The co-facilitators of intergovernmental consultations for the high-level midterm review of the implementation of the Istanbul Programme of Action (IPoA) for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) have issued the zero draft outcome document for the Review meeting. The draft recognizes that LDCs have made significant efforts towards achieving the objectives, goals and targets of the IPoA, but “much more needs to be done” to foster progress across sectors. It will be considered by the Preparatory Meeting of Experts convening from 28-31 March 2016, in New York, US, to prepare for the midterm review.
In their letter transmitting the zero draft, co-facilitators Benedicte Frankinet, Permanent Representative of Belgium, and Jean-Francis Regis Zinsou, Permanent Representative of Benin, note that the draft outcome document is in the form of a political declaration, as requested by the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in its resolution on the Follow-up to the Fourth UN Conference on the LDCs (A/RES/69/231).
The zero draft calls for a successful, renewed and strengthened global partnership that effectively addresses the special needs of LDCs, and recognizes the need to ensure that LDCs be given preferential and differential treatment in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It includes two main sections: ‘State of progress and lessons learned in the implementation of the IPoA;’ and ‘Looking Forward and Recommendations.’
On state of progress, the text reports that since the LDC category was established in 1971, only four countries have graduated, and it is unlikely that the IPoA’s objective of enabling half the LDCs to graduate by 2020 will be realized. Regarding good governance, human development and gender equality, the draft notes that 42 LDCs have become parties to the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), gender parity at the primary level has been achieved for one third of LDCs, and nearly 20 percent of all parliamentarians in LDCs are women. The draft Declaration considers the decline in official development assistance (ODA) going to LDCs during the last years “a worrisome trend,” noting that other financial flows, including foreign direct investment (FDI) and remittances, are swiftly growing in importance, and those are concentrated in a few countries and sectors, and have limited development impact. The draft also reports that fewer than 7% of LDC households have access to the internet, and the acute energy gap faced by LDCs has severely constrained their structural transformation.
On looking forward and recommendations, the draft underlines the need for: strong synergy in the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the IPoA at the national and sub-national levels; coordination and coherence in the follow-up of the implementation of the SDGs and the IPoA at the national, regional and international levels; and strengthening national statistical capacities to “increase significantly” the availability of high-quality, timely and reliable data. It also notes the “urgent need” to undertake a comprehensive review of the graduation criteria for LDCs, taking into account the goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA) and the Paris Agreement on climate change, and request the UN Secretary-General to submit a proposal on revision of the criteria for consideration by the UNGA at its 72nd Session.
The zero draft calls on development partners to provide at least 0.20% of ODA/Gross National Income (GNI) to LDCs and to allocate at least 50% of their ODA to LDCs, “in line with the AAAA.” It agrees to explore the possibility of a dedicated financing facility to addresses the specific infrastructure and energy financing needs in LDCs in a holistic and comprehensive manner. It invites governing bodies of UN development system organization and other multilateral organizations to allocate at least 75% of their programme resources in LDCs. The draft reaffirms the importance of establishing the LDC Technology Bank during 2017, looks forward to its full operationalization by 2017, and calls upon all development partners to provide necessary financial and technical assistance to the Bank.
In addition, the text recognizes the positive contribution of migrants for inclusive growth and sustainable development, and outlines the need to early implement targets contained in the 2030 Agenda related to migration and remittances. It calls on the international community to support LDCs in implementing SDG target 15.3 (By 2030, combat desertification, restore degraded land and soil, including land affected by desertification, drought and floods, and strive to achieve a land degradation-neutral world) so as to advance towards land degradation neutrality by 2030.
The mid-term review will take place from 27-29 May 2016, in Antalya, Turkey.