Social Watch News

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

The Committee for Development Policy (CDP) will discuss with Civil Society Reflection Group their key findings of its analysis of 2020 VNRs, highlighting the disconnect between the ambition of the agenda and the attention given to the transformative policies in such areas as productive capacities, pandemic preparedness, inequalities and sustainable consumption and production.

Two days ago at the opening of the UN High-level Political Forum (HLPF) the head of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, addressed the problem of inequalities-- inside households, within national economies and across different countries. Concerning “vaccine inequality”, she added that as of 1 July there had been 1.3 doses per 100 people in least developed countries (LDCs) compared with 83 doses per 100 people in developed countries.

The Fifth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC5) will be held In Doha, Qatar in January 2022. Preparations are already underway to negotiate the Outcome Document to be adopted in Doha, which will serve as a new 10-year Programme of Action (PoA) for the LDCs.

On 20 May 2021, Co-Chairs of the LDC5 Preparatory Committee bureau--Rabab Fatima, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh and Bob Rae, Permanent Representative of Canada--facilitated a virtual consultation with Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), designed to address policy prescriptions that LDC5 must deliver to meet the needs of people and planet.

Social Watch Philippines is organizing a Policy Dialogue on June 4, 2021 (Friday), from 1:30PM-4:30PM (Manila time) via Zoom in order to present the findings on the Citizens' Report of the AIIB Financing for COVID-19 Response and Recovery as well as key recommendations of the research to government leaders as well as representatives from civil society, people’s organizations, and other stakeholders.

The objective of the Policy Dialogue is to present the Final Report to policymakers, to the CSO community, the media, and other stakeholders, in particular the key findings as well as recommendations, and to collectively generate learnings and insights on the importance of citizens’ engagement in the various aspects of public financing, including the accessing of loans, for government programs to combat the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Arab NGO Network for Development (ANND) strongly condemns the attacks on defenseless Palestinians in Jerusalem and its neighborhoods, especially the attempt to uproot the residents of Sheikh Jarrah, calls on the international community to launch the broadest solidarity campaign with the Palestinian people and provide international protection for defenseless citizens in implementation of international laws, especially the Geneva Convention.

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