Building a more collaborative and inclusive international co-operation system


By Xiuli Xu, Professor, Dean of the College of International Development and Global Agriculture (CIDGA), China Agricultural University


The term “development” that emerged in Western Europe over 300 years ago has evolved into a set of ideas, institutions and practices, particularly encompassing the concept of official development aid (ODA) that emerged after the Second World War, led by OECD countries. Development concepts, principles and approaches have long been supplied by Western countries, even though a distinction exists between “an interpretive discourse” and “a normative discourse” – with the former indicating a wider pattern of non-Western countries’ societal change and the latter consisting of Western donor agencies’ deliberate efforts to “improve” recipient countries.

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Least Developed Country graduation: Past, present and future


By Jose Antonio Ocampo, Professor at Columbia University and chair of the ECOSOC Committee for Development Policy. Former UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs and Finance Minister of Colombia


As the world prepares for the 5th United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC5) in Doha[1], we need to ask not only whether this category is still relevant today but also what graduation from this status implies. After the LDC category was created fifty years ago, the number of such countries grew steadily due to the emergence of newly independent countries that faced significant disadvantages as well as major setbacks experienced by other developing countries. Nonetheless, LDC status was envisaged as a temporary phase in a country’s development trajectory: the concept of graduation was introduced twenty years after the LDC category itself.

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How much is an elephant worth? Valuing natural capital to protect nature and improve wellbeing


By Ekkehard Ernst, ILO Research Department and Geneva Macro Labs


Countries in the Global South dispose of a wealth of natural resources. Yet, many of them are also among the least developed. In the following I will argue that we have the tools to ensure that restoring and maintaining this astonishing biodiversity will enable these countries to reach middle-income status over the next decade, at the same time safeguarding our survival.

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Keeping 1.5 degrees alive means a better future for everyone


By Jayathma Wickramanayake, Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, and Heeta Lakhani and Marie-Claire Graf, Focal Points – UNFCCC Youth Constituency


“Climate change will affect youth, children and future generations the most if we do not take action now!” This narrative is frequently heard at climate events in recent years, yet climate commitments and targets set by world leaders continue to focus on the distant future instead of prioritising the urgent climate action needed today. Families are already being repeatedly knocked into poverty, while eco-anxiety is rising among children and youth confronted by a disastrous future. Heat waves are leading to school closures, while floods, cyclones and droughts are driving unprecedented rates of food insecurity.

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How aid for trade can best support Least Developed Countries in the next decade


By Ratnakar Adhikari, Executive Director of the Enhanced Integrated Framework Executive Secretariat at the World Trade Organisation and Annette Ssemuwemba, Deputy Executive Director of the Enhanced Integrated Framework Executive Secretariat at the World Trade Organisation


The median recovery time of least developed countries (LDCs) from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is three years, according to the International Monetary Fund. More worryingly, more than a dozen of them are likely to take at least five years to recover.   

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Street view of the market in Lome, Togo, Western Africa, October 16, 2007. Photo by EiZivile, Shtetterstock

50 ans de pays moins avancés : l’heure est venue pour une nouvelle génération de mesures de soutien international


Par Ablamba Ahoéfavi Johnson, Ministre, Secrétaire général de la Présidence de la République du Togo.


La catégorie des pays les moins avancés (PMA) a été établie par l’Assemblée générale des Nations Unies en 1971, suite à la prise de conscience par la communauté internationale de la nécessité de mettre en place des mesures d’appui aux pays souffrant de handicaps structurels et qui sont menacés par l’extrême pauvreté.

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Greening international debt data


By Rachid Bouhia, Economist in UNCTAD’s Division for Globalization and Development Strategies


The pandemic has exposed and exacerbated alarming debt levels in developing countries. By the time COVID-19 emerged, public debt in developing countries had increased steadily since 2013, in a context of more recurrent external shocks and rising fragilities in their debt positions, including those related to climate change. By the end of 2019, their total public debt – external and domestic – stood at 59% of combined GDP, the second-highest level on record (Figure 1). On a more positive note, there had also been a notable increase in the diversity and quantity of climate-related financial instruments at the national and regional levels. Information on the nature and scale of these initiatives is today critical to our understanding of – and policy response to – debt statistics.

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Mobilising the private sector for the green transition in emerging markets


By Maurizio Bezzeccheri, Head of Latin America Region, Enel Group, Arianna Checchi, Manager, Relations with International Organizations, Public Affairs, Eni, and Marta Martinez, Head of Analysis, Climate Change and Alliances, Iberdrola[1]


The path towards net zero by 2050 is narrow but brings huge benefits. Transformation of the global energy system – responsible for around three-quarters of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide – holds the key to averting the worst effects of climate change. Emerging markets are set to be amongst the worst-affected by the climate disaster and thus have most to gain from collective climate ambition – provided they can harness the necessary investment from the private sector.

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Least developed countries cannot afford to strand their assets, given their development challenges


By Paul Akiwumi, Director of UNCTAD’s Division for Africa and Least Developed Countries


The 46 least developed countries (LDCs) are among the most vulnerable developing economies. Given the already high pressure for these countries to grow sustainably, reduce poverty and improve livelihoods for their people, they cannot afford to strand their assets. Stranded assets are those whose value has fallen so steeply they must be written off. The growing risk of stranded assets has implications on countries’ right to development or right to promote sustainable development, raising important questions of equity.

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