General Assembly Special Thematic Event: Building Synergy and Coherence in the Implementation of the Istanbul Plan of Action (IPoA) in the context of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda
Brief summary of presentation of information made
- At the Fourth United Nations Conference on Least Developed Countries in Istanbul, Member States agreed on the Istanbul Programme of Action for Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2011–2020 (A/CONF.219/3/Rev.1) during formal negotiations on 11 May 2011 in the Committee of the Whole, and agreed on the political declaration on 13 May 2011. The overarching goal of the Istanbul Programme of Action is to overcome the structural challenges faced by the least developed countries, to eradicate poverty, achieve internationally agreed development goals, and enable half of the 48 least developed countries to graduate out of the poverty category by 2020.
- 2016 is a midpoint in terms of the life of the IPoA and so it is timely for discussion to take stock of the situation in every country, to propose changes but also to listen to the voices of Least Developed Countries (LDCs). The IPoA is at an important crossroad at this point in time because it overlaps with the 2030 Agenda (SDG Agenda). The 2030 Agenda brings all stakeholders together under 1 umbrella from IPoA and 2030 Agenda. The significance of building partnerships was iterated to have synergy between both agendas.
- In LDCs, and through MDGs, a lot of progress has been made to lift people out of poverty in terms of increased health status and education. Human Index Value was raised 26% in LDCs compared to 11% globally; life expectancy has increased; there has been reduction in specific diseases in some countries - eg polio and malaria have declined almost to the point of eradicated status. Compared to 1990, 7 million more children survive – ie 17,000 more children survive today than they did in 1990. Many more children are in school today than there were in 1990; GDP has risen in many countries. A number of countries have graduated from LDC status and more countries want to graduate by 2020 eg Nepal by 2022, Myanmar and Bhutan. If all member states play a part and remain committed, many more countries will be able to graduate from LDC. However, to eradicate poverty remains the biggest issue.
- In LDCs, inclusive and sustainable development is important as is changes to a number of infrastructures, leadership and high level political buy-in is important for change and good progress to happen. Changes are needed at a number of levels: good governance at all levels and leadership with clear policies strategies and actions in line with national development plans; support for capacity building and accountability; put legal frameworks in place to use aid in more creative ways; investments to generate more private investment and market based economy; develop robust and honest, fair and equitable tax systems where all contribute to tax – put mechanisms in place to curb illicit capital flows eg when a profit is made, tax is paid on that profit and moves are unable to be made to evade tax; ensure aid is still coming to LDCs; promotion of human rights, equitable policies (inclusive and pertaining to gender equality) and rule of law in place to give confidence that rights and laws will be upheld (ie policy imperatives must be in place.)
- The need for a focused co-ordination between national development plans, clear goals and policy frameworks is vital as is involvement and commitment for whole government in LDC. Commitment from international players is also vital.
- The need for tangible evidence based decision making and good data was presented – in terms of data, one template to standardize data for all countries is desirable; there is a need to harmonise reporting systems to accommodate SDGs and IPoA. Data needs to be reliable, timely and disaggregated. In order to help measure targets, better data is needed.
- The need for the creation, strengthening and promotion of partnerships in private and public sector was discussed.
- Mobilisation of domestic resources was seen to be a strategic approach to assisting LDCs in moving out of poverty – e.git was suggested that a range of financially inclusive services using the banking sector could capture domestic funds, pension funds, productive investments that have grown from real estate booms (a lot of which has gone off shore), strengthen systems at local governance and between local and national government levels and implanting stronger tax methods to enhance the sustainability of LDCs.
- The need for transformation of secondary cities where appropriate in LDCs was discussed – populations of secondary cities are generally around 200,000-600,000 people, they are fast growing, often linked with agricultural side of industry. However, with links in investments, employment could be strengthened to increase quality of living and increase productivity and employment.
- The importance of resilience was discussed – the reality is that climate change is affecting LDCs in a serious way. To date the extent of this is not fully understood but if there is a lack of resilience LDCs will be left behind as the effects climate change take deeper effect.
What was of particular significance to share with The Salvation Army globally?
Possibility of fostering more partnerships with private and public organizations is significant
Ensure that data gathering tools that TSA use have effective measurement capacity for SDG evaluation.
Raise awareness within TSA about least developed countries and IPoA.