Statement by John F. Sammis, Deputy U.S. Representative to ECOSOC, on Countries in Special Situations: LDC's and LLDC's, Second Committee

John F. Sammis
United States Deputy Representative to ECOSOC 
New York, NY
October 18, 2010




AS DELIVERED

Madame Chair, Distinguished Delegates.

The Secretary General’s Report on the Brussels Program of Action provides a comprehensive description of where Least Developed Countries stand today. Though there have been areas of progress, and LDCs overall have recorded impressive economic growth in recent years, many are still struggling to meet their Millennium Development Goals.

The United States commends the work of the UN, in particular the Office of the High Representative, for its steady hand in ensuring the full participation of Least Developed Countries, other member states, multilateral organizations, civil society, and the private sector in the preparations for the Fourth LDC Conference in Istanbul.

As President Obama stressed in his address on the Millennium Development Goals last month, “progress in even the poorest countries can advance the prosperity and security of people far beyond their borders.” The development of LDCs is not only a moral imperative but a strategic and economic one that we, as a world community, all share.

In 2009 the United States increased its bilateral Official Development Assistance to LDCs by over 15 percent to $8.1 billion, with total ODA reaching an historic high at $28.7 billion.

However, we should not measure aid simply as an input but should focus instead on the outputs it produces. The purpose of development is to create the conditions where assistance is no longer needed.

Our assistance strategy is grounded in a results-based approach with an emphasis on national ownership, innovation and partnership to build the foundations for sustainable economic growth. And as the Secretary General’s report highlights, such growth is essential for LDCs to reduce poverty and achieve their Millennium Development Goals.

The United States has also launched major initiatives that will benefit the neediest in LDCs. We are targeting food security through our $3.5 billion “Feed the Future” initiative in 20 priority countries including 14 LDCs.

The U.S. Global Health Initiative (GHI) is a $63 billion six-year commitment to improve health outcomes in partner countries through strengthened health systems, with a particular focus on the health of women, newborns and children.

The initiative targets HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis, neglected tropical diseases, nutrition, maternal and child health, family planning, and safe water.

Under GHI, and in order to save more lives through smart investments, the United States recently pledged to seek $4 billion for the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria for 2011-2013, a 38 percent increase in U.S. funding over the preceding three years.

Access to markets and private sector investments are also key components for LDC growth. All LDCs, especially small island developing states and landlocked developing countries, face unique barriers to fully benefiting from the global economy.
Indeed, the Secretary General’s report on the Almaty Program of Action urges the continued focus on transit, trade facilitation and infrastructure for LLDCs. We commend the important contributions the World Bank, regional banks and institutions, and others have made in support of the development of LLDCs.

To facilitate the integration of all LDCs into the global economy, the United States is especially dedicated to “aid for trade” programs. Since 1999, the United States has provided $12 billion in trade capacity assistance to developing countries. And Foreign Direct Investment from the United States to developing countries was $54.2 billion in 2008.

The African Growth and Opportunity Act has contributed to enhanced trade with sub-Saharan Africa, a region accounting for 33 of the 49 LDCs. In the first half of 2010, trade under AGOA totaled $33.1 billion, a 57 percent increase from the same period in 2009.

The Secretary General’s reports lay out the challenges faced by LDCs and LLDCs in the implementation of the Brussels and Almaty Programs of Action, and just as importantly areas of their success. LDC IV provides an opportunity for all stakeholders to take the lessons learned from the past decade and design a comprehensive plan of action for the decade to come. The United States looks forward to working with our partners to ensure the success of this important event.

Thank you.

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PRN: 2010/221