IPU President Lauds Qatar's Efforts in Assisting LDCs

04 March 2023

HE President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Duarte Pacheco praised the efforts of the State of Qatar in supporting the LDCs, its counterterrorism efforts, and its support for the sustainable development goals (SDGs) through effective programs, tangible steps, and allocating the required resources to achieve that.

This came in his speech before the opening session of the Parliamentary Forum on Least Developed Countries (LDCs), held Saturday at Qatar National Convention Centre, on the occasion of the 5th UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC5), which will convene Sunday in Doha.

HE President of IPU thanked the State of Qatar for hosting this conference, stressing that Doha has become an important destination for international conferences due to allocating the needed resources to support the LDCs and the development efforts, pointing out that Qatar has managed to do that through focusing on the goals it seeks to achieve.

He pointed out to the remarkable developments that Qatar is witnessing at all levels which prove its will and determination.

In his speech, His Excellency discussed the definition of development, pointing out that it can be summarized as promoting human rights, providing equal opportunities, respecting our planet, achieving human happiness and welfare, and facilitating information access, stressing that development is not limited to production and consumption.

In this regard, he stressed that economic growth could not be achieved through competition and development for countries at the expense of others, pointing out that since the adoption of the classification of the LDCs in 1971 and enlisting 24 countries within this classification, six countries emerged out of the list, while 46 other countries were added.

His Excellency said that looking at these numbers, we can figure out that no progress has been done even though some countries have achieved steady growth, yet they could not emerge out of the LDCs list because of the conflicts, weak institutions, lack of balance, and the impacts of crises. Thus, we should support these countries to achieve their development plans, stressing the need of these for the worlds support and help to change the scale of power and provide fair development opportunities.

HE Pacheco stressed that The Doha Program of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2022-2031 contributes to achieving that, noting that implementing the program depends on all countries' support for development efforts as Qatar does.

His Excellency stressed the mission of the parliamentarians is focused on working to implement the program of action and support the SDGs. He stressed that to contribute to that role, the IPU has developed a package of measures to achieve the development and support all parliaments in their efforts to achieve that, noting that the Parliamentary Forum constitutes an essential step in the efforts of achieving the SDGs.

For her part, HE High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS) Rabab Fatima stressed in the same session the role of parliamentarians in making the change and implementing the Doha Program of Action.

Her Excellency referred to the challenges facing parliamentarians, noting the need to think in different ways than before to reduce division, bring about the required change, fulfill the commitments, and turn them into actual programs, which is what the Doha Program of Action seeks, through efforts to enact laws, adopt budgets and enhance accountability.

Her Excellency stressed the need to follow up on the implementation of the Doha Program of Action, pointing to the difficulties and problems that faced the implementation of the Istanbul Program of Action and the need to learn from past lessons in implementing the Doha program of Action and the need to set the priorities.

Regarding the role of parliamentarians in achieving the goals of the Doha Program of Action, Her Excellency referred to a number of axes, including good and effective governance and strengthening cooperation with various sectors, particularly the private sector to benefit from the development of science and technology, by creating comprehensive national frameworks to provide greater support to stakeholders to build their capacities to help the LDCs achieve the development goals.

The opening session of the Forum was attended by a number of Their Excellencies members of the Shura Council. 

During the first session of the Forum, HE Member of Bangladesh Parliament and the Honorary President of the IPU Saber Chowdhury, as well as the member of the UN Committee for Development Policy (CDP) and Acting Managing Director of the United Nations Technology Bank Taffere Tesfachew, spoke about the unresolved challenges and untapped opportunities from the perspective of the LDCs.

The two speakers provided an overview of the structural economic issues that LDCs continue to grapple with, as well as the opportunities that these countries may have to unlock their development potential.

Discussions during the session focused on answering questions such as how parliamentarians can help implement the long-term socio-economic justice agenda of the Doha Program of Action, to what extent can the global economic system provide sufficient support to the LDCs, and how can those countries diversify their economies, improve their productivity, and increase investments in infrastructure, health and education, and face the threat of climate change.

Another session entitled women and youths representation in the parliaments of least developed countries, moderated by HE Secretary-General of the IPU Martin Chungong, an IPU Advisor highlighted the efforts to integrate women and youth at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life.

Another session discussed the partnerships between multiple stakeholders, assistance in the LDCs, and ways to increase the effectiveness in this regard.  HE the Speaker of the National Assembly of Zambia Nelly Butete Kashumba Mutti, Executive Director of Reality of Aid Africa Vitalice Meja, and IPU advisor Alexander O'Riordan discussed how the LDCs depend heavily on foreign assistance for their infrastructure and social budgets.

During the session, the speakers highlighted the traditional relationship between donors and recipients, how making aid part of a larger framework for effective development cooperation involving many stakeholders, and how this poses a particular challenge for LDCs at the same time as the actual results of aid may be in Useless LDCs.

In a session entitled the LDCs and governance: the challenge of institutional reforms, the speakers discussed the main governance challenges that LDCs should face.

The session, in which the HE Vice-President of the National Parliament of East Timor Maria Angelina Sarmento, HE Member of the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia Sara Zibrat, and HE the UN Resident Coordinator's Office in Lao People's Democratic Republic Sara Sekkenes, highlighted the issue of ensuring good and effective governance at all levels, including by increasing democracy-enhancing institutional capacity, as an important objective of the Durban Program of Action.

During the session, the speakers pointed out that good governance is a necessary condition for peace and development everywhere, stressing that governance requires first and foremost that all decisions be taken at the national and international levels.

The session also addressed the most important governance reforms for LDCs, starting with the institution of Parliament.