logoDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (OHRLLS)

1. What decisions or new strategies has the governing body of your organization taken to guide the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs? Please provide a brief summary below, including the overarching vision of your governing body for the Decade of Action on the SDGs.

UN-OHRLLS supports and advocates for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS). These three groups represent, in total, 91 members states with a combined population of 1.25 billion people. They face several specific challenges and vulnerabilities, all of which are addressed in their respective programmes of action.

The Agenda 2030 makes reference to the three related programmes of action, namely the Istanbul Programme of Action for the LDCs, Vienna Programme of Action for the LLDCs and SAMOA Pathway for the SIDS. The high number of LDC, LLDC and SIDS-specific references in the 2030 Agenda also reflects the vast development challenges as well as commitments in favour of these countries. The most vulnerable countries therefore stand to lose the most if the implementation of the Agenda 2030 and their specific programmes of action does not meet the level of expectations raised in these global frameworks.

The Political Declaration and (annual) General Assembly Resolutions for the respective groups of countries, continue to make specific provisions that seek to guide the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs. In 2019, the Political Declarations of the midterm review of the implementation of the Vienna Programme of Action and the SAMOA Pathway were adopted.

In recognition of the complementarities between the 2030 Agenda and the programmes of action for LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS, the strategic framework of UN-OHRLLS 2020 specifies how its work of the 3 Subprogrammes is aligned with specific SDGs. All the work carried out by the office aims to contribute to the effective implementation of the 2030 Agenda and SDGs.

 

2. At the secretariat level, what steps has your organization taken (or will it take) in the follow-up to the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs? Please specify actions, including but not limited to the following areas:

2.1 SDG-specific strategies, plans or work programmes;

The office has prepared an action plan to strengthen the complementarities between its programmes of action and the 2030 Agenda. The action plan provides an analysis of the commonalities and complementarities between the programmes of actions and SDGs and set the parameters of how to enhance synergies between the programmes of action and the SDGs in UN-OHRLLS' work. Overall, the action plan offers a roadmap to enhance synergies between the 2030 Agenda and the programmes of action in every step of the office's planning, implementation, monitoring and reporting cycle. The Office has aligned its annual work plans with the SDGs.

2.2 Aligning the structure of the organization with the SDGs and the transformative features of the 2030 Agenda, including any challenges and lessons learned in doing so;

N/A

2.3 Readjusting or updating results-based budgeting and management, including performance indicators;

N/A

2.4 Action to enhance support to the principle of "leaving no one behind" and to integrated policy approaches;

The Office has advocated for continued prioritization of LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS by all their development partners, especially the donor community, including the UN system, in line with the mandate to leave no one behind, with a focus on SDG17. The office continues to strengthen its capacity to ensure it can effectively mainstream gender, disability, human rights-based approaches etc.in the planning, implementation, monitoring and reporting of its programmes.

2.5 Action to address the interlinkages across SDG goals and targets;

N/A

2.6 Others.

N/A

3. What normative, analytical, technical assistance or capacity building activities is your organization providing to support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs? Please provide a brief account of the activities you have organized or intend to undertake, including but not limited to the following areas:

3.1 Enhancing national implementation including by supporting the mainstreaming of the SDGs in development plans and policies or through national sustainable development plans/strategies;

N/A

3.2 Mainstreaming the SDGs in sectoral strategies, including specific SDG/target strategies;

N/A

3.3 Supporting the strengthening of national institutions for more integrated solutions;

N/A

3.4 Data and statistical capacity building;

N/A

3.5 Harnessing science, technology and innovation for the SDGs;

N/A

3.6 Multi-stakeholder partnerships;

The office has also strengthened partnerships with stakeholders, including the UN system, the World Bank, OECD, WTO, regional banks and organizations, academia, civil society and the private sector. The office's dialogue with the World Bank at all levels—both the governing body of the Bank and its secretariat—is a perfect illustration of the more institutionalized collaboration with all major stakeholders. Such institutionalized relations resulted into a tripartite collaboration between UN-OHRLLS, the World Bank and member states during the discussions on the recent replenishment of the largest multilateral concessional window—IDA 18. It is important to note that there is now very strong alignment of the priorities of IDA with the SDGs and the substantial increase of resource allocations to the most vulnerable countries.

