NIGERIA’S OUTING AT THE 5TH UN CONFERENCE ON LEAST DEVELOPED COUNTRIES
The conference on Least Developed Countries (LDCs) took place in Doha, the capital of Qatar, from 5th to 9th March, 2023 with the theme: “From Potential to Prosperity.” The Summit was attended by world leaders, the private sector, civil society and youth organisations.
The conference, which holds once in a decade provides an opportunity to garner the support of the international community for accelerating sustainable development in the LDCs as well as assist them to make progress towards achieving prosperity.
The objective of the Conference was to mobilize political will, solidarity, action and solutions to transform the LDCs, especially on the agreed target areas of poverty, food insecurity, hunger, weak or non-existent infrastructure, inadequate health facilities, and climate change, among others.
In Doha, the world leaders shared countries developmental initiatives and mobilized political will, solidarity, action and solutions to transform the LDCs, by finding sustainable solutions to the challenges of poverty, food insecurity, hunger, weak or non-existent infrastructure, inadequate health facilities, climate change among others, as they struggle to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) objectives by 2030.
Most of these Least Developed Countries always struggle to find solutions to challenges of poverty, adverse effects of climate change, food and energy crisis as well as high-debt burden, among others.
Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari who led the country’s delegation to the summit reinforced Nigeria’s commitment to support the most vulnerable countries to meet their development challenges.
He highlighted areas through which the Nigerian government has provided these countries with various forms of assistance over a period of time.
Although Nigeria does not fall within this category of countries, President Buhari attended based on an invitation extended to Nigeria by the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
President Buhari spoke on national issues and what the government was doing to mitigate most of the challenges faced by LDCs while the Country’s Ministers of Environment, Education, Humanitarian Affairs, Industry, Trade and Investment, Finance, Budget and National Planning further explained Nigeria’s position during the Thematic Roundtables relevant to the policies of the Nigeria Government.
These thematic areas included addressing Climate Change and Supporting the Environment; Investing in People in Least Developed Countries to leave no One Behind and Enhancing the Participation of Least Developed Countries in International Trade and Regional Integration. Others were Resource Mobilization and Strengthened Global Partnerships for Sustainable Development in Least Developed Countries.
The Nigerian President held series of talks on the sidelines, meeting the Chairman of ECOWAS and President of Guinea Bissau, Oumarou Sissoco Embalo who revealed the decision of the regional body to present the Icon of Democracy Award to the Nigerian leader.
He also met with the Transitional President of Chad, General Mehmet Idris Deby-Itno, with whom he discussed areas of support for the democratic transition going on in Chad, with both leaders appreciating the sustained momentum in the transition.
The meeting with the Vice President of Iran, Mr. Mohsen Mansouri agreed on ways to further strengthen economic cooperation, especially in the sectors of energy, infrastructure and culture. The President also had another important meeting with the father of the current leader of Qatar, the host country, Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani. The two leaders discussed ways to increase commerce, strengthened bilateral ties, cooperation in areas of energy and culture.
President Buhari briefed his guests about the recent election in Nigeria, believing that he would hand over to a new President on May 29, 2023.
One of the highpoints of the conference was the presentation by President Buhari that was viewed as criticizing the current structure of the global financial system which “places an unsustainable external debt burden on the most vulnerable countries.” The Nigeria President warned that such debt burdens would make it difficult for LDCs to meet the 2030 Agenda for Seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
He said the Least Developed Countries are often faced with developmental vulnerabilities and challenges that are not always of their making, which pose huge obstacles to their development efforts, hence the need for urgent and robust assistance to help unlock their potentials and build socio-economic resilience.
President Buhari warned that climate change remains one of the biggest existential threats facing humanity today, posing challenges to lives and livelihoods, and manifesting in different negative forms, including increase in temperature, rise in sea levels, flooding, drought, and desertification.
He said these threats must be addressed. Pointing out that climate change has also led to significant loss of biodiversity.
President Buhari also said that climate change has exacerbated conflicts and led to unplanned migration, causing untold hardship in places like the Lake Chad Basin Region.
He called for the reversing of sufferings by the Least Developed Countries from the effects of climate change. Insisting that despite contributing the least to the causes of problem, the Nigerian President said that deaths from climate related crises are higher in the most vulnerable countries, with projections that there will continue to be an upward trend.
Nigeria, no doubt, championed the course for a better world in Doha with the believe that before the next 6th UN Conference on Least Developed Countries a lot would have been achieved to change their identified potential to prosperity for a better world.
It is therefore expected that the resolutions in Doha will form the basis of the meeting for the Sustainable Development goals, SDGs, especially in the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) of the world.