Statement by Magzhan Ilyassov, Permanent Representative of Kazakhstan to the UN, at the General Debate of the Second Committee of the UN General Assembly at its 76th Session on behalf of the Group of the Landlocked Developing Countries
New York, 5 October 2021, 10.00-11.00, General Assembly Hall
It is my honor to deliver this statement as Chair of the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries.
At the outset, I extend my warm congratulations to Ambassador Vanessa Frazier of Malta on assuming the position of the Chair of the Second Committee and also the members of the Bureau for their election. I also thank Ambassador Amrit Rai of Nepal for leading the Bureau so capably. I assure you all of the full commitment and support of Kazakhstan and the Group of LLDCs in all your tasks to fulfill the mandate of your Committee.
This is the second year that the COVID-19 pandemic is still raging around the world with grave effects on humanity and the global economy. The ongoing crisis has constrained especially, the already restricted financial and fiscal space in the LLDCs, abruptly halting progress in almost all priority areas of the Vienna Programme of Action (VPoA), and also Agenda 2030. Our countries have been hit hard by restrictions on cross-border movements to contain the spread of the virus, resulting seriously in reduced trade and flow of essential goods.
Some of the adverse effects are seen in the real GDP, which plummeted from 4.3 % in 2019 to 2.4 % in 2020. Foreign direct investment (FDI) shrank by 31% to $15 billion in 2020, which is the lowest aggregate level since 2007. Thus, without adequate international support and financial assistance, the LLDCs risk being left behind, as was noted at the High-level Meeting on International Debt Architecture.
In a significant number of LLDCs, the foreign debt service is now a major impediment. The G20 efforts to provide relief to poor countries highlight the long-standing weaknesses in international measures for sovereign debt relief and restructuring. As we move into an uneven and uncertain recovery, with risks of volatility in global capital flows, the long-term costs of unresolved debt distress, for both debtor and creditor countries, will only increase.
Ladies and gentlemen,
In 2019, we held the Midterm Review of the Implementation of the Vienna Programme of Action (VPoA) for LLDCs which revealed that despite the significant progress made, more needs to be done to reach the objectives of the VPoA by 2024.
During the pandemic, the LLDCs are amongst the hardest hit, and tested due to the existing vulnerabilities of their health and social protection systems, as well as service industries. The LLDCs rely on neighbouring countries to access international markets which have today restricted development prospects due to COVID-19. Global supply chains and transport networks have been affected, further limiting our already small share in the world trade.
The COVID-19 tragedy is taking place simultaneously with other global crises, such as climate change, desertification, biodiversity loss, food and water insecurity, environmental degradation, and conflicts, among many others, which are multiplying existing vulnerabilities and inequalities in the LLDCs.
The Second Committee's agenda includes many of these challenges faced by LLDCs and their potential solutions, which the international community must focus on, particularly, during this Decade of ambitious action. Only then can we deliver the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, and so the Second Committee has a vital role to play in the larger regional and global contexts.
I would like now to highlight key areas for shaping the sustainable development trajectory of the LLDCs for a strong COVID-19 recovery.
First, the LLDCs need international support for facilitating and increasing all means of implementation that are crucial to the LLDCs. These are, particularly, in the areas of domestic resources, debt relief, Official Development Assistance, trade, private sector, South-South and Triangular Cooperation, technology transfer, foreign direct investment and capacity building.
Second, support is necessary to achieve seamless transport, energy and digital connectivity for the LLDCs that are so critical for their integration into world markets, at the same time, because they demand huge investments from all possible sources.
Third, it is crucial to achieve the specific objective of substantially increasing exports from the LLDCs through enhanced regional and international co-operation by improving trade facilitation and smooth flow of goods in transit. Assistance is also needed to diversify markets and products, and expand the productive capacity to ensure greater competitiveness of LLDC products in global markets.
Fourth, the LLDCs need enhanced support to address the catastrophic devastations caused by climate change, and increasing resources for climate mitigation and adaptation so as to ensure food and water security, protect livelihoods and prevent mass refugee and forced migration flows.
Fifth, rapid technological innovation is critical for achieving economic structural transformation, addressing COVID-19 and promoting the accelerated implementation of the Programme of Action. We need to strengthen collaboration to harness the full potential of technological breakthroughs and progress to promote competitiveness and overall regional prosperity across the globe.
Finally, taking into account the main outcomes of the Midterm Review of the VPoA, last year, Kazakhstan as the Chair of the Group of LLDCs, requested for the development of the special Roadmap for Accelerated Implementation of the VPoA, in its remaining five years.
A few days ago, during the jubilee 20th meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the LLDCs, we adopted the Ministerial Declaration, which has concrete messages for the international community. They are as follows:
Firstly, we envisage that the international efforts need to be strengthened and complemented by constant coordination of the achieving the goals of the VPoA and the special Roadmap on its Accelerated Implementation. Such coordination is needed on a day-to-day basis in order to bring practical results even further. Such practical results come from implementing specific projects dedicated to help LLDCs to overcome their challenges.
The Roadmap serves as a compass to join the efforts of UN agencies and international organizations, LLDCs, transit countries, development partners, private sector and other interested stakeholders. It means that we need to break the silos and avoid duplication for accelerated momentum.
Secondly, as the LLDCs are approaching 2024 – the benchmark of the VPoA, we must commence preparing for the Third UN Conference on LLDCs, which will undertake a comprehensive appraisal and decide on subsequent actions. We will request the General Assembly to take decisions during its 76th Session to plan all organizational and programme details of the Conference at the national, sub-regional, regional and global levels.
The Secretary-General, during the recent High-level Week, outlined the Six Great Divides. Three of them, namely, climate injustice, economic inequality and gross digital gap are under the direct mandate of this Committee. At the end of the day, Peace, Human Rights, Dignity for all, Equality, Justice, Solidarity and Harmony with Nature depend on the socio-economic and climatic stability and sustainability in the world, which are the priorities of the Committee's mandate.
To conclude, we must remember that, in these difficult times of reaching internationally determined goals, strength is in unity.
On behalf of the LLDC Group, let me end by reassuring you of our support in the upcoming deliberations of this Committee.
I thank you.