UN-OHRLLS, together with UN-DESA, World Bank and Air Transport Action Group (ATAG), has joined ICAO to set up the Aviation Partnership for Sustainable Development (APSD) in 2017, with a view to advocate for sustainable aviation development in LDCs, SIDS and in particular LLDCs. A number of specific events have been organized under the APSD aimed at promoting experience sharing, encouraging dialogue, sensitizing high‑level government officials and raising awareness about the possible contributions of the aviation sector to sustainable development and promoting aviation as priority for sustainable investment.

The office will continue to strengthen support to SIDS, in leveraging partnerships, in particular with the private sector using the SIDS- Global Business Network and its website. The 2020-2021 SIDS-GBN work plan will focus on strengthening SIDS engagement with the private sector as it relates to SDG 14 and the objectives of the SAMOA Pathway to support SIDS member states in line with their national priorities, to tackle their challenges by identifying specific needs and potential areas for partnership building that that can introduce innovation, capacity building, transfer of appropriate technology and know-how to overcome challenges associated with ocean conservation and sustainable use of ocean and marine resources and build their resilience. Emphasis will be placed on building synergies across SDG 14 and other SDGs and the role of the private sector in supporting sustainable development in SIDS.

The Office has introduced and institutionalized the national focal points of SIDS and LDCs for the implementation of the SAMOA Pathway and the IPoA. The Office has continued to leverage these platforms to promote best practices and share successful experiences in mainstreaming the IPoA and the SAMOA Pathway into national development strategies, and draw upon lessons learned among the constituencies. The national focal points networks have provided a unique opportunity for the Office to augment South-South cooperation among LDCs and SIDS not only through peering learning, but also by bridging the demand for capacity building at the national level with tailored policy advisory services and advocacy at the global level.

Meanwhile, the Office has intensified collaboration with the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) to solidify multi-stakeholder partnership across the UN system and with Member States in preparations for the Fifth UN Conference on LDCs to be held in March in 2021. The Office has intensified engagement with the global South, such as Argentina, China, India, Qatar, Turkey to mobilize resources for capacity development of our constituencies and accelerate implementation of respective programmes of action of LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS, particularly in areas such as renewable energy, sustainable and resilient transport infrastructure, science and technology and innovation, climate change and resilience building.

3.7 Bolstering local action and supporting sub-national plans/strategies and implementation for the SDGs;

N/A

3.8 Leveraging interlinkages across SDG goals and targets;

N/A

3.9 Supporting policies and strategies to leave no one behind;

UN-OHRLLS prepared annual UN Secretary-General's reports on the implementation of the Istanbul Programme of Action for the LDCs, with inputs from the UN system entities, LDCs and development partners and other stakeholders. These reports assessed progress made by the LDCs towards the goals and targets of the IPoA and the SDGs. For example, the reports assess progress of the LDCs towards the following SDG targets: 7.1-By 2030, ensure universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services; 7.b- By 2030, expand infrastructure and upgrade technology for supplying modern and sustainable energy services for all, in particular LDCs; 8.1-Sustain per capita economic growth in accordance with national circumstances and, in particular, at least 7 percent gross domestic product growth per annum in the LDCs; 9.2-Promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and, by 2030, significantly raise industry’s share of employment and gross domestic product, in line with national circumstances, and double its share in LDCs; 9.a-Facilitate sustainable and resilient infrastructure development in developing countries through enhanced financial, technological and technical support to LDCs; 9.c-Significantly increase access to information and communications technology and strive to provide universal and affordable access to the Internet in LDCs by 2020; 10.b-Encourage official development assistance and financial flows, including foreign direct investment, to States where the need is greatest, in particular LDCs; 13.b-Promote mechanisms for raising capacity for effective climate change-related planning and management in LDCs; 17.11-Significantly increase the exports of developing countries, in particular with a view to doubling the least developed countries’ share of global exports by 2020; 17.18-By 2020, enhance capacity-building support to developing countries, including for LDCs, to increase significantly the availability of high-quality, timely and reliable data. The reports identified gaps and challenges in implementation and made recommendations to ensure that the LDCs are not left further behind.

