Roberto Bissio, coordinator of Social Watch, participated in the Consultation of Civil Society with Member States, 2nd Preparatory Committee Meeting for the Fifth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC5) that took place on Wednesday July 28, 2021.

Forty years ago the least developed countries were promised acceptable minimum standards of living for their peoples by the end of the 20th century. But developed countries, instead of providing the promised finances, technology and capacity building made their fate worse, adding climate change and vaccine hoarding to the long list of challenges. As a new UN Summit for the LDCs is being prepared, Third World Network and Social Watch submitted a joint text with concrete proposals of what needs to be done to not leave the poor countries behind... again.

The Covid pandemic affects all, but its impacts are socially and geographically unequal: The poor are being impoverished and inequalities between countries are rising even more as a result of the very unequal distribution of vaccines.

This is the main message emerging from the alternative civil society reports that balance the frequently over-optimistic or complacent report from governments on their progress towards sustainable development.

The Covid-19 pandemic is affecting the whole world, but in differentiated ways, highlighting structural inequalities within and between countries.

The confluence of a health emergency and economic crisis has shown the disastrous consequences of undermining democratic governance and weakening public services. The crisis has elicited much talk of solidarity. But the brutal competition for vaccines shows that solidarity is used merely as a rhetorical phrase. The interests of a privileged elite continue to dominate. The prospects for recovery are diverging dangerously within and across countries and regions. The slogan “Leave no one behind” of the 2030 Agenda remains a mere mockery.

“We are in the midst of an unprecedented crisis. The severity of its impact is being felt globally. The LDCs are bearing its heaviest brunt. They have weak infrastructures, and a serious lack of capacity to cope with internal and external shocks.”

-- H.E. Rabab Fatima, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh and Co-chair of the Fifth UN Conference on LDCs (LDC5) Preparatory Committee

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