Ministerial Meeting of the Least Developed Countries


16 September 2021
14:00 - 17:00 hrs. (CEST) / 08:00-11:00 hrs. (AST)
Online and at Palais des Nations, Room Tempus 3

The 15th Session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD 15) will be the first global conference to take place since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. It will be held at a time when the international community faces uncertainty on the pandemic’s outlook, and when post-pandemic trade and development strategies are being contemplated. In this regard, UNCTAD 15 will provide a forum to deliberate on ways and means of recovering from socioeconomic crises brought about by COVID-19.

The Conference is also expected to adopt the work programme for UNCTAD for the coming years. Therefore, it offers opportunities for the 46 least developed countries (LDCs) and their development partners, as well as other stakeholders, to exchange views on the challenges ahead and policies needed to address them.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a severe, adverse knock-on effect on the global economy, reversing years of hard-won development gains and undermining progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). LDCs were already among the most disadvantaged countries in the world economy before the crisis, and the pandemic has further exacerbated their vulnerabilities. Border closures and disruptions of trade and transport networks have further marginalized LDCs, whose limited resilience has been once again highlighted by the pandemic. In addition, falling demand for commodities has reduced fiscal revenue in many commodity dependent LDCs, further reducing the resources available to fight the pandemic and support the most vulnerable populations and companies. Increased government outlays and reduced fiscal revenues have meant growing debt burdens for many countries, potentially exacerbating the long-term effects of the crisis on development. In addition, weak productive capacities have rendered LDCs less able to mitigate the effects of the crisis and reduce their vulnerability to future shocks.

Objective

The objective of the Ministerial Meeting is to take stock of the preparations for UNCTAD 15 and to determine how best the LDCs’ respective trade and development interest are addressed in the outcome document of the Conference. It is equally an occasion to take stock of the preparatory process of LDC5 and to send messages from the Group of LDCs to the international community on the programme of action for the LDCs for the decade 2022-2031.

Expected outcome

Ministers will review and adopt a Ministerial Declaration, highlighting specific but complex trade and development challenges facing their countries and calling on development partners to step up their efforts in support of LDCs. The declaration provides political guidance and direction to advance trade and development interests of LDCs in the post-Covid19 environment and serves as input to the outcome of UNCTAD 15. It equally addresses messages to the preparatory process of LDC5.

Programme

  • Opening Statement: Trade Minister of Malawi, Chairperson and Coordinator of the Group of LDCs in Geneva
  • Keynote address: Secretary-General of UNCTAD
  • Briefing on the preparatory processes and priority areas for LDCs: Ambassador of Malawi in Geneva
  • Consideration of the Ministerial Declaration
  • Official statements

Participation

The Ministerial Meeting will be attended by Ministers and high-level officials from the 46 LDCs. Senior Officials from UN system agencies and other international and regional organizations will also be invited to participate.

Logistics

The meeting will be held through a remote simultaneous interpretation platform. All participants need to register through INDICO.

Following successful registration, participants will receive (via the email address provided during registration) the link to the Ministerial Conference shortly before the event itself.

Speakers wishing to take the floor during the virtual meeting will be requested to indicate their respective interests to the Secretariat. Due to time limitations, speakers are requested to limit their interventions to a maximum of seven (7) minutes.

Further information on the Conference registration and logistics will be shared with you in due course.

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Related

Topic

Least developed countries

Contact

Intergovernmental Support Service
E.: correspondence@unctad.org

and

Division for Africa, LDCs and Special Programmes
E.: aldc@unctad.org