In addition, OHRLLS in partnership with the EOSG and DESA has been working on enhancing access to finance for LDCs with a view to implement the Secretary-General’s Roadmap for Financing the 2030 Agenda, including improved access to ODA, blended and special financing instruments for LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS and improved access to finance for graduating LDCs, including through debt management strategies and instruments. The issue of access to finance also featured prominently in two workshops, jointly organized by the Inter-agency Task Force on LDCs graduation in Sao Tome and Principe and Solomon Islands in 2019.

Similarly, UN-OHRLLS has prepared annual UN Secretary-General's reports on the implementation of the Vienna Programme of Action for the LLDCs, assessing progress made by LLDCs towards the targets of the VPoA and the SDGs. The reports review progress made by LLDCs towards selected targets across all the SDGs, with the exception of SDG 16.

In addition, the office has used its convening power to lend voice to the concerns and needs of three groups at the global stage. UN- OHRLLS has promoted the interests of LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS in major global and regional conferences, which it has organized, participated in or contributed to.

Notably, UN-OHRLLS has coordinated the preparatory process for the high-level midterm review of the implementation of the Vienna Programme of Action. Implementation of the VPoA is integral to the 2030 Agenda and leaving no one behind. The midterm review, chaired by the President of the General Assembly in December 2019, brought together LLDCs, transit countries, development partners, as well as international organizations, private sector and civil society, with the aim to reinvigorate the commitment of the international community to addressing the needs of the LLDCs.

To facilitate regional consultations in the lead up to the midterm review, UN-OHRLLS together with UN regional commissions organized three regional review meetings, for the Euro-Asia region in February 2019, for Africa region in March 2019 and for Latin America region in June 2019. Other major meetings include for example UN-OHRLLS organizing in collaboration with the Government of Viet Nam organized a High-Level Meeting for the Euro-Asia Region on Improving Cooperation on Transit, Trade Facilitation and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in March 2017 and with Government of Kazakhstan a Ministerial Meeting of LLDCs on Trade and Transport: Achieving the SDGs in Landlocked Developing Countries through Connectivity and Trade Facilitation in May 2018.

3.10 Supporting the mobilization of adequate and well-directed financing;

N/A

3.11 Reducing disaster risk and building resilience;

N/A

3.12 Supporting international cooperation and enhancing the global partnership;

The office has also extended enhanced and structured support to LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS with regard to their participation and voice in global processes pertaining to the 2030 Agenda. OHLLS has provided on-demand and evidence-based backstopping support to the three groups during global inter-governmental negotiations on the 2030 Agenda. In particular, the office has organized and substantively serviced ambassadorial and expert-level meetings of the three groups.

As part of the efforts to accelerate the implementation of the IPoA, VPoA and SAMOA Pathway, within the Context of the 2030 Agenda, UN-OHRLLS actively contributes to the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development. In her role as a Broadband Commissioner, Under-Secretary-General, Ms. ‘Utoikamanu is leading efforts to generate knowledge and build a coalition with top CEO and industry leaders, senior policy-makers and government representatives, international agencies, and, academia on inter alia: specific challenges; best practices and opportunities related to investing in broadband infrastructure; enhancing access to broadband; ensuring relevant content and applications; and, enhancing sectoral use and life-changing impacts in LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS.

UN-OHRLLS is providing substantive support to LDCs in their participation in the review and follow-up of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda including HLPF processes and the ECOSOC FFD Forum. The Office produces analytical reports, background documents and issue papers that provide the Group of LDCs with necessary backstopping to actively participate in the inter-governmental deliberations in the context of the follow-up of the 2030 Agenda in various forums.

