Remarks at a Second Committee Joint Discussion on Groups of Countries in Special Situations

Ambassador Thomas Armbruster
U.S. Senior Adviser for East Asia and Pacific Affairs
New York, New York
October 4, 2023


Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Colleagues, halfway to the 2030 deadline of the Sustainable Development Goals, the world’s most vulnerable are facing multiple interrelated global crises. The United States remains committed to our partners and friends in these areas – the least developed countries (LDC), landlocked developing countries (LLDC), and small island developing states (SIDS).

The Fifth International Conference on Least Developed Countries in the spring resulted in tangible commitments showcasing our collective dedication to leaving no one behind. Under the Biden-Harris Administration, the United States has spent about one quarter of our bilateral official development assistance (ODA) on least developed countries, at an annual average of $12.6 billion in 2021 and 2022. And we continue to support developing countries that have graduated from LDC status.

Looking forward, the 2024 Fourth International Conference on Small Island Developing States and the Third United Nations Conference on Landlocked Developing Countries will help us unite further behind LLDCs and SIDS to advance SDG progress.

We’ve spent over $5 billion in ODA to further SIDS’ priorities since 2015. But we all know that global shocks and crises – such as pandemics, climate change, conflicts, environmental disasters, and the global cost of living – have disproportional impact. Progress is not linear, so we have also supported the consideration of vulnerability, including a multidimensional vulnerability index, while noting the independence of bodies governing concessional finance.

The United States is working directly with the Pacific Islands Forum to help these nations adapt and manage the impacts of climate change, including through strengthening early warning systems. We plan to provide technical assistance to help design and stand up the Pacific Resilience Facility. We’re also working with the U.S. Congress to quadruple our climate financing to help all developing countries reach their climate goals and adapt to climate impacts.

Recognizing the role public-private partnerships play in growing a country’s economy, we are helping connect U.S. businesses with Pacific Island countries to build investment partnerships; foster innovation and technology, clean energy transformation, and entrepreneurship; and propel progress in critical sectors.

We are deeply committed to our relationships with our Landlocked Developing Country partners and friends. Since 2014, the United States has been supportive of the Vienna Programme of Action, providing over $50 billion in net ODA in support of LLDCs.

We’re working with African partners – many of which are landlocked – to unlock innovation and growth, including regional trade and investment support.

Infrastructure is critical for countries in special situations. That’s why the United States championed the launch of the G7’s Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment, or PGI. Under this initiative, we intend to mobilize $600 billion by 2027 to help low- and middle-income countries, including LDCs, LLDCs, and SIDS. One of the PGI’s flagship projects is “Infrastructure for Resilient Island States,” which offers expertise, knowledge, and capacity-building for SIDS as part of the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure.

This assistance alone will not be enough. Since last year, a broad and growing coalition of shareholders have been working to enact multilateral development bank evolution. Our administration is also working with Congress to unlock new lending capacity for the World Bank and IMF to provide more financing at better rates for investments in climate, public health, or other critical issues. We support partner countries’ efforts to improve domestic resource mobilization along with other bilateral and multilateral members of the Addis Tax Initiative.

Thanks to our strong push, together with our partners, the World Bank will soon enable countries to defer debt payments until after climate shocks and natural disasters, which will provide much-needed relief to countries in special situations.

Echoing many excellent interventions today, we are strongest when we face global challenges as a united front, sharing our wisdom, experiences, and strengths. Let’s all commit to using the Second Committee to support the most vulnerable.

Thank you.