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Addis Ababa July 20/2017 Lack of funding is among the biggest challenges for the world’s 47 least developed countries (LDCs)
in their implementation of sustainable development targets, according to State of the Least Developed Countries 2017 report.
The newly-appointed High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small
Island Developing States, Fekitamoeloa Katoa Utoikamanu said “while we continue to see mixed progress for this group of
countries, there is tremendous potential to close the gaps and achieve momentum toward their investment needs.”
According to a press release of UN News Center, Under-Secretary-General Utoikamanu urged the governments to work with
development partners, civil society and the private sector to alleviate poverty, cut inequality and save the environment.
Launching the 2017 edition of the State of the Least Developed Countries report at the UN Headquarters in New York, she
noted that the LDCs are among the most vulnerable countries in the world with large segments of their population living in
extreme poverty with few prospects to improve their situation.
Achieving the goals of IPoA complements efforts to achieve the SDGs, the Under-Secretary-General stressed.
However, due to large gaps in investment, including for sustainable energy and ICT, the report notes that access to all modes of
financing needs to increase for LDCs.
According to the report, the average GDP growth for LDCs remained low at 3.8 percent in 2015, the lowest rate in the past two
decades and well below the 7 percent target set by the Istanbul Program.
LDCs are highly dependent on agriculture, both as a major source of employment and as a significant contributor to GDP.
The sector faces tremendous challenges from the impacts of climate change, which have been further exacerbated by the El
Global declines in commodity prices and the slowdown in world trade are also having economic repercussions on the ground.
The LDCs share of total trade continued to decline from 1.09 percent in 2014 to 0.97 percent in 2015, making it difficult to reach
the 2 percent target.
Despite the significant challenges, the report also highlights progress in a few key areas, including in the transport sector, and
access to electricity, which rose from 32.3 percent of the population in 2010 to 38.3 percent in 2014.
A greater share of the total amounts of climate finance flowing from developed to developing countries needs to be allocated to
LDCs, especially for adaptation projects that result in reduced vulnerability, the report indicated.
LDCs are facing major challenges in mobilizing financial resources, and capacity constraints further hamper development gains
on the ground. While efforts are being made to mobilize finance from various sources, Official Development Assistance (ODA)
remains an important source of external financing for this group of countries.
Although there have been improvements from some donors, the long-standing ODA target of the IPoA of 0.15-0.2 per cent of
GNI to LDCs has not been achieved and ODA to LDCs declined in 2016.
The report argues that efforts to reach the target should be stepped up and aid should be more predictable and aligned with
In June 2017, Equatorial Guinea graduated from the group, bringing the number of LDCs to 47. Nine LDCs reached the
graduation thresholds in 2015, while several others aspire to graduate by 2020 or shortly thereafter.
This year’s report, compiled by UN-OHRLLS, focuses on the financing of the Istanbul Program of Action (IPoA), which charts out
the vision and strategy for the sustainable development of LDCs through 2020, on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),
which were adopted by all countries in 2015 with a view to create a peaceful, inclusive world free of poverty by 2030.