UN-OHRLLS supports the work of the Group of Friends of LDCs, an informal Group of 29 Permanent Representatives of key development partner countries from the North and the emerging global South, which deliberates on issues of importance for LDCs. The Group tries to find some tangible solutions to issues related to the 2030 Agenda and to build global consensus on them. The Group of Friends is proven to be very effective in forging stronger global partnerships in favour of LDCs.

UN-OHRLLS is supporting the LLDC Group in finding practical solutions to facilitate the implementation of the VPoA and the 2030 Agenda in LLDCs and building synergies between international organizations to avoid duplication. At the request of the Chair of the LLDC Group, UN-OHRLLS is developing a Roadmap, as a visionary document, on what practical steps could be taken to facilitate implementation of the VPoA and the Decade of Action.

UN-OHRLLS will continue to broaden partnerships to enhance SIDS access to concessional finance. UN-OHRLLS will work across the international financial institutions to sensitize them to the needs and priorities of SIDS, including as it relates to going beyond the income criteria to assess eligibility for concessional finance.

For example, UN-OHRLLS will work in the context of the Small States Forum of the World Bank Group to facilitate the enhancement of policy instruments, including on debt sustainability and financial resilience.

UN-OHRLLS will also work with the Commonwealth Secretariat on strengthening advocacy for Small States as it relates to enhancing access to concessional financing across the international financial institutions. Together with UN-DESA, UN-OHRLLS will also partner with DFID on a SIDS Financing Conference aimed at:

(i) improving access to concessional finance, transition mechanisms and support during the graduation and transition process, and

(ii) developing private finance and innovative financial instruments, such as blue and green bonds.

Within the context of the SIDS NFP network and GBN activities, UN-OHRLLS together with Resident Coordinators, regional commissions, private sector and other key national, regional and global stakeholders/partners, will work to address capacity constraints and enhance SIDS ability to mobilise, manage, and spend financial resources from a range of sources and instruments.

3.13 Others.

UN-OHRLLS is planning to provide training session(s) for LLDCs and transit countries on policies to promote transport connectivity for the achievement of the SDGs and development of resilient transport infrastructure and bankable projects. This is part of a joint project with the UN regional commissions and UN-DESA, and funded by the Government of China under the 2030 Agenda Sub-Fund of the UN Peace and Development Fund, on Strengthening the capacity of LLDCs under the Belt and Road Initiative to design and implement policies that promote transport connectivity for the achievement of the SDGs.

4. The high-level political forum (HLPF) is the central platform for the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs. Has your organization participated in or supported the work of the HLPF? If yes, please specify your involvement in the following areas:

4.1 Supporting the intergovernmental body of your organization in contributing to the thematic review of the HLPF;

N/A

4.2 Contributing to policy/background briefs for the HLPF;

The office contributed to policy briefs that the UN-system prepares for the HLPF, for example:

• Policy Brief #23: Achieving SDG 7 in LDCs, LLDCs AND SIDS (for HLPF 2018)

• 2019 Policy Brief: Achieving SDG 7 in Landlocked Developing Countries (UN-OHRLLS in collaboration with UNIDO 2019) http://unohrlls.org/custom-content/uploads/2019/07/Policy-Brief-LLDC.pdf

• 2019 Policy Brief: Achieving SDG7 in Small Island Developing States - Midterm Review of the SAMOA Pathway (2019) http://unohrlls.org/custom-content/uploads/2019/08/pb13_SIDS.pdf

4.3 Helping organize SDG-specific events in the preparatory process;

N/A

4.4 Organizing side events or speaking at the HLPF;

UN-OHRLLS, in collaboration with other stakeholders, organized various side events at the HLPF since its inception. For 2018 and 2019 these include:

• UN-OHRLLS co-organized a side event at HLPF 2019 on “The 2030 Agenda at a crossroads - How do we ensure an integrated approach in tackling climate-related security risks, conflict and inequality?” which focussed on understanding the interlinkages of climate action (SDG13), inequalities (SDG10) and peace (SDG16), which plays and important role in supporting the implementation of the 2030 Agenda in highly vulnerable countries such as the LDCs.

