
7) We call for technology transfer free from intellectual property rights (IPRs). After 20 years of the TRIPS Agreement, the TRIPS Council records show that there is no meaningful technology transfer from developed countries to LDCs. In this context, we welcome the commitment to fully operationalising the technology bank and science, technology and innovation capacity-building mechanism for LDCs by 2017. We also call for technology assessment to be integrated into the structure and the workplan of the Technology Bank to ensure adoption of appropriate technologies, duly considering socio-economic, cultural, health and environmental implications.
8) Duty-free-quota-free market access, simple and transparent preferential rules of origin are long-standing commitments by development partners and part of the Bali package for LDCs which still contains a non-binding language on their responsibility and commitment. The Bali package for LDCs must be binding and immediately implemented and therefore, a decision to this effect must be adopted at the 10th WTO Ministerial Conference in Nairobi in December 2015.
9) We welcome the acknowledgement of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change as the primary, intergovernmental forum responsible for global response to climate change. We reiterate that climate finance must be immediate, new and additional grants to address mitigation, adaptation and loss and damage. We call for Climate Justice for LDCs who are least responsible but most affected by the climate crisis.
10) We are gravely concerned about the undue leverage given to public-private-partnerships in the form of multi-stakeholder partnerships for the implementation of the post-2015 development agenda. The corporate capture of the UN is increasingly diluting the developmental role of the state as well as global partnership for development based on historical responsibility and North-South cooperation. We call upon member states to provide leadership in reclaiming the UN for the peoples and not for profits.
11) We reiterate that the post-2015 development agenda must be anchored on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR) which encompasses the duality of both universality and differentiation. Indeed, we can then translate the rhetoric of equity, justice, democratic governance and global partnership into achieving a truly transformative sustainable development agenda.
12) We will continue with our engagements and interventions towards ensuring development justice and a world free of LDCs!