COVID-19 & LDCs: Upcoming opportunities to address structural impediments

UN Monitor #22

By Elena Marmo and Barbara Adams

The United Nations and Member States begin the 2021 calendar confronted with the need to address the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and growing global inequalities. Despite the WHO’s efforts to make the COVID-19 vaccine “affordable and accessible for all” through the ACT Accelerator and calls by CSOs and UN leadership and world leaders for a People’s Vaccine (a global public good free from Intellectual Property Rights), the global vaccine distribution/rollout has been dominated by wealthy, developed countries, with little if any vaccines available for small and medium developing countries. 

LDCs have been hit particularly hard as a result of COVID-19. The 2020 UNCTAD Report stated: “The GDP per capita of least developed countries (LDCs) is projected to contract by 2.6% in 2020 from already low levels, as these countries are forecast to experience their worst economic performance in 30 years. At least 43 out of the 47 LDCs will likely experience a fall in their average income.”

How will Member States and the UN Committee for Development Policy (CDP) factor this into their deliberations on the status of LDCs. The 22-26 February meeting of the CDP includes a Triennial Review regarding LDC graduation. The 5th United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC5), taking place in January 2022, is preceded in 2021 by a full calendar of preparatory and regional review meetings.

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