Senior Minister of State (SMS), Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of National Development, Sim Ann is in Doha for the Fifth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC5).
SMS Sim delivered a statement at the general debate. She expressed Singapore’s commitment to support the LDCs’ progress towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and called on the international community to support the LDCs in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by: (a) supporting climate resilience; (b) closing the financing gap; (c) accelerating digital transformation; and (d) strengthening global partnerships. She also shared about Singapore’s partnership with fellow developing countries to enhance capacity building under the Singapore Cooperation Programme. The transcript of SMS Sim’s speech is appended.
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MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
6 MARCH 2023
NATIONAL STATEMENT BY
SENIOR MINISTER OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT OF SINGAPORE SIM ANN
AT THE SECOND PART OF THE FIFTH UNITED NATIONS CONFERENCE ON THE LEAST DEVELOPED COUNTRIES
6 MARCH 2023
Mr President, Excellencies,
1 Let me first convey Singapore’s appreciation to the Government of Qatar and the United Nations for organising this important meeting.
2 When we adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in 2015, we made the fundamental commitment to “leave no one behind”. We have now reached the critical mid-point of our journey. There is great urgency to reaffirm this core commitment and step up our efforts to address the needs and priorities of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs).
3 In May last year, the UN Secretary-General warned that the “very viability of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030” is at risk. The LDCs are among those facing the greatest difficulties. They have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, geopolitical tensions, and the triple planetary crisis of climate change, pollution, and biodiversity loss.
4 But there are also opportunities to “rescue” the SDGs as highlighted by the Secretary-General. This Conference is one such opportunity. We need to fulfil our commitment to the LDCs through concrete and collective action. Allow me to highlight four areas where we should focus our efforts: First, supporting climate resilience. The LDCs are the least responsible for climate change but are among the hardest hit. To help the LDCs build long-term resilience against the impact of climate change, we need to significantly scale up technical and financial support from the international community. In this regard, we strongly support the target of allocating 50 percent of climate financing to climate adaptation.
5 Second, closing the financing gap. Widening fiscal deficits and increased debt burden are hampering the ability of LDCs to eradicate poverty, respond to external shocks, invest in their people, and build inclusive societies. We must reform the global financial architecture to provide the scale and reliability of financing required to achieve the SDGs.
6 Third, accelerating digital transformation. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the use of digital technology worldwide, but it has also laid bare the huge digital divide among and within countries. Only 25 percent of people in the LDCs use the Internet, compared to 80 percent in advanced economies. If we are serious about closing the digital divide, we will need to step up efforts to promote universal connectivity, enhance digital skills and training, and invest in digital infrastructure.
7 Fourth, strengthening global partnerships. Our experience with COVID-19 has shown that multilateral cooperation is the best way forward. Singapore strongly supports the Doha Programme of Action’s call for a renewed and strengthened global partnership with South-South cooperation as an important pillar. Since 1992, the Singapore Cooperation Programme or SCP has been our platform for technical cooperation with developing countries. It originated as a way for Singapore to share our development experience and pay forward the assistance that we had received during our formative years. We have cooperated with UN agencies to deliver programmes in the Asia-Pacific and Africa. Our Third Country partnerships, including those with Chile, Japan, Qatar, Thailand, Türkiye, and the US, have facilitated North-South and South-South Cooperation. To date, we have welcomed close to 150,000 government officials as part of our SCP programmes, with more than 40 percent from the LDCs. This year, we will launch a three-year Sustainability Action Package to support capacity-building for all developing countries, focusing on resilience building strategies, green project management and financing, as well as carbon market development. We will continue to work with our partners to pool resources and expertise to better meet the needs of LDCs.
8 As a global community, we must not leave anyone behind in our collective journey towards the SDGs. In line with the theme of this conference, “From Potential to Prosperity”, let us work together to support the LDCs to realise their vast potential and achieve a prosperous future.
9 Thank you.