Statement by Turkey at the Group of Friends of LDCs Meeting held at the Turkish Permanent Mission

Feridun H. Sinirlioğlu 04.02.2019
Madam Under-Secretary General,
Distinguished Colleagues,

I welcome you all to the Turkish Permanent Mission together as Co-Chair of the Group of Friends of LDCs,

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Permanent Representative of Malawi on his assumption of the Chairmanship of LDCs. We look forward to working with you and your team closely to deepen our cooperation with LDCs and help advance their priorities at the UN.

I also would like to recognize the invaluable contributions of your predecessor, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh, to the Group of LDCs during his country’s chairmanship past three years. By meeting all graduation criteria at the same time last year, Bangladesh has led the Group by example.

Excellencies,

Before walking you through our meeting’s agenda, allow me to make two announcements. Firstly, we are pleased to welcome the new member of our group, Ireland, among us. As a country dedicating a significant portion of its ODA to LDCs, we are confident that Ireland will actively contribute to the Group’s efforts to promote the cause of LDCs. Secondly, we also welcome the representative of Romania today, who is participating in our meeting as an observer. We are happy to see the growing interest in our Group.

Dear Colleagues,

We are convening this meeting today with a few concrete objectives. This gathering will give Malawi an opportunity to share the strategic priorities of the LDCs with the Group. I look forward to having an in depth discussion on how best we can collaborate, for the advancement of the LDCs group, in line with the 2030 Agenda and Istanbul Programme of Action (IPoA), based on the strategic priorities that Malawi will share with us today.

This meeting will also give us a chance to discuss the roadmap for the LDC-5 Conference, which will be convened in 2021. As the host of the LDC-4 Conference, we know first hand, the importance of starting the preparations early on for this very intensive event.

I believe it is high time to start this discussion today. Identifying the host country will be a crucial first step. Madam Undersecretary General will give you an overview of the state of play and the way forward.

The strategic priorities of LDCs and the LDC-5 Conference will constitute the first cluster of agenda items of our meeting.

Following the presentations of Ambassador Ligoya and Madam Undersecretary General, we will open the floor for an interactive discussion.

In the second part of our meeting, Madam Undersecretary General and Ambassador Ligoya will brief us about the recent developments regarding LDCs and the Flagship Report on the state of LDCs, before we open the floor again for comments and questions.

Distinguished guests,

I would like to take this opportunity to provide you an update on the activities of the Technology Bank for the LDCs, which became operational last June.

Mr. Joshua Setipa, the former Minister of Trade and Economy of Lesotho has been appointed as the Managing Director of the Bank. He assumed his duties on 10 December 2018. The Turkish Government fully supports Mr.Setipa in his endeavors.

The Bank will play a key role in promoting the integration of LDCs into the global, knowledge-based economy. It will strengthen the capacity of LDCs to scale-up deployment of technologies, and manage intellectual property right issues.

It will promote the development and implementation of national and regional STI (Science-Technology-Innovation) strategies, strengthen partnerships among STI-related public entities, private sector and other stakeholders.

Since its inauguration, the Bank has been focusing on improving access for scientists and researchers to data, publications and STI initiatives in 12 LDCs; namely, Bangladesh, Mozambique, Nepal, Rwanda, Senegal, Uganda, Tanzania, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Liberia, Madagascar, and Malawi.

In this framework, numerous “Digital Access to Research” workshops have been conducted in these LDCs. These workshops aim to enable researchers, policymakers, educators, documentary information professionals, graduate students, extension specialists and other information professionals to access quality, relevant and timely information from internet. These workshops are organized for the benefit of librarians, lecturers, researchers and students.

The Bank also initiated baseline STI reviews and Technology Needs Assessments in Guinea, Haiti, Sudan, Timor-Leste and Uganda in collaboration with all relevant UN agencies.

We firmly believe that the Bank will play a key role in fostering productive capacity, structural transformation, poverty eradication and sustainable development of LDCs.

We take pride in the fact that the establishment of the Bank marked the first Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target to be achieved, SDG 17.8.

The Bank will require around 40 million USD per year to finance its activities.

In addition to providing a modern and fully equipped office space for the Bank, Turkey has pledged a total of 10 million USD for 5 years and assumed its running costs.

We thank Norway, India, Sudan, Bangladesh and the Philippines for their pledges and contributions.

However, the current resources fall dramatically short of what is needed to ensure the proper functioning of the Bank.

Technology Bank is a UN institution. We have a collective and imminent responsibility to make it an effective tool. We hope to see concrete steps in this regard.

We call on all friends of LDCs to support the Bank’s activities, not only through financial means but also by forging partnerships.

Excellencies,

As the Flagship Report underlines, with only two years left in the time frame for the implementation of the IPoA, a major drive is needed by all stakeholders to overcome the challenges faced by the LDCs.

Particular attention needs to be paid to efforts to reduce vulnerabilities and increase resilience. These are fundamental for any progress towards sustainable development in LDCs and to help speed up graduation processes.

In order to increase the number of countries reaching the graduation threshold and to meet the goals of Action Programme, we need to accelerate the implementation of the IPoA.

As their friends, we need to help LDCs in their efforts to provide an enabling environment for the private sector and step up efforts to leave no one behind in all priority areas.

By the same token, we need to fulfil our commitments, especially in the areas of ODA and trade preferences.

It is crucial that we enhance our support to address the specific challenges of the LDCs. This includes leveraging ODA for other development finance and improved mechanisms for resilience-building.

In its recommendations, the Flagship Report highlights the important role of technical and scientific skills in building a viable technological base as a backbone of an economic diversification strategy.

Access to cutting-edge technology is also crucial for building resilience in LDCs. Technology Bank for the LDCs will also focus on resilience building activities.