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LDC5 | 5th United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries

Statement by the Director-General, Ms Jan Beagle

5th United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries
Doha, 8 March 2023
Mr. President,
Madam High Representative,
Distinguished delegates,

It is a pleasure to address this Conference on behalf of the International Development Law Organization, the only global intergovernmental organization exclusively devoted to promoting the rule of law to advance peace and sustainable development.

I thank UN-OHRLLS and the Government of Qatar for hosting us.

The world is facing major, intersecting crises – from the lingering COVID-19 pandemic to conflict, climate change and economic recession.

Their combined effects pose a formidable challenge to sustainable development and are jeopardizing the hard-won gains that Least Developed Countries have made over the past years.

The 2030 Agenda’s promise of ‘leaving no one behind’ applies most strongly to the 1.1 billion inhabitants of the LDCs, who include more than 75 per cent of people still living in poverty.

This Conference is a crucial opportunity to reinforce our collective efforts towards the implementation of the Doha Programme of Action and the Sustainable Development Goals.

The rule of law can be a catalyst in this effort.

Drawing on IDLO’s experience working with countries across the development spectrum, including many LDCs, allow me to share three examples.

First, the rule of law can encourage growth by providing stability and certainty, and resolving disputes fairly and expeditiously.

The development of sound policy and regulatory frameworks, grounded in the rule of law, can help to increase access to justice, eliminate discriminatory laws and practices, reduce corruption, and enhance transparency. In so doing, the rule of law creates an enabling environment for sustainable investment and trade.

IDLO partners with countries around the world to promote increased legal capacity, including with respect to economic and commercial law.

Our Investment Support Programme for Least Developed Countries is dedicated to supporting LDCs with technical assistance and capacity development, including in relation to the design of legal frameworks, negotiation of complex investment contracts, commercial arbitration and mediation, and resolution of disputes.

IDLO is pleased that the Doha Programme of Action includes a commitment to further strengthen this capacity building public-private partnership.

We encourage Least Developed Countries to make full use of its facilities, and development partners to continue to support this programme.

Second, the rule of law can help make development inclusive and sustainable.

Both the Doha Programme of Action and the 2030 Agenda emphasize the importance of human rights, and rule of law principles of equity, equality, and non-discrimination, as integral components of development.

Effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels can support the equitable implementation of legal and policy frameworks and promote participation in decision-making, including those most at risk of being left behind.

For instance, the full and equal participation of women and girls in public life is essential for inclusive and sustainable development, but according to the World Bank, 2.4 billion women still do not have the same legal rights as men.

IDLO is working in partnership with UN Women and governments in many countries to undertake comprehensive reviews of legislation to identify and repeal gender discriminatory laws.

Eliminating these discriminatory laws and practices is not only a legal and moral imperative, but can also help unlock game-changing development gains.

A recent estimate by OECD put the annual output losses associated with current levels of gender discrimination at up to US$12 trillion, or 16 percent of global GDP.

Third and finally, the rule of law can help combat climate change and environmental degradation, by empowering people and communities to claim their rights and participate in climate decision-making.

Effective laws and institutions promote the trust and accountability needed to mobilise climate finance, and deal with issues of loss and damage equitably.

IDLO has welcomed the establishment of a loss and damage fund for those LDCs that have contributed the least to emissions, but are on the frontlines of climate change, as an important step towards climate justice.

IDLO will continue to contribute to the implementation of the Doha Programme of Action with an emphasis on fostering inclusive growth, accountable institutions, public-private partnerships, good governance, and the full participation of women and girls. We are committed to working with all partners to promote peace and sustainable development through the rule of law.