By Alagie Manneh in Qatar
The minister of finance Seedy Keita has said that the Doha Programme of Action (DPoA) for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) must be implemented with a greater sense of urgency if the world’s poorest countries are to prosper. Mr Keita was addressing the 5th UN Conference on LDCs, currently taking place in Doha, Qatar, representing President Adama Barrow.
The meeting came at a critical time-against the backdrop of the covid-19 pandemic, the Ukraine war, and the ongoing climate crisis affecting the world’s 46 most vulnerable countries “severely and disproportionately”.
“To reverse these backslides and put LDCs such as The Gambia on a better footing,a highly ambitious document that lays a new model of development compact in support of the sustainable development of LDCs – must be urgently and fully implemented. The Gambia has already adopted the DPoA as a successor to many programmes of actions adopted over the last five decades,” Mr Keita told world leaders.
Minister Keita said the Doha meeting provides a special opportunity to shape the collective destiny for mutual prosperity.
“As we meet today, a combination of extraordinary global events have conspired to compound our plight as LDCs and so we cannot settle for complacency. Beyond the urgency of implementing the DPoA, we must accelerate our efforts to recover from the harsh socio-economic realities occasioned by the pandemic, the Ukraine war, and the cost-of-living crisis that our societies are witnessing today”, he said
He emphasised that the six pillars of the DPoA must be implemented with a greater sense of urgency in view of the extraordinary times that we live in. “We cannot continue doing business as usual as we must ensure that another lost decade for LDCs does not become a reality. We must therefore call on our partners to do more to support the urgent and successful implementation of the programme,” Mr Keita said.
The UN secretary General, Antonio Guterres, said: “You represent one in eight people on earth but your countries are trapped in vicious cycles that make development difficult, if not impossible.”
He said that Africa especially is also faced with a climate variability it did not bring about. “Combatting climate catastrophe that you did nothing to cause is impossible when the cost of capital is sky-high and the financial support you receive to mitigate and adapt to the destruction is a drop in the bucket. Meanwhile, bigger economies continue to heat our planet and spew greenhouse gas emissions at record rates. Fossil fuel giants are raking in huge profits, while millions in your countries can’t put food on the table,” he said.
Ms Rabab Fatima, under secretary-general and high representative for LDCs, earlier said the success of achieving the SGDs and Agenda 2030 rests squarely now on the shoulders of the LDCs. ”If the LDCs who are the most vulnerable countries in the world are left behind and are not able to achieve the SDGs then they will not have an agenda 2030 to celebrate. So, the DPoA is an instrument to help us achieve the SDGs,” he said.
At least 141 countries are taking part in the summit, with over 2000 civil society members, and 60 heads of states and governments expected in Qatar over the coming days.