Remarks at the Intergovernmental Preparatory Committee for the Fifth United Nations Conference on Least Developed Countries

Ambassador Richard Mills
U.S. Deputy Representative to the United Nations
New York, New York
May 24, 2021


Thank you, Co-Chairs Rae and Fatima for convening us here today. And thanks to the Under-Secretary-General and her team for the excellent preparation of this conference, despite some very challenging circumstances.

The United States attaches great importance to our relationships with – and the needs of – our LDC partners and friends. As we all grapple with the short- and long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States is committed to supporting our LDC partners as they confront the compounding impact of the climate crisis, the critical need to rebuild health systems, and the growing threat of food insecurity. And we are backing up that commitment with financing, investing on average about $11 billion of U.S. bilateral Official Development Assistance annually to the LDCs.

The United States is dedicated to strengthening global health security to respond to and recover from the pandemic, and to ensure that we are all better prepared for future pandemics. In March, the United States contributed an initial $2 billion to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to support the procurement and delivery of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines to 92 low- and middle-income economies through COVAX. We will provide an additional $2 billion through 2022. This funding is intended to advance the distribution of vaccines in lower-income countries, including LDCs, while also encouraging other donors to follow through on their pledges and increase support for COVAX.

The impacts of climate change are undeniable, and we recognize that LDCs are especially vulnerable. After fulfilling his promise to bring America back into the Paris Agreement, President Biden convened 40 world leaders in a virtual Leaders Summit on Climate in April to rally the world in tackling the climate crisis and meeting the demands of science. The United States and other countries announced ambitious new climate targets, ensuring that nations accounting for half of the world’s economy have now committed to the emission reductions needed globally to keep the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees centigrade within our reach. Many of the leaders underscored the urgency of other major economies strengthening their ambition, as well, on the road to the UN Climate Change Conference, COP26, in November in Glasgow.

We are working with G7 and other partners to promote greater global ambition in developing a pathway to net zero global emissions by 2050, or before, and to help vulnerable countries increase their resilience and adapt to what is the devastating impacts of climate change. Our new climate finance plan outlines the U.S. intention to double climate assistance for developing countries, and triple the amount devoted to adaptation to the impact of climate change.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also revealed the fragility of food systems, and has exacerbated global food insecurity and humanitarian need. The United States provides emergency assistance and long-term development support to vulnerable communities and countries facing COVID-19-related disruptions to their access to safe and nutritious food. But we all need to do more to take bold and innovative actions now as millions more could go hungry due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, conflict, and other challenges. This year’s Food Systems Summit and next year’s LDC5 must galvanize action from the household to the global level to promote long-term food security.

The United States continues to be a leader in partnering with LDCs in a transparent and sustainable manner. We encourage others who financially support global development to do the same as they partner with LDCs to address development challenges. As we face the pandemic and move forward as a global community, the United States remains committed to partnership and working to ensure those most vulnerable among us are not left behind.

Thank you.