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  • Monday, 06 March 2023

On behalf of H.E. President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, H.E. Dr. Rania A. Al-Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation’s Speech At the Fifth United Nations Conference on Least Developed Countries in Doha, Qatar

On behalf of H.E. the President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, H.E. President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, H.E. Dr. Rania A. Al-Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation, addressed the Fifth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries, taking place in Doha, Qatar, from 5-9 March, with the participation of world leaders, representatives of the private sector, civil society, parliamentarians and youth to bring forward new ideas, obtain new commitments of support, and stimulate the fulfillment of the commitments agreed through the Doha Programme of Action. The conference is expected to announce specific initiatives and tangible results that will help address the challenges of the least developed countries.

In her opening remarks, the Minister expressed appreciation and gratitude to H.E. President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani, Crown Prince of Qatar and Chairperson of the Fifth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries, H.E. President Lazarus Chakwera, H.E. President of the Republic of Malawi and Chairperson of the Least Developed Countries Group, and António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, for convening this edition of the conference, which is one of the most important international forums and platforms that monitor the challenges faced by the least developed countries and the international community's efforts to stimulate and build international and regional partnerships to address these challenges and find solutions that promote the achievement of sustainable development in those countries.

The speech emphasized the leadership role of the Secretary-General of the United Nations in promoting the value and impact of development activities at the regional and international levels, unremitting efforts to consolidate the principles of multilateral cooperation and solidarity and to place the United Nations and its specialized agencies at the forefront of helping developing and least developed countries address their development challenges, to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to ensure that no one is left behind, in accordance with the principles of the United Nations General Charter.

Moreover, the President’s speech pointed out that in light of the successive crises the world is experiencing and their impacts on health systems and food security in developing and least developed countries as well as the world's most disadvantaged peoples, as well as the resulting structural pressures and health, economic and social damage, integration and cooperation by the international community family, addressing economic, social and environmental challenges and building on the value of solidarity and regional and international partnerships is necessary for a better future for people and future generations, as well as a sustainable solution to the crises and instabilities facing developing and least developed countries.

The speech also expressed the appreciation of the Government of Egypt for the importance of multilateral cooperation in changing the international landscape and achieving inclusive, equitable and sustainable economic and social peace for developing and least-developed countries, which struggle from high rates of poverty, unemployment, food insecurity and lack of access to basic services for their citizens, inviting us all to re-examine national policies, legislation and tools used in their implementation and build on innovation and more integrated and sustainable solutions.

It was mentioned that the African continent, which hosts 71% of the world's least developed countries, faces many development challenges related to food security, especially in light of the geopolitical crisis facing Eastern Europe, and the inability of many countries to achieve self-sufficiency in basic goods and balance supply chains. H.E. added that the Arab Republic of Egypt has been keen to launch a national food and nutrition strategy aimed at the forefront of its initiatives to link presidential initiatives and investment in public health in order to achieve food and nutrition security.

The speech highlighted Egypt's chairmanship of the current session of the Steering the African Union Assembly on AUDA - NEPAD during 2023-2025. It intends to strengthen cooperation efforts with African countries through the Agency's Secretariat through a clear vision of specific goals and objectives through:

1- Intensifying efforts to mobilize financing resources in areas of priority for the continent, including infrastructure development in order to achieve the goals of the African Development Agenda 2036, especially mobilizing resources for 69 projects until 2023, including the Lake Victoria project, the Cairo-Cape Town road, and other projects.

2- Industrial transformation and building on the outputs of the extraordinary Africa Summit held in Miami last November, and developing continental value chains.

3- Accelerating the realization of the aspirations targeted by the Continental Free Trade Agreement, while supporting African countries to benefit from the opportunities that the agreement will provide for integration into the global economy and provide job opportunities, especially among youth and women.

4- Emphasizing the participation of African countries for their expertise in the field of infrastructure, as Egypt has engaged in a pioneering development experience over the past eight years, and has contributed to the implementation of many vital projects on the continent, including the Julius Nyerere Dam in Tanzania, which was implemented in partnership with Egyptian expertise and companies.

5- Intensifying cooperation and coordination with international partners and international financing institutions in order to bridge the financing gap in sustainable development projects and reduce debt burdens on the most affected countries, while taking advantage of the new initiatives that are being put forward during the partnership summits of the African Union.

The speech stated that climate change and natural disasters would remain important for discussion in our international and regional forums because of the challenges and risks they pose to natural resources and the threat to human life, pointing out that the exacerbation of these risks raises the alarm for adherence to international covenants and treaties to achieve the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement in order to preserve the planet. The degree of global warming is at less than 1.5 degrees, and this highlights the role of international institutions that give priority to developing and least developed countries to provide development assistance, the need to standardize the patterns and policies of development work, and focus more on promoting investments and stimulating the role of the private sector in comprehensive and sustainable development and empowerment, especially for youth and women.

During Egypt's presidency of the COP27 Climate Conference, the government was keen to establish an innovative model for developing and least developed countries in order to develop solutions to the most complex equation ever, which is adapting to climate changes through mitigation and adaptation projects that enhance the strength of countries in addressing these changes in quantity and quality. In addition to addressing economic and social gaps, the Government of Egypt launched many joint international initiatives with development partners in many sectors, including the Nexus for Water, Food and Energy (NWFE) platform, which is based on integration and interdependence of the water, food and energy sectors, and represents an important experience for the least developed countries in how to address climate change in light of the limited development funding and the multiple economic crises the world is going through.

Additionally, the Government of Egypt launched the "Haya Karima" initiative, which is an example of initiatives aimed at achieving integrated development in rural areas, which enhance efforts to eradicate poverty in the villages of the Egyptian countryside and provide high-quality basic services, pointing to joint efforts with the United Nations to share experiences as well as national and international experiences within the framework of cooperation with the UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework for 2023 - 2027 by investing in human capital, promoting job creation, supporting the transition to a green economy, developing health and education sectors, strengthening national monitoring and evaluation systems, and localizing sustainable development goals.

The speech expressed the aspiration of the Arab Republic of Egypt to what the Doha Programme of Action will achieve for the least developed countries, and its hope that it would achieve what the countries pledged forty years ago at the first United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries in September 1981.

The speech stressed that the provision of the minimum basic services in the areas of health, education, employment, nutrition and housing is an inherent right of people in all parts of the earth with their various groups, and Egypt is working on this in order to provide a decent life for all citizens and implement the national strategy for human rights and the international principles agreed upon by it. In order to ensure the prosperity and well-being of the people and to transfer the experience to the least developed countries to help them return to the right track to achieve sustainable development through multilateral partnership and joint action plans that achieve these goals, foremost of which is the empowerment of women, youth, the private sector and start-up companies.

The speech of H.E. President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi concluded by referring to the great importance of effective and effective multilateral development work, as it constitutes a lifeline for many developing and least developed countries in light of the multiplication of economic risks and challenges that the world is going through and affecting the lives of peoples.