DOHA March 7th (ABP) – The Secretary General of the United Nations (UN), Antonio Guterres has severely criticized the global economic system which only favors rich countries. He was speaking on Saturday March 4, 2023 in Doha, Qatar, during the opening of the summit of Heads of State and Government of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs).
According to him, economic development becomes difficult when countries lack resources, are drowning in debt and are still struggling with the historical injustice of an uneven response to Covid-19. “The poorest countries have repeatedly denounced an unfair distribution of vaccines, concentrated in Europe and North America,” he said, condemning a global financial system designed by rich countries largely for their benefit.
With regard to the consequences linked to climate change, Guterres does not mince the words. “Fighting a climate catastrophe that you did not cause is a challenge,” he criticized. Thus, he asked developed countries for development aid of some 500 billion US dollars a year for the poorest countries of the planet, “immobilized in a situation which prevents the reform of their economies and the afloat of their education and health systems.
The President of Malawi, Lazarus Chakwera, who chaired the summit and who is at the same time the chairman of the 5th United Nations Conference on LDCs, is also in the same boat with the Secretary General of the United Nations. He denounces “the broken promises” of the international community and believes that development aid should be a moral responsibility.
The President of the Republic of Burundi, Mr. Evariste Ndayishimiye, was the first Head of State to take the floor. He said that the Doha Program of Action on LDCs, to which the entire international community adheres enthusiastically, demonstrates a new generation of strengthened commitment between the least developed countries and their development partners, including the private sector, civil society and governments at all levels. However, he pointed out that before the Doha action program, there was that of Istanbul, the performance of which was not at all sufficient with regard to the goals and objectives set collectively.
According to President Ndayishimiye, the category of least developed countries, including Burundi, has not been able to achieve the goal set by the Istanbul action program in terms of economic growth, due to many factors. Indeed, he explained, the least developed countries have been severely hit by the negative impact of Covid-19, often due to the fragility of health delivery systems or limited financial resources. He continued to say that the repercussions of Covid-19, climate change and certain political-security conflicts have led to a deterioration of the situation regarding food and energy security, world trade and market stability.
For Burundi in particular, he said, that situation has been worsened by the sanctions imposed on it from 2015 until 2020. According to the President of Burundi, despite the many difficulties they face, the LDCs contain the human, cultural and natural resources with great potential for economic growth, human well-being, peace, prosperity as well as food and energy security.
According to the President of the Republic of Burundi, the concrete implementation of the Doha program, agreed at the first part of the United Nations conference on LDCs held in 2022, will help them deal with the negative socio-economic impacts resulting from Covid-19, to find a way to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to meet the challenges of climate change and to progress towards sustainable and irreversible graduation.
To take full advantage of the Doha Action Program on LDCs, Burundi wishes to adopt an ambitious implementation strategy integrating the provisions of the Doha Action Program into national policies and development plans, as well as to conduct regular reviews with the full participation of all key stakeholders, including development partners.
In addition, President Ndayishimiye is pleased that the government of Burundi has already included in its priorities, the eradication of poverty through innovative socio-economic development policies, which place young people and women at the forefront of change actors.
It is worthy to note that the leaders and representatives of 33 African countries and 13 Asia-Pacific countries and Haiti have been meeting in Doha, approximately five decades after the creation of the LDC category by the United Nations, with the aim of providing special international support for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged members.