Remarks at the Joint Thematic Event on Least Developed Countries

Courtney R. Nemroff
Acting U.S. Representative to the Economic and Social Council
New York, New York
June 18, 2021


Thank you, Mr. President of the General Assembly and Mr. President of the Economic and Social Council, for convening today’s Joint Thematic Event on LDCs.

It is clear that the pandemic-related economic downturn has acutely affected many of us, but none more so than low- and middle-income countries, of which many face heightened debt sustainability risks and liquidity shortfalls. We are in the midst of a global health crisis. This is a difficult time to consider investing in development projects, but investment is absolutely critical if we are to build back in a more resilient, inclusive, and green manner. And it is important we make the right investments, ones that adhere to internationally accepted standards for environmental and social risk mitigation and debt sustainability, build local capacity, prevent corruption, and improve local resilience against climate change and disasters.

As we all grapple with the short- and long-term impacts of COVID-19, the United States is committed to supporting our LDC partners and friends. We are backing up that commitment with financing, investing – on average – about $11 billion of U.S. bilateral Official Development Assistance annually in LDCs. And last week, President Biden and G7 leaders agreed to continue providing policy support to the global economy for as long as necessary to create a strong, balanced, and inclusive economic recovery. During the G7 Summit in Cornwall, President Biden and our G7 partners agreed to launch a bold new global infrastructure initiative called Build Back Better World or B3W, which is a values-driven, high-standard, and transparent infrastructure partnership led by major democracies to help narrow the more than $40 trillion infrastructure need in the developing world, which the pandemic exacerbated. The G7 and other partners will coordinate mobilization of private sector capital around the globe in four areas of focus – the climate crisis, health and health security, digital technology, and gender equity and equality – with catalytic investments from our respective development finance institutions.

We are also proud to be a part of the historic commitment of the G7 leaders and guest countries to provide more than 1 billion additional COVID-19 vaccine doses for the world since February. This follows President Biden’s June 10 announcement that the United States will purchase and donate half a billion doses of Pfizer vaccines to 100 countries, including 92 low- and lower middle-income economies in the COVAX Advance Market Commitment and eight additional African Union countries. This is the largest single donation of vaccines in history and comprises half of the G7 commitment. The G7 economies, including the United States, also made a commitment towards achieving a global minimum tax rate of at least 15 percent. It would end a race to the bottom in corporate taxation, and it would ensure fairness for the middle class and working people around the world.

The United States also announced new actions at the G7 to tackle the global climate crisis by helping countries most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change anticipate and manage the impacts of disasters and climate change. The United States also hears the call from LDCs for additional resources to support national adaptation planning and implementation. We recognize the unique value of the Least Developed Countries Fund in delivering support for adaptation planning and implementation. Recognizing that we must address the impacts of climate change for the world’s most vulnerable, the United States intends to double our climate finance commitments by 2024, and triple the amount dedicated to adaptation, including for multilateral adaptation financing.

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. As we face the pandemic and move forward together as a global community, the United States remains committed to partnership with the Least Developed Countries and all Member States to ensure those most vulnerable among us are not left behind.

Thank you.