Least Developed Countries Independent Expert Group
The Least Developed Countries Independent Expert Group is an informal group of individuals with a deep commitment to sustainable development and an understanding of the challenges to achieving it in the world's poorest countries.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) represent a new approach to international cooperation, grounded in principles of sustainability, equity and universal, shared responsibility. They provide an internationally agreed 15-year framework for defining and addressing the challenges of developing sustainably.
These challenges are greatest for Least Developed Countries (LDCs) – those with low levels of socio-economic development and high levels of vulnerability to natural and human-caused disasters and shocks.
The LDC Independent Expert Group (IEG) was created in 2013 to encourage LDCs to take a leading role in the negotiations on this new international development agenda.
LDCs have negotiated effectively to get their issues on the table. The IEG has supported their efforts by creating spaces in the SDG process for LDC perspectives to be showcased. [LINK TO IEG WORK PAGE]
The adoption of the SDGs by United Nations member states in September 2015 marks the end of one phase, but discussions on how to support achievement of the SDGs will continue.
Countries will begin to develop national strategies aligned to the SDGs. On the international front, a mid-term review of the Istanbul Programme of Action for Least Developed Countries will take place in 2016. Decisions taken at the 2015 Financing for Development and climate change conferences will start to take effect.
LDCs will need advice and support in developing their national responses to the SDGs, champions to promote their interests in international arenas, and experts with a critical eye to ensure that LDCs are getting what they need out of the new international agenda – and that their governments are contributing what they have promised.
The IEG is one of the few independent voices for LDCs that have the understanding to act both as advocates and expert advisors.
The group is keen to expand its work after 2015, through continued involvement in international processes affecting LDCs and advice and support to LDCs in their efforts to meet the commitments and challenges of the SDGs.
About the LDC Independent Expert Group
The IEG brings together experts from governments, civil society organisations, research institutes and international agencies, who serve in their personal capacities.
IIED provides administrative, logistical and financial support.
The members of the LDC IEG have expertise in different aspects of sustainable development, including community development, environmental management, climate change, energy, communications and the economics of development.
The group is chaired by former Haitian prime minister Michèle Duvivier Pierre-Louis. The other current members are:
- Fatima Denton (The Gambia)
- Mariteuw Chimère Diaw (Senegal)
- Dipak Gyawali (Nepal)
- Saleemul Huq (Bangladesh)
- Pa Ousman Jarju (The Gambia)
- Farah Kabir (Bangladesh)
- Rosebell Kagumire (Uganda)
- Essam Mohammed (Eritrea)
- James Murombedzi (Zimbabwe)
- Youba Sokona (Mali)
- Chime P. Wangdi (Bhutan)
Ms. Denton is a lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and was a member of UNEP's Scientific Technical Advisory Panel. She also currently works as the co-ordinator for the African Climate Policy Centre, and with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.
Ms. Denton previously joined the International Development Research Centre in 2006 to lead on research on adaptation strategies. Prior to this she worked as a senior energy planner with the United Nations Environment Programme in Denmark. She also worked with the energy program of Enda Tiers Monde in Senegal on issues such as sustainable development and climate change vulnerability and adaptation, as well as food security, local governance, water, and energy poverty in the Sahel.
Ms. Denton has written articles on energy poverty, gender and energy, and climate change adaptation. She holds a PhD in political science and development studies from Birmingham University in the UK.
Mariteuw Chimère Diaw
Dr. Diaw is the Director General of the African Model Forest Network and a member of the International Networking Committee of the International Model Forest Network. He is also the convener in Cameroon of the Forest Governance Learning Group, a network active in 11 countries.
Dr. Diaw has worked for 30 years as a researcher, 15 of which as an international scientist with the Center for International Forestry Research and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture. He has led or contributed to several international programmes on adaptive collaborative management, governance, environmental services and rural livelihoods, alternatives to slash and burn agriculture, decentralising environmental management and sustainable forest management.
Dr. Diaw holds a PhD in Economic Anthropology from Laval University, Canada, an MA in Rural Sociology from Michigan State University, America and a Masters in Philosophy and Sociology from the University of Dakar in Senegal. His research interests and publications cover themes such as African history, migrations, fisheries, tenure regimes and property rights, climate change mitigation and REDD, governance of biodiversity and multi-stakeholder landscapes, model forests, participatory action research and interactive social methodologies.
Dr. Gyawali is a hydroelectric power engineer and a political economist who, during his time as Minister of Water Resources in Nepal, initiated reforms in the electricity and irrigation sectors focused on decentralization and promotion of rural participation in governance. He also initiated the first national review and comparison of Nepali laws with the guidelines of the World Commission on Dams.
Dr. Gyawali is chair of the Nepal Water Conservation Foundation and has served as a member of the panel of experts for the Mekong River Commission reviewing its basin development plan. He is the founding chair of Nepal's first liberal arts college, the Nepal School of Social Sciences and Humanities. He has been conducting interdisciplinary research on the interface between technology and society, and has published numerous articles on the topic of water, energy, dams, and climate change issues.
Dr. Gyawali has been involved, inter alia, as guest scholar and researcher at various institutions such as Queen Elizabeth House in Oxford, the Norwegian Center for Research in Organization and Management, the International Environmental Academy in Geneva, the London School of Economics, and the United Nations University in Yokohama as UNESCO visiting professor of water and cultural diversity.
Dr. Huq is a Senior Fellow at IIED, focusing particularly on issues of climate change. Before joining IIED, he was director of the Bangladesh Center for Advanced Studies, which he founded in 1984. He is founding director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development at the Independent University, Bangladesh.
