World’s poorest nations need predictable additional aid, says UN envoy

World’s poorest nations need predictable additional aid, says UN envoy

Anwarul Chowdhury
Despite increased official development aid (ODA) and wider debt cancellation, the world’s 50 poorest nations are unlikely to reach poverty-reduction targets, the United Nations envoy for Least Developed Countries (LDCs) warned today.

“The quest for adequate and predictable external resources for their economic and social

development continues for the LDCs [and] despite considerable progress in mobilizing domestic resources, this vulnerable group of countries needs special support,” Anwarul K. Chowdhury, the High Representative for LDCs, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, told the General Assembly’s Economic and Financial Committee.

The LDCs received less than 5 per cent of all Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) that flowed to developing countries in 2005, Mr. Chowdhury added. While noting the positive impact of increased migrant remittances, the envoy said these individual cash transfers were no “substitute for increased aid and FDI”.

Of the globe’s 50 LDCs, 34 are in Africa, the remainder scattered across Asia, the Pacific and the Caribbean.

The High Representative called on wealthy nations to fulfill ODA commitments outlined in the 2001 Brussels Programme of Action which asked donors to expeditiously raise their aid targets to between 0.15 per cent and 0.20 per cent of their gross national income.

Mr. Chowdhury also reiterated an earlier appeal for oil-producing nations to earmark 10

cents per barrel from their rising petroleum incomes to help fund infrastructure in the LDCs for the coming decade.

While traditional aid mechanisms are still critical, Mr. Chowdhury stressed the importance of ‘innovative sources’ of financing, such as the recently imposed French tax on airline tickets to raise additional funds for developing nations.