|Statement by Mr. Yao Wenlong, Minister Counselor of the Permanent Mission of China at the 2008 Substantive Session of ECOSOC on Agenda Item 6(b): Review and Coordination of the Implementation of the Program of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2001-2010|
|18 July 2008|
The Chinese delegation listened attentively to the introduction on this agenda item by the Under Secretary General, Mr. Diarra, and wishes to associate itself with the statement made by
As a vulnerable group in the world economic system, the LDCs, however, have yet to fundamentally overcome their weaknesses in sustainable economic and social development. As of late in particular, with the international economic growth slowing down, world financial markets fluctuating, global inflationary pressures becoming visible, food and oil prices going up, the LDCs are encountering even more uncertainties in their development environment, and facing more arduous tasks and more severe challenges in their development efforts. The statistics of the UN Food and Agricultural Organization show that of the 49 LDCs, 47 are low-income and food-deficit countries, and 20 countries with food crisis. The rising food prices will seriously erode the development achieved by the LDCs, plunging a significant portion of their population back into poverty, and even leading to political destabilization and social unrest. In addition, the LDCs find themselves severely incapable of dealing with challenges of rising oil prices and climate change, thus enduring severe shocks and impacts.
It is the common responsibility and obligation of the international community to help the LDCs realize sustainable development. Coordinated and concerted international effort is a major, indispensable driver for the development of the LDCs. We appeal to the international community, and the developed countries in particular, to effectively implement their international responsibilities, take into account the new challenges facing the world economy and emphasize the following areas of work:
First, effective increase of development assistance. Development assistance is an indispensable source of funding for the development of the LDCs. It's worrisome, though, that the official development assistance provided by the developed countries in 2007 saw an 8.4% reduction as compared with the previous year. After deduction of debt forgiveness and emergency assistance, the official development assistance received by the LDCs is not enough to support the realization of the economic and social development targets set forth in the Program of Action. Therefore, the international community, and the developed countries in particular should honor, at an early date, their commitment to put 0.15-0.2% of their gross national income in their development assistance to the LDCs. They should also take into full consideration the recipients' development needs to ensure funding stability and predictability.
Second, focused response to food crisis. The LDCs are badly hurt in the global food crisis. Within the short term, the international community should increase its emergency food assistance to the LDCs to alleviate the shocks and impacts they endured as a result of rising food prices. In the long term, the international community should focus its efforts on reducing the huge agricultural subsidy and trade protectionist measures that have distorted the international agricultural market, and significantly increasing the technology and funding support to the agricultural production of the LDCs. Efforts should also be made to vigorously help the LDCs realize sustainable agricultural development to continuously enhance their food self-sufficiency.
Third, continuous expansion of trade preference. International trade is a major source of development funding for the LDCs. But for a long time, the 49 LDCs take up a share of less than 1% of international trade. Due to lack of diversification in their export product mix, the LDCs would see their trade share dwindle significantly after taking out such primary products as oil. Therefore, the international community should continuously expand its scope of duty-free and quota-free market access for products of the LDCs. The developed countries should implement at an early date their commitment to accord the LDCs with duty-free and quota-free treatment for at least 97% of their tariff lines, and effectively provide duty-free and quota-free market access to products that the LDCs have a substantial trade interest.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.