• During the 2019 HLPF, the Office organised a side event “Achieving SDG 7 in Small Island Developing States” to mark the launch of the policy brief on SIDS and pave the way for the Mid-term Review of the SAMOA Pathway. It took stock of recent developments with respect to energy transition and renewable energy uptake in SIDS. The side event also explored the energy climate nexus and the key elements in making progress in the area of sustainable energy.

• UN-OHRLLS also organized during the 2019 HLPF a side event on “Partnerships for Accelerated Sustainable Energy Development and Enhanced Resilience Building to climate change in LLDCs” which focused on how to foster multi-stakeholder partnerships to promote implementation of SDG 7 and SDG13.

• During the 2018 HLPF, the Office organized, together with Governments of Austria and Paraguay, UNIDO and SE4All, a side event on “Accelerating the energy transition in LLDCs” which looked at how to effectively utilize the multi-stakeholder environment to accelerate the energy transition in LLDCs to meet SDG7.

• UN-OHRLLS also organized during the 2018 HLPF a side event on “Reaching global markets: Connecting LLDCs’ cities through sustainable aviation”. This event was organized by the Aviation Partnership for Sustainable Development (consisting of UN-OHRLLS, ICAO, UN-DESA, World Bank, ATAG), focused on the contribution of air transport systems in connecting LLDCs to global networks and supporting socio-economic development.

• During 2018 HLPF, the Office also organised an exhibition called “Voices of a Brighter Future”. The exhibition showcased the winning stories of a journalist competition the Office held for young journalist from LDCs. The topic of the exhibition was sustainable energy and the life changing benefits access to modern energy has brought to people and communities living in LDCs.

• UN-OHRLLS in collaboration with the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development launched a report on “Broadband for national development in four LDCs: Cambodia, Rwanda, Senegal and Vanuatu” during an HLPF side event in 2018. The discussions focussed on how the spread of information and communication technology (ICT) and global interconnectedness has great potential to bridge the digital divide, develop knowledge societies and ultimately, enhance wellbeing. SDG9.c specifically calls for ‘increasing access to ICT and providing universal and affordable access to the internet in LDCs’.

• UN-OHRLLS participated and spoke at the 2018 HLPF Side event on tracking SDG7. The side event explored where policy makers should target efforts for greatest progress towards the 2030 goals for SDG7, including energy access, renewables and energy efficiency as well as the importance of quality data and survey evidence.

In addition, UN-OHRLLS leadership speaks in the sessions dedicated to LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS of the HLPF.

4.5 Supporting the VNR process.

UN-OHRLLS partnered with DESA on a side event on Achieving policy integration - focus on countries in special need. The office also encourages LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS to volunteer for the Voluntary National Reviews.

During the midterm review of the Vienna Programme of Action in December 2019, the Office organized together with UN-DESA a side event on “Monitoring Implementation of the VPoA and the 2030 Agenda in LLDCs through Voluntary National Reviews” which stimulated peer learning and allowed countries to share their experience with conducting a VNR. It also focused on how the VNR process can help LLDCs integrate the 2030 Agenda and VPoA in their institutions, policies, and national development plans.

In the context of the meetings of the SIDS National Focal Points, UN-OHRLLS provides a platform for peer learning and sharing of best practices in relation to the conducting of VNRs. Special focus is placed on how to ensure that the SAMOA Pathway and SDGs are implemented in an integrated and coherent manner.

5. How has your organization cooperated with other UN system organizations to achieve coherence and synergies in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs? In this regard, has your organization launched or intend to launch any joint programmes or projects in collaboration with other UN entities? Are there any results or lessons you would like to highlight that might help improve the design and impact of such efforts? Has your organization participated in any of the following coordination systemwide mechanisms or any other relevant platform - CEB, UNSDG, EC-ESA Plus, regional coordination meetings, UN-Energy, UN-Water, UN-Ocean, IAEG, IATT? Please specify which and indicate any suggestions you may have about improving collaborations within and across these mechanisms/platforms.