Dr. Huq is a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), for which he has served as a Lead Author and Coordinating Lead Author in Working Group II, which focuses on impacts, vulnerability and adaptation. He is the lead author of the chapter on Adaptation and Sustainable Development in the third assessment report of the IPCC. He has published reports and articles on climate change, particularly on adaptation to climate change.
Pa Ousman Jarju
Mr. Jarju is the Director of the Department of Water Resources. As Director, he is the chief technical adviser to the government on water resources issues in the Gambia. He is also the focal point of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change of the Gambia, and the lead negotiator of the Gambia.
As the chairman of the national climate change committee, he coordinates and monitors all climate change issues in the Gambia. He is also the Chairperson of the Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation. He was appointed as the Special Climate Change Envoy of the Gambia early this year.
Mr. Jarju has more than seven years of experience in climate change and environmental issues. He was a lead negotiator for the African Group in the Kyoto Protocol matters prior to serving as the Chair of the LDC group from 2011 to 2012, and also served as a member of the Least Developed Countries Expert Group (LEG) from 2008 to 2010.
Ms. Kabir is currently working as the Country Director of ActionAid Bangladesh and has held this post since 2007. Prior to this, she worked with the British Council for ten years both in the UK, on the Consultant Participative Democracy Governance Team, and in Bangladesh, as the Assistant Director of Governance.
Ms. Kabir is presently a board member of the Campaign for Popular Education, a member of Education Watch and a member of the Funding Committee of Civil Society Education Fund. She has also been a member of the Governance Board of Napier University (Scotland), the Board of Trustees for Zero Tolerance (Scotland), and the Beijing Plus Five National Review Committee with special responsibility for the Women in Politics sub-committee.
Ms. Kabir has been working in the field of development and research for the last 18 years. She studied at the Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies. She specializes in governance and women’s issues, particularly women in politics, and has published widely on the topic. She is a longstanding activist on women's rights, gender equality and child rights and has also been a newscaster on both national television and radio, and works with the Children's Film Society in Bangladesh.
Rosebell Kagumire is a Ugandan multimedia journalist working on peace and conflict issues in eastern Africa. Currently she is the Coordinator for Africans Act for Africa, a network of citizens and activists from across the continent that puts pressure on African governments to step up to various challenges.
Rosebell has worked as an editor and digital campaigner. She has experience in documenting and communicating women's war experiences in Uganda, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. She has worked with Isis-Women's International Cross Cultural Exchange (Isis-WICCE) as a communications assistant writing on women in conflict and post-conflict settings on the African continent.
Her blog won the Waxal - Blogging Africa Awards, the first African journalist blogging awards hosted by the Panos Institute of West Africa in 2009. She is an Internet Freedom Fellow with the US Department of State Human Rights Program designed to promote the work of online activists and journalists to enhance human rights coverage. The World Economic Forum also honoured Rosebell among 200 Young Global Leaders under 40 for 2013.
Dr. Mohammed is an environmental economics researcher with IIED. He was previously the Head of the Fisheries Promotion Unit at the Ministry of Fisheries of Eritrea. In addition to his academic and professional experience as a fisheries scientist, he is an expert in economic valuation of the environment. His research has included economic valuations of artisanal fisheries, influencing policy processes to promote fair and equitable benefit sharing from REDD+ as well as Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES), mainly at the sub-national level. Dr. Mohammed also works on the role of economic instruments in policy mixes for biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services provision; payments for coastal and marine ecosystem services; and economic instruments for sustainable fisheries management.
He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Pastoral and Environmental Network in the Horn of Africa and a Visiting Lecturer on "economic valuation of ecosystem services" at the School of GeoSciences, the University of Edinburgh.
Dr. Murombedzi has served as the Coordinator of the Responsive Forest Governance Initiative, an initiative focusing on environmental governance in Africa, since 2011. Prior to this, he was the Chief Technical Advisor (Environment and Energy) to the UN Development Programme in Liberia. He was previously the Regional Director for Southern Africa at the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and the Environment and Development Programme Officer for Southern Africa with the Ford Foundation. He was a Research Fellow and Lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe for nearly ten years.
Dr. Murombedzi holds a D.Phil in Applied Social Science from the University of Zimbabwe. His research interests include the political economy of environmental and rural development, decentralising land tenure and natural resources management, climate change, resource rights and livelihoods.
A citizen of Mali, Dr. Sokona focuses on the energy, environment and sustainable development nexus and he has broad experience in Africa in policy development. He is currently a co-chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Working Group III. In addition, he recently joined the South Centre as a Special Advisor on Sustainable Development. The South Centre is an intergovernmental organization of developing countries intended to meet the need for analysis of development problems and experience, as well as to provide intellectual and policy support.
Dr. Sokona has served as the Coordinator of the African Climate Policy Centre based in the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. He has also served as the Executive Secretary of the Sahara and Sahel Observatory. Prior to this, he worked for the "Environnement et Développement du Tiers Monde" in Dakar, Senegal and served as professor at Ecole Nationale d’Ingenieur of Bamako in Mali.
Throughout his career, Dr. Sokona has served in various advisory capacities to African governments. He has published several books and articles on the issues of energy, environment and development with a focus on Africa.
Chime P. Wangdi
Ms. Wangdi has been the Secretary General for the Tarayana Foundation in Bhutan since 2005. Prior to this she worked in the Ministry of Agriculture for 18 years in various capacities. Ms. Wangdi has also been a social worker focusing on the importance and challenges of increasing women's participation and encouraging women leaders in Bhutan.
Another expert, Hama Arba Diallo, the Fifth Vice-President of the National Assembly in Burkina Faso, sadly passed away in September 2014.
For information on the activities and publications of the IEG, click here.