| March 21, 2018

Quakes, blockade hindered IPoA implementation: Nepal

ANTALYA, TURKEY, May 28: Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Kamal Thapa told a gathering of representatives from several countries gathered here at Antalya, Turkey that the months-long blockade and the devastating earthquakes last year had affected Nepal's economy resulting in a humanitarian crisis in the country.

"Nepal had set goal for itself to graduate to developing country by 2022," Thapa told the gathering. "Unfortunately the earthquakes of April and May last year, the obstruction in supplies for several months at the southern border points affected the entire economy and resulting into a humanitarian crisis in the country."
He argued that all this has made Nepal's goal of smooth and sustainable graduation more challenging.

Leaders and delegates representing developed countries, UN agencies and least developed countries have gathered in the Turkish city to review implementation status of previous promises, to identify measures to accelerate pace of Istanbul Program of Action (IPoA) implementation, to promote coherence across all global agenda in the LDCS, to assess the progress made so far, to reflect on the lessons learned and to chart out future strategies for LDCs.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of UN Conference on Midterm Review of IPoA for Least Developed Countries here on Friday, government delegates and high level representatives of UN have reiterated the promises and commitments made to LDCs in 2011. They also acknowledged challenges to fulfilling those goals.

The Fourth UN Conference on Least Developed Countries held in Istanbul on May 9-13, 2011 had issued this promissory note to LDCs through a document called Istanbul Declaration and Istanbul Program of Action (IPoA).

Thapa, who arrived in Antalya to participate in the opening session, stressed the need for effective implementation of IPoA in coherence and synergies with the 2030 agenda for sustainable development and other landmark achievements made last year. He reminded the gathering that Nepal was on right track of making good progress in IPoA implementation but earthquake and Indian economic blockade hindered the initiative. He, however, did not mention the word "blockade."

Gauri Pradhan, International Coordinator of LDC Watch, official Civil Society partner of UN Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UNOHRLLS) also addressed the mega gathering.

The conference on the mid-term review (MTR), jointly organized by Government of Turkey and UNOHRLLS, has come as a test of commitment for both developed countries and UN agencies to fulfill their promises and LDCs themselves to strive towards graduating to middle-income countries. The MTR will conclude on Sunday.

In the opening session chaired by Gyan Chandra Acharya, Under-Secretary General and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (who is also the Secretary General of the Conference), Helen Clark, Chair of UN Development Groups and UNDP Administrator emphasized on accelerating the pace of implementation of IPoA and reiterated UN's support. "UNDP and sister agencies are fully committed to supporting LDCs' efforts on IPOA's priority areas," she said. "Supporting LDCs is at the heart of the mandates of the UN development agencies."

The government of Turkey, host of MTR program, has also pledged its support. Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, Mevlut Cavusoglu, who is also the President of Midterm Review meeting, outlined the need for providing greater financial and technical support to LDCs. "It's a moral and human duty of developed countries to help address issues of LDCs," he said. He also expressed the worry over declining aids to LDCs. "If LDCs lose, we will all lose," he said.