Remarks at a Second Committee Joint Meeting with the Economic and Social Council on Building Productive Capacities in Least Developed Countries (LDCS)

Nicholas Hill
Deputy U.S. Representative to ECOSOC
New York, New York
October 20, 2021

Remarks at a Second Committee Joint Meeting with the Economic and Social Council on Building Productive Capacities in Least Developed Countries (LDCS), Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCS) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) for a More Resilient Recovery and Sustainable Development in the Post-COVID-19 Era

I would like to thank the ECOSOC President and the Chair of the Second Committee for convening this important meeting today.

It is clear the pandemic-related economic downturn has acutely affected many of our countries; particularly low- and middle-income countries.

As we all grapple with the short- and long-term effects of COVID-19, the United States is committed to supporting our LDC, LLDC, and SIDS partners and friends. The ongoing LDC5 negotiation is an important opportunity to work together in this effort.

We are backing up our commitment with financing and investment. The United States provides $11 billion in bilateral Official Development Assistance (ODA) annually to less developed countries. This is roughly one-third of total U.S. ODA.

In addition, the SIDS face unique challenges with regards to the post-pandemic economic recovery. We are focusing additional support for SIDS through the “Small and Less Populous Island Economies Initiative,” an economic cooperation framework designed to strengthen U.S. collaboration with these countries. This Initiative demonstrates the U.S. government’s focus on enhancing cooperation to counter COVID-19 economic challenges, promote economic recovery, respond to climate change, and advance longer-term shared interests.

Through the Build Back Better World initiative, we will strengthen our collective efforts and work in partnership with local communities to construct sustainable and resilient infrastructure in developing countries around the world. This is for infrastructure that delivers basic public services related to climate, health and health security, digital technology, and gender equality.

Concerning climate change, President Biden announced at the General Assembly that the United States intends to double our public climate finance commitment announced in April, and double again the amount dedicated to adaptation.

Finally, we recognize that countries cannot begin to focus on economic recovery until we further control the spread of COVID-19. The United States is the largest contributor towards the global response to the pandemic. To date, the United States has provided $4 billion in contributions to Gavi in support of COVAX. The United States announced at the COVID-19 Summit on September 22 that we will purchase and donate an additional 500 million Pfizer vaccine doses

for distribution by COVAX, bringing our total to over one billion doses provided with no strings attached.

We call on others who have yet to do so to donate safe and effective vaccines – rather than selling them to COVAX – and to provide increased financial and technical assistance to increase vaccination rates everywhere.

As we face the pandemic and move forward together, the United States remains committed to partnership with all countries in special situations to ensure those most vulnerable among us are not left behind.

Thank you.