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Preparatory Meeting for LDC Conference Addresses Climate Change

10 January 2011: The first session of the Intergovernmental Preparatory Committee for the Fourth UN Conference on the LDCs opened on 10 January 2011, at UN Headquarters in New York, US.

Cheick Sidi Diarra, Under-Secretary-General, Special Adviser on Africa and High Representative for LDCs, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (SIDS), addressed the meeting in his capacity as Secretary-General of the Istanbul Conference. He underscored that the recent multiple crises, as well as climate change, posed serious threats to the development efforts of LDCs. He said the Programme of Action would focus on key priorities such as improving access to technology, promoting an agricultural revolution to eliminate hunger and ensure food security, managing climate change and ensuring a genuine green deal, and ensuring good developmental governance.

Following Diarra's statement, a number of delegates addressed the meeting. Various speakers underscored the impact of climate change on the development of LDCs. LDC Watch underscored that LDCs were bearing the brunt of new and emerging crises, including those concerning climate change, finance, food insecurity and water scarcity, without having caused them. Nepal stressed that new and emerging challenges such as climate change had compounded already difficult burdens. Sudan stated that the multiple global crises, armed conflict, climate change and their weak position in international trade had blocked the ability of LDCs to achieve their desired objectives. He added that Sudan was one of the States most negatively affected by climate change, but said the Government had developed a national programme to urgently address immediate challenges such as poverty, desertification, water scarcity and food insecurity. Cuba said that, since 2001, the socioeconomic situation in LDCs had worsened because of the impacts of the global economic crisis and climate change.

On the outcome of the Istanbul Conference, Turkey, speaking in his capacity as representative of the host country, listed a number of areas deserving special attention, including: predictable financial flows, including official development assistance (ODA); agriculture and rural development; South-South cooperation; and climate change. LDC Watch said the Conference must create a predictable development mechanism in terms of taxes, finances and ways to manage climate change, emphasizing the crucial importance of transparency. He also mentioned that the Programme of Action must focus on ensuring universal access to essential services, as well as gender equity and justice in trade and climate areas.

On financial support, LDC Watch stated that developed nations must live up to their responsibilities, of which realizing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in LDCs was a global responsibility. He added that for that to happen, structural changes were needed, calling for predictable sources of financing for LDCs, possibly to be raised through taxes on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in developed countries. Underscoring the importance of overcoming the financial, food, energy and climate change crises, Bangladesh said LDCs need support for their survival. Ethiopia stressed that the next ten years would be “extremely decisive,” adding that LDCs wish to see the Green Fund established in Cancun take actions to halt climate change. France called for specific support to LDCs focused on tackling climate change and food insecurity, among other priorities. Underlining the need for ODA goals to be enhanced and the predictability of resources increased, China expressed her country's strong support for LDCs in addressing new challenges like climate change. Pointing out that the number of LDCs had risen after three decades of supposed attention to development, Cuba said a comprehensive approach is needed to address the links between foreign debt, climate change, international trade and financial performance, the performance of ODA, and foreign direct investment.

On climate change and migration, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said LDCs are the most vulnerable to displacement as a result of environmental degradation exacerbated by climate change. She added that climate change could become a major factor shaping migration flows, especially in countries with low adaptive capacities and vulnerable geographies. She underscored the need of such countries for support to address environmental migration and other human impacts of climate change. She outlined measures that they could take, including considering migration as a potential adaptation strategy to move people out of harm's way, adding that migrants could also play an important role in providing funds that would contribute to development and adaptation in their countries of origin.

The session will conclude on 14 January 2011. [UN Press Release] [Conference Website]