Cuba wishes to thank the convening of this preparatory session of the Fifth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries.
Cuba recognizes the particular vulnerabilities, needs and challenges faced by the Least Developed Countries, which affect their chances of achieving sustainable development. The full and effective implementation of the goals and priority action areas set out in the Istanbul Programme of Action remains crucial for the full achievement of the 2030 Agenda. We regret that there are still significant challenges and goals to be achieved in pursuit of sustainable development in these countries.
The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the challenges facing the least developed countries, exacerbating several pre-existing vulnerabilities. In 2020, the pandemic caused the economies of LDCs to experience a dramatic downturn in several decades, and what is worse; these consequences are very likely to last in the medium and long term. This has implied a significant setback in the economic and social progress made in recent years, including in poverty reduction efforts and other social outcomes. All of this makes achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in 2030 for this group of countries a more distant prospect.
We urge the international community and in particular the United Nations Development System, to support the efforts for the successful realization of the 5th United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries, in a coordinated, coherent and effective manner.
We must work to strengthen the means of implementation in support for the least developed countries, including financing, technology transfer, capacity building and partnership building.
We must promote a new, fair and equitable international economic order. Developed countries must honor their historic responsibilities and international commitments, including on Official Development Assistance, as well as more ambitious climate change mitigation targets.
Cuba upholds the universal right to development, based on mutual respect and recognition of common but differentiated responsibilities. On that basis and safeguarding the principle of solidarity and the close ties of brotherhood with developing peoples that Cuba has always defended, we reaffirm our strong commitment to South-South Cooperation as a complement that can contribute to the sustainable development of the least developed countries.
You can count on Cuba in these noble efforts.