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The new generation Doha Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2022-2031 (DPoA) was adopted by the first part of the Fifth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC5) on 17 March, at the UN headquarters in New York.

The adoption of the DPoA was overdue as the LDC5 Conference, scheduled to take place in January 2022 in Doha, Qatar, was postponed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

China has said that it steadfastly supports the least-developed countries (LDCs) during their accession to the World Trade Organization as well as their integration into the global trading system, suggesting that the LDCs are facing several problems in their bid to join the rules-based, member-driven, inter-governmental organization.

At a virtual "tenth China Round Table on WTO accessions" held at the WTO on 18-20 January highlighting the key achievements of "China's Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Accessions Programme" (the China Programme), China elaborated on the specific problems and difficulties being encountered by the LDCs during their WTO accession process.

Negotiations are advancing swiftly to conclude the draft "Doha Programme of Action for Least Developed Countries", which has evolved into a strikingly weakened outcome document, said sources familiar with the development.

The draft Doha Programme of Action (DPOA) for the decade 2022-2031 will be adopted by the upcoming Fifth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC5), scheduled for 23-27 January 2022 in Doha, Qatar, at the Heads of State/Government level.

Compiled under the challenging conditions resulting from the COVID-19 crisis, this edition of the Trade Union Take on the SDGs analyses and compiles the monitoring of the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at national level undertaken by 22 labour organisations in 13 countries and four continents.

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) this year experiencing their worst economic performance in 30 years, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has said.

In its Least Developed Countries Report 2020, released on 3 December, UNCTAD said that while the pandemic had (at least initially) a less-than-catastrophic health impact on the LDCs, its economic repercussions have been ruinous.

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic led to LDC economies experiencing their strongest economic shock in several decades.

The Least Developed Countries (LDCs) have been hit hard by the decline in world trade triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, with the value of LDC merchandise exports falling by 16% during the first half of 2020, the World Trade Organization has said.

In a report to a meeting of the WTO Sub-Committee on LDCs last week (WT/COMTD/LDC/W/68), the WTO Secretariat said that data from 97 economies, which include most of LDCs' key trading partners, show that the value of LDC merchandise exports dropped by 21% during March-June 2020 year-on-year.

Nearly 380 civil society organizations have urged Members of the World Trade Organization to strongly support the adoption of a draft decision proposed by India and South Africa for a waiver from certain provisions of the TRIPS Agreement to combat the worsening COVID-19 pandemic.

India and South Africa have submitted a proposal (IP/C/W/669) to the WTO TRIPS Council on a "Waiver from certain provisions of the TRIPS Agreement for the prevention, containment and treatment of COVID-19".

Over 70 per cent of young people who were either studying or combining study and work before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic experienced school closures, and not all were able to transition into online and distance learning, the International Labour Organization (ILO) has said.

According to a report on youth and COVID-19, the ILO said that COVID-19 has left one in eight young people (13 per cent) without any access to courses, teaching or training.

At the upcoming triennial review of the list of 47 Least Developed Countries (LDCs), as defined by the United Nations, scheduled on 22-26 February 2021, five countries will be reviewed and recommended for graduation from the LDC category if they continue to meet a set of criteria.

These are: Bangladesh, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Nepal and Timor-Leste.

Paid Sick Leave a Crucial Weapon During COVID-19 Era and BeyondGlobal study shows that gaps in coverage for ailing workers put nations’ health and economic security at risk

At a time when the world’s attention is focused on curbing the spread of infectious disease, new research by the UCLA WORLD Policy Analysis Center shows that strengthening guarantees of paid sick leave is crucial to protecting health and economic security around the globe.

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