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Unlocking potential of least developed countries must be litmus test of Global Goals – Ban

1 October 2015 – The world’s poorest nations not only face vast challenges, they represent enormous reservoirs of untapped potential, Secretary-GeneralBan Ki-moon stated today, adding that unlocking this potential will be the litmus test of the new global sustainable developed agenda.

Addressing the Ministerial Meeting of the Group of Least Developed Countries (LDCs), held on the margins of the annual General Assembly high-level debate, Mr. Ban said the 2030 Agenda features a universal, transformative and integrated set of goals and targets.

Comprising 17 goals and 169 targets, the Agenda seeks to promote sustainable and inclusive economic growth, social protection and a healthy environment. “These are all priorities for LDCs,” the Secretary-General stated.

LDCs, which include landlocked developing countries and small island developing States, are the most vulnerable among nations, he continued.

“They are disproportionately affected by environmental challenges, health emergencies, natural disasters, poverty and hunger, and youth unemployment.

“But LDCs are not just characterized by their challenges. They represent enormous reservoirs of untapped potential,” said Mr. Ban. “Unlocking this potential will be the litmus test of Agenda 2030.”

He went on to say that implementing the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will require “a quantum leap from business as usual,” adding that intensified and innovative cooperation will be essential – between countries, among sectors and with private sector and civil society partners.

He also noted that a robust, universal climate change agreement in December in Paris will be critical to the global community, especially LDCs, which are among the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

“I count on LDCs to play a constructive role in making the climate summit successful.”

There are currently 48 countries classified by the UN as LDCs which together comprise more than 880 million people (about 12 per cent of world population), but account for less than 2 per cent of world GDP and about 1 per cent of global trade in goods.

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