UN-OHRLLS has promoted a coordinated and integrated UN support to implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the programmes of action of 3 groups of countries, including through the three distinct Inter-Agency Consultative Groups for LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS, which the office is a convener of or a co-convener of. These consultative groups provide platforms for cooperation and coordination among the United Nations system and other international organizations in support of the implementation of both the 2030 Agenda and the respective programmes of action. These groups have also been used to mount UN-system responses to address specific issues related to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, including on the Technology Bank, the full operationalization of which is one the targets the SDGs (Target 17. 8). The office is also member of UNDG, EC-ESA Plus, UN-Energy, UN-Ocean and IATT, where inputs are regularly provided.

Specifically, the Office provided inputs to UN-Oceans, especially on implementation of the targets of SDG 14 as well as on other ocean related issues relevant to LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS. This includes progress made in the implementation of SDG 14 challenges, as well as requirements for capacity building, science and technology, enhanced access to the oceans, institutional support and finance.

UN-OHRLLS is a member of UN-Energy and provides inputs and participates actively as accelerated energy transition and access to clean energy in LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS can provide a strong entry point for economic, social and environmental development. As a result, the preliminary list of UN-Energy's HITI initiative countries was prepared with an emphasis on energy access and LDCs as countries left behind.

6. How has your organization engaged with stakeholder groups, both in supporting implementation at the country, regional and global levels, and within your own organization? If yes, please provide main highlights, including any lessons learned. If your organization has established any multi-stakeholder partnerships to support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs, please describe them and how their performances are being monitored and reviewed.

As a UN entity with no field-presence, UN-OHRLLS has relied on three channels to support the implementation at the country level. The first channel is the network of national focal points, particularly for LDCs, which the office is supporting. These networks facilitate information and experience sharing, the monitoring of the implementation the programmes of actions and the 2030 Agenda and increased participation of the representatives from the most vulnerable countries to HLFP.

With the adoption of the 2030 Agenda, a significant aspect of the work of national focal points relates to support the localization of the SDGs.

The second channel is through UNCT. UN-OHRLLS has been working with UNDP to help countries harmonize reporting on globally agreed goals, in the respective programmes of action for vulnerable countries, which have significant synergies with SDGs, so as to ease the transaction cost of complying to multiple reporting processes.

As a third channel, the office in collaboration with DCO has also established networks of Resident Coordinators for LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS, dedicated to bringing coherence to UN’s support to LDC, LLDCs and SIDS at global, regional and country level and help the UN work in a more collaborative and integrated manner.

At the regional level, the office has been working with regional commissions in the context of regular regional reviews of the implementation of the programmes of actions. UN-OHRLLS has seized this opportunity to reflect the synergies between the implementation of these programmes of actions and that of the 2030 Agenda.

At the global level, UN-OHRLLS has supported the effective participation of the three groups of countries in intergovernmental processes related to the follow-up and review of the 2030 agenda, including to the high-level political forum, through the articulation of their needs, concerns and interests, and through making the case that these three groups of countries deserve special consideration and treatment in order to overcome their vulnerabilities.

It is also worth noting that the office is entrusted, in the context of the SAMOA Pathway, with the mandate of enhancing the coherence of the issues of SIDS in the United Nations processes, including at the national, regional and global levels. In this regard, the Office has also established and continues to support the SIDS national focal points network.

7. Has your organization organized any conferences, forums or events designed to facilitate exchange of experience, peer and mutual learning in connection with the SDGs? If yes, please provide a brief summary, below and include lessons learned and gaps identified based on the outcomes of these events. Please also include any events you want to organize in the coming years.

UN-OHRLLS organized regional or global meetings on key accelerators of sustainable development, including sustainable energy, productivity capacity, agriculture and structural transformation, structural transformation and graduation, public private partnerships, transit and transport, and broadband connectivity, to name a few. These meetings were attended by national focal points and experts from concerned sectoral ministries as well representatives from other international and regional organizations, the private sector, civil society,academia.

