Qatar and the United Nations have had a long history of co-operation based on the success of Qatari diplomacy and confidence in Doha’s ability to organise and sponsor major international events and conferences, or to host direct bilateral or multilateral negotiations for regional countries or provide humanitarian and relief initiatives in challenging times of crises and pandemics.
Doha’s hosting and organising of the 5th UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC-V) — scheduled to be held in March 2023, is considered as a certificate of recognition from the UN to Qatar and evidence of the international community’s confidence in Doha as a capital with remarkable diplomatic weight.
The convening of the conference comes at an extremely critical time after the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has severely threatened the economies of major developed countries and caused a fundamental shift in the financial and development policies of the least developed countries in a way that affected their survival as countries capable of fulfilling their citizens’ obligations let alone their international obligations.
In a speech HE the Permanent Representative of Qatar to the UN Office at Geneva Dr Hend Abdalrahman al-Muftah stressed Qatar’s firm support and solidarity with the least developed countries, and its keenness to make all efforts that would support these countries to achieve their legitimate aspirations for development and progress.
In her speech which was delivered during a side event organised by the permanent delegation of Qatar, in co-operation with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to celebrate the anniversary of the adoption of the Doha Programme of Action for Least Developed Countries, entitled ‘Challenges and Opportunities Related to Human Rights’, Dr Hend added that based on the foreign policy of Qatar, which attaches great importance to partnership with the international community, Qatar has had the honour to chair the 5th UN Conference on Least Developed Countries, which Doha will host the meetings of the second edition from March 5-9, 2023.
She said that Qatar aspires for the Doha Work Programme for Least Developed Countries to be widely followed and implemented, and to serve as a roadmap to achieve the pledge not to leave anyone behind.
She reiterated the “full commitment of Qatar to continue its co-operation and solidarity with the LDCs”.
In a speech during the opening session of the first part of the 5th UN Conference on LDC, which was held in New York on March 17, HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said that, under the directives of His Highness the Amir, Qatar initiated hosting the conference based on its policy on partnership with the international community, and in line with its commitment and keenness to support the issues of LDCs, in addition to Doha’s confidence that this conference will contribute to meeting the needs and priorities of these countries, and support their path towards achieving development in the next ten years.
The UN, Doha’s Programme of Action (DPoA) for LDCs, which was approved by the UN, is regarded as a significant step for the success of the second part of the conference, which will be held in Doha, as it will be the first programme of action to address the repercussions of the pandemic on LDCs by giving them the utmost priority.
The DPoA will serve as a roadmap, thanks to its important tools and measures towards change, as well as the reflection it brings upon the commitment of all partners to provide more resources and realise the full potential offered by science, technology, and innovation, leading to comprehensive development.
The programme would also serve as an effective tool for translating the totality of long-term promises and commitments into practical actions with the co-operation of all partners.
In his speech during the conference, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres described DPoA as a representation of a “lifeline”, as it provides aid to the LDCs in the short term, achieves the goals of sustainable development in the medium term, and creates development and prosperity in the long term, saying: “The hopes, dreams, lives, and livelihoods of one-eighth of humanity rest between the pages of the Doha Programme of Action.”
Guterres noted that developing countries need to invest in sectors that reduce poverty and increase resilience, such as job-creation, social protection, food security, universal healthcare, quality education and digital connectivity.
Hope rests on the DPoA through transforming it into a framework that includes commitments from the major countries with a package of debt relief, as well as financial and development aid for LDCs to face the post-Covid era, in addition to the economic stagnation that the world may witness with the continuation of military operations in Ukraine, the suspension of supply chains, the high prices, and the scarcity of raw materials.
Dr Hend also noted that the pledge to “leave no-one behind” is the core pledge that the UN Member States made when adopting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and this commitment means taking all possible measures to eradicate poverty, end inequalities, and confront discrimination, taking the necessary measures and reaching those furthest behind first, stressing that this obligation applies not only to people, but also to states.
She added that this commitment also means that the implementation of the sustainable development goals must take into account the specific needs of vulnerable countries, including the least developed countries, so that they can build sustainable, resilient and inclusive economic growth.
Qatar has spared no effort to provide assistance and send humanitarian and relief aid to LDCs as well as friendly and brotherly countries, to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on the economic growth plans of those countries.
Doha has made contributions that exceeded $140mn, based on its leading role in humanitarian work and in support of international efforts to combat the pandemic, and signed a basic contribution agreement with the World Health Organisation (WHO) worth $10mn to support the organisation’s programme of action and the initiative to accelerate the availability of tools to combat Covid-19 in the countries most in need.
Through Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD), Qatar also contributed to aiding 92 countries during the pandemic, based on its belief in the importance of global solidarity to overcome the effects of the scourge, especially on LDCs.
Qatar is the first Arab and Gulf state to organise and host the UN Conference for LDC-V.
The preparation for the conference in its fifth edition in Doha began immediately after signing the Doha hosting agreement on Oct 4, 2021, which took place at the UN headquarters in New York.