Statement by Ambassador Dai Bing at the Annual Ministerial Meeting of Least Developed Countries
17 September 2020
This year marks the 75th anniversary of the founding of the UN and the final year of the Istanbul Programme of Action (IPOA) for the Least Developed Countries. With the support of development partners, LDCs have been making unremitting efforts in the past decade and made major progress in economic and social development. However, internal vulnerabilities in LDCs remain. They face long-standing difficulties such as poverty, hunger, disease, conflict, poor infrastructure and shortage of energy, and new challenges like climate change, digital gap and trade barriers. The COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed the vulnerability of LDCs, and exacerbated their development difficulties. This year marks the beginning of the “Decade of Action” for implementing the SDGs. To support LDCs in improving people’s lives and implementing the SDGs, I would like to make the following comments:
First, the international community should firmly uphold multilateralism, strengthen global cooperation, and provide more support to LDCs. Development partners should take concrete steps to meet their committed ODA targets and step up financial and technological support to LDCs. International financial institutions and multilateral development agencies should give priority to financing projects in LDCs. South-South cooperation should be fully utilized to strengthen experience sharing and mutual assistance between developing countries.
Second, the international community should foster an international economy and trade environment conducive to economic and social recovery of LDCs, and promote sustainable and inclusive development. We should oppose trade protectionism and unilateralism, fully implement trade facilitation commitments, and support WTO’s efforts in mobilizing aid for trade, and help LDCs enhance their trade capacity. We should increase investment in LDCs, create more jobs, and promote the transformation of economic structure and the endogenous growth in LDCs.
Third, the international community should strengthen cooperation in public health and support LDCs in fighting COVID-19. The pandemic is a crisis facing all mankind, and countries have a shared future. We should forge a joint response and provide support to LDCs in testing, medicine, vaccine, human resources and public health system.
China has been following closely the epidemic situation in LDCs and doing everything we can to support their response to COVID-19. China has provided medical supplies, sent expert teams, and shared diagnostic and treatment experience to more than 40 LDCs. We are working on a cooperation mechanism to pair up 30 African hospitals with Chinese ones and accelerating the construction of Africa CDC headquarters to help the continent ramp up its disease preparedness and control capacity. China is advancing COVID-19 vaccine development and deployment, which will be made a global public good and first benefit LDCs and other developing countries.
As the largest developing country, China fully understands the development challenges facing LDCs. Over the years, LDCs have been China’s priority in foreign aid. The Chinese government has provided substantial assistance to LDCs without political conditions, covering nearly 1,500 projects in sectors such as industry, agriculture, education, culture, public health, communications, electricity, energy, transportation and public utilities. In recent years, through the Belt and Road cooperation, China has been helping LDCs improve infrastructure and strengthen connectivity. We are actively implementing the outcomes of the FOCAC Beijing Summit, and carrying out practical cooperation with Africa in all fields.
China supports LDCs in increasing export, attracting investment and financing, relieving debt burden, and improving their development environment. Under the WTO framework, China gives zero-tariff treatment to 97 percent of exports from LDCs. China has been the largest export market for LDCs for many years. With increased direct investment, China has become the largest source of FDI for LDCs. We actively help LDCs expand international financing, and support the IMF and the World Bank in giving priorities to LDCs. China is implementing the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative and has reached debt suspension agreement with several countries. We call on the G20 to extend debt service suspension still further for countries concerned.
China will work with the international community to provide continued support to LDCs through various means and channels. We hope the international community will take the opportunity of the preparations for the Fifth United Nations Conference on LDCs to build consensus, and support LDCs in achieving common development to ensure that no one is left behind.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.