For example, UN-OHRLLS has organized the following meetings:

• The office co-organised a Global Conference on Scaling-up Energy Access and Finance in Least Developed Countries. The Global Conference built on 2 regional meetings held in 2016 and 2017 and provided a unique opportunity for LDCs to share experiences and best practices with delegates from countries facing similar development challenges. The substantive sessions offered a forum for discussions and led to practical, workable solutions on financing sustainable energy in LDCs. The priority actions highlighted at the Global Conference were used as an input to prepare a Coalition for Sustainable Energy Access in LDCs, which was launched at the UN Climate Action Summit in 2019. The Coalition aims to benefit rural, remote and vulnerable areas in developing countries that would have high impact on universal energy access rate via off-grid from solar home systems, mini-grid, on grid expansion, intensification and densification with cooking energy and productive use, with the ambition of "leaving no one behind“, through mobilising competitive energy financing.

• An Expert Group Meeting on Promoting science, technology, innovation and policies for achieving structural economic transformation and sustainable development in LLDCs in April 2019. The meeting provided platform for representatives of LLDCs, UN system, international organizations and academia to share ideas, lessons learned and best practices on how to utilize STI. Concrete recommendations were highlighted in areas of R&D, ICT development and digitalization, human capacity building, regulatory environment and international support.

• Ministerial Meeting on Transport and Trade for LLDCs with the theme: Importance of transport connectivity and trade facilitation for the achievement of the SDGs in May 2018. The participants shared experiences and lessons learned in improving the connectivity of the LLDCs and harnessing their trade potential to accelerate the implementation of the Vienna Programme of Action and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Some other events included for example meetings on “SDGs and Climate change: Challenges and Opportunities for LLDCs”, “Unlocking the potential of the Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) to accelerate structural economic transformation in the LLDCs and the achievement of the SDGs”, “Driving trade competitiveness, economic diversification and inclusion of LLDCs in Global trade through trade facilitation”, and “Women in marine deep sea scientific research to achieve the Goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by the vulnerable countries”.

The office will continue to hold similar events, focusing on other critical areas related to the SDGs. Following the decision by the General Assembly in resolutions 73/242 and 74/232, UN-OHRLLS has started preparing for the Fifth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries to be held in Qatar in 2021. A broad based and inclusive preparatory process is foreseen to ensure that solid and forward looking inputs and analysis emerging from national, regional and global reviews, are provided to facilitate the identification by member states, at the Fifth Conference, of concrete, targeted and effective actions and policies that will significantly impact the extent to which the LDCs can overcome structural challenges, effectively compete in regional and global markets and accelerate progress towards the achievement of SDGs by 2030.

The National Focal Points meetings for LDCs and SIDS provide dedicated fora to facilitate exchange of experience, peer and mutual learning in connection with the SDGs and programmes of action. UN-OHRLLS will continue to organize more targeted annual meetings, which will continue to provide an opportunity for NFPs to share experiences and best practices on mainstreaming the SAMOA Pathway and SDGs into national development processes as well their implementation and follow up, network, and better understand existing means of implementation, including viable financing and business models in response to the gaps and challenges, and call for action and to ensure coherence at the local, regional and global levels.

8. Is there any other information you would like to share, including annual reports of your organization and any impact assessment or evaluation reports? If yes, please use the space below and attach the document(s). Please also use this space to provide any other information, comments or remarks you deem necessary.

UN-OHRLLS has prepared the following reports related to SDG implementation:

• State of Least Developed Countries 2016: Coherence and synergies between the IPoA and the 2030 Agenda, see: http://unohrlls.org/custom-content/uploads/2016/08/State-of-LDCs2016.pdf • State of Least Developed Countries 2017: Financing the SDGs and IPoA for LDCs, see: http://unohrlls.org/custom- content/uploads/2017/09/Flagship_Report_FINAL_V2.pdf

• State of Least Developed Countries 2018: Reducing vulnerabilities and strengthening resilience in LDCs, see: http://unohrlls.org/state-of-ldcs-2018/ • Economic impact of broadband in LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS (with ITU), see: http://unohrlls.org/custom- content/uploads/2019/09/Economic-impact-of-broadband-in-LDCs-LLDCs-and-SIDS.pdf • Promoting Investment for Energy Access in Least Developed Countries, see: http://unohrlls.org/custom- content/uploads/2017/10/Promo-Energy_10_10_2017_FINAL_LowResF.pdf

