Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani
The Conference of the Least Developed Countries convenes its fifth session amid the grave challenges presently facing the world as a result of new international conflicts, global food security crisis, climate change phenomenon, and lingering impacts of Covid-19 pandemic. It is incumbent on us to contemplate these challenges as we plan for a shared future for our peoples and countries over the next decade of the existence of the least developed countries. Millions of people in these countries are still burdened with poverty, lack of food besides health care and education.
There is no doubt that it is basically a structural issue related to the absence of justice in the correlation between the advanced industrial centers and the peripheries of our world, but it is also a matter of rational economic development policies in the least developed countries. Some of them have succeeded in overcoming marginalisation thanks to their development policies. But anyway, it’s an issue that concerns all of us. It is a global issue. This is what must be realised by the developed countries and their societies.
Our meeting is taking place while our brothers in Turkiye and Syria are still suffering from the impacts of the massive earthquake disaster that struck them and affected millions of people; and from here, as I confirm on behalf of all of us our solidarity with our brothers in Turkiye and Syria, I urge everyone to support Turkiye’s efforts to surpass the effects of this disaster.
I stress the necessity of giving a helping hand without hesitation to the brotherly Syrian people. As I wonder at the delay in the arrival of aid to this people, I stress that exploiting a human tragedy for political purposes is unacceptable. There is no way through which we can build a new, safer, more just and more free world for today and tomorrow except through the path of international human solidarity.
From this standpoint, the convening of this conference represents a renewal of our solidarity and unity of our will in facing common challenges and exploring futuristic, effective and sustainable solutions to them. This conference presents an important opportunity to assess what has been achieved within the framework of the priorities of the Istanbul Program of Action, which has been in place for more than a decade.
In this context, the Doha Programme of Action, which was culminated in agreement during the governmental negotiations in New York, is the basis for the road map to support tackling the problems of the least developed countries in the next decade. The success of the conference would not only be achieved by its approval, but also by its implementation at best.
We value what has been realised within the framework of the five targeted achievements for the least developed countries, namely, establishing food storage facilities, the possibility of collective virtual mechanism or equivalent platforms for these countries, comprehensive measures for the multiple stakeholders to alleviate crises intensity and build resilience capacity, implementing systems to encourage investments in these countries, in addition to setting up a facility to support, in a sustainable manner, the removal from the least developed countries (LDC) list.
Confronting food security challenges, climate change, energy crisis and debt crisis is a joint global liability, while finding solutions is a shared collective task and responsibility among all countries. However, regardless of our analysis in respect of the backgrounds of the gap between the developed and the least developed countries, there is a moral obligation incumbent upon the rich and developed countries to contribute more to assist the least developed countries to overcome the global challenges we are now dealing with. This is a responsibility and not a favour.
On the other hand, the least developed countries must create the conducive conditions to transform the joint obligations into national action at the level of strategies, plans and national legislations. These countries are not responsible for the past, yet its their duty to adopt and follow rational policies for the present. To say this while, at the same time, we take into consideration the existing structural obstacles and the unequal relationship between the global North and the global South.
I avail myself of this opportunity to commend the positive initiatives to combat poverty and address the urgent needs of many poor countries. However, the food security crisis cannot be solved only by providing emergency humanitarian aid or temporary remedies, but also it is necessary to assist the countries to achieve their food security. We have put forward initiatives within the context of addressing the root causes of the problem, such as the initiative of the Global Dryland Alliance so as to enable dryland countries to achieve food security.
Others put forward their own initiatives as well. It might be appropriate to revive the theme of the Secretary General of the United Nations: “No Poverty” in the world. The realisation of this requires an international synergy to implement a human development plan at the global level. Within this framework, attention must be paid to the relationship between peace and development. Food security as well as development cannot be achieved against the backdrop of raging civil wars in a number of the poorest countries.
In the context of our discussion of the urgent international crises and their dire repercussions on the least developed countries, the debt crisis, which crippled the course of growth and development in these countries, is strongly evident. Here, we value the efforts made by the G-20, especially the extraordinary summit of leaders hosted by the brotherly Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on Covid-19, and the steps taken under the Italian presidency regarding the debt service suspension period for the poorest countries.
However, the debt issue needs to be addressed more comprehensively, in a way that takes into consideration justice and pragmatism to break the vicious circle through which countries opt to borrow for developmental purposes such as building the infrastructure, and so on. Debt repayment exacerbates poverty and prevents development projects implementation.
With regard to the climate crisis, the Sharm El-Sheikh summit held in sisterly Egypt made an achievement in establishing the loss and damage fund allocated to assist and support developing countries. And based on our commitment to combating climate change and the internationally approved policies in this regard, we aspire that the advanced industrial countries fulfill their legal and moral responsibilities in taking more effective and efficient decisions and measures on emissions.
The State of Qatar takes pride in continuing its active role in multilateral international action across the fields of development, humanitarian, human rights, and mediation to promote international peace and security. In this context, and based on our National Vision 2030, which upholds the values and principles of cooperation, partnership, and solidarity in helping countries, peoples, and communities suffering from humanitarian crises, conflicts, poverty, and debts, the State of Qatar has made a lot of humanitarian and development contributions in accordance with the formulas of bilateral and multilateral cooperation, especially within the framework of strategic partnerships with the United Nations and other leading international institutions.
Based on the State of Qatar’s firm commitment to supporting the development process of the least developed countries, I announce a financial contribution of a total amount of $60mn, of which $10mn will be allocated for supporting the implementation of the Doha Programme of Action activities for the least developed countries, and $50mn will be allocated for supporting the intended outcomes of the Doha Programme of Action and building resilience potential in the least developed countries.
I urge the development partners to follow the example of Qatar and take the initiative to support the implementation of the Doha Program of Action as part of our humanitarian and development duty towards the peoples of the least developed countries. We are confident that this conference, and by means of building on the successes achieved in the course of realizing growth, prosperity and creating sustainable livelihoods, will contribute to supporting the least developed countries march towards achieving development therein for the next ten years, in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
In conclusion, I welcome you again to Doha, the city that offers a spacious ambience for mediations, debates, multilateral conferences, cultural activity and intellectual production, the city that has recently witnessed the most successful World Cup tournament ever, wishing this conference to realize its desired goals and achieve the aspirations of the peoples of these countries whose attention is focused on what would come out from this important conference.
Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani addressing the opening remarks on the summit of 5th United Nations Conference on the Least Developing Countries in Doha.