London to host international dialogue event: "How will the Least Developed Countries innovate to lift themselves out of poverty?"

Press release, 9 June 2016
An international delegation from more than 15 of the world's Least Developed Countries will be in London on 13 June to explore how they can use the opportunities presented by the global agreement on Sustainable Development Goals to lift themselves out of poverty.

Traffic in Kathmandu, Nepal. Sixty per cent of air pollution in Kathmandu is caused by traffic: tackling pollution while growing their economies is a key challenge for Least Developed Countries (Photo: Rachel, Creative Commons, via Flickr)

The invitation-only one-day event, organised by the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) Independent Expert Group (IEG), the