• Encouraging Sustainable Foreign Investment to the LDCs: Options for Support (Occasional Policy Paper Series on the LDCs, No 3), see: http://unohrlls.org/custom-content/uploads/2018/11/Occasional-paper-No-3.pdf

• Review of Progress made in structural economic transformation in Euro-Asian landlocked developing countries (LLDCs), see http://unohrlls.org/custom-content/uploads/2020/02/Review-of-Progress-made-in-structural-economic-transformation-final-24-Oct.pdf

• Improving transport connectivity, international trade and trade facilitation for LLDCs in Euro-Asia region, see http://unohrlls.org/custom-content/uploads/2020/02/VPoA_MidtermReview_FinalReport_TransportConnectivity-24-Oct.pdf

• Improving Transport Connectivity for LLDCs and the Status of Implementation of the Vienna Programme of Action in the Africa Region, see http://unohrlls.org/custom-content/uploads/2020/02/Background-Report-VPOA-Africa-Region-20-April-2019.pdf

• Mid term Review of the implementation of the Vienna Programme of Action for the LLDCs for the Decade 2014-2024 in Latin America and the Caribbean, see http://unohrlls.org/custom-content/uploads/2020/02/Background-Report-VPOA-LatinA-Region-20-April- 2019.pdf • Achieving Sustainable Transport in Landlocked Developing Countries, see http://unohrlls.org/custom- content/uploads/2017/06/Transport-in-LLDC-Report-FINAL_June-22_2017_High.pdf • Climate and post-shock concessional finance in SIDS. http://unohrlls.org/custom-content/uploads/2018/11/SIDS_Report_Climate- and-Post-Shock-Concessional-Finance.pdf

• SMALL ISLAND DEVELOPING STATES IN NUMBERS UPDATED CLIMATE CHANGE. Ehttps://unohrlls.org/custom- content/uploads/2017/09/SIDS-In-Numbers_Updated-Climate-Change-Edition-2017.pdf

9. In your view, what should strategic directions look like for the UN system in support of the 2030 Agenda and SDGs in the Decade of Action? What key elements should they include and what major challenges should they address?

A strategic plan for the UN system in support of the 2030 Agenda and SDGs should define principles and steps through which the system will support awareness raising, implementation, monitoring, follow up and review of these global agendas. It should also underline how the UN system will realign its policy advice and technical and operational activities in support of the achievement by countries of aspirations set in the 2030 Agenda.

Key elements of UN support for LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS in the Decade of Action should include the following:

• a concerted effort to ensure access to tailored financial support;

• restructuring economies with stronger focus on green economies,

• identifying new sources of growth for countries left behind,

• enhancing social protection floors, with stronger interlinkages between health, education and social justice.

10. Please suggest one or two endeavours or initiatives that the UN system organizations could undertake together to support the implementation of the SDGs between now and 2030.

Staying true to the principle of "leaving no one behind" requires that the most vulnerable countries—which are the farthest behind and have the least capacities to implement the SDGs—be given due attention. The UN analytical, technical and operational activities should prioritize these countries.

Mutual accountability and effective implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs rest on effective, inclusive and credible monitoring, follow-up and review mechanisms at all levels. UN system organizations should support putting these mechanisms in place and ensure that they operate effectively.

Thus, key reports by UN system organizations on the implementation of the various SDGs should monitor the progress made and explicitly analyze the specific challenges, LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS are facing with respect to making sufficient progress and make concrete recommendations on what additional support they will need.

The UN system could work together to enhance the capacity of the LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS in critical areas where they are lagging behind and where there are gaps. This could include for example more coordinated technical assistance support from the UN system to LLDCs towards building capacity for mobilizing resources for necessary transport infrastructure development, given that transport is a cross-cutting driver of many SDGs.

In addition, the UN system could focus on energy access in LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS and showcase how countries can be lifted from energy poverty with coordinated and increased support from the UN-system.

Year of submission: 2020