Agenda 2030 and the SDGs: what prospects for LDCs graduation trajectory?
A technical discussion between ComSec and UNCTAD
On 27 January 2017, the Commonwealth Secretariat (ComSec) invited the Least Developed Countries (LDC) report team from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to share the key findings from their LDC Report 2016 at Marlborough House.
Opening remarks from the Director of the Trade Division at ComSec, Mr Paulo Kautoke, included welcoming the fact that the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide a new framework and point of reference for donors and incorporate some of the trade targets included in the Istanbul Programme of Action (IPoA) for the LDCs, such as increasing the LDCs’ share of world trade.
The technical discussion, which was held under the Chatham House Rule, brought together experts from the Overseas Development Institute, Oxfam, the UK Department for International Trade, and representatives from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.
One of the critical questions that came up during the discussion is that if the SDGs are met, will this positively influence the LDCs graduation trajectory? It was suggested that there is a need to reflect on some of the gaps in the international support architecture, particularly with regard to supporting the transition towards a sustainable graduation process.
Currently, the LDC graduation framework implicitly assumes convergence towards similar levels of GDP per capita, with a minimum threshold of human capital achieved along with the reduction of economic vulnerability. However, new sources of vulnerability are emerging for the LDCs, including the existential threat of climate change.
ComSec reiterated that as a core member of the LDC IV Monitor initiative, and along with partners beyond the Monitor including UNCTAD, it would continue to seek ways in which to effectively measure the actions undertaken by international development partners as well as national governments themselves. In terms of its future work programme, it would continue to support its member states in their efforts to induce sustainable growth trajectories, achieve structural economic transformation and alleviate poverty. ComSec would continue to focus attention on the trade-related implementation of the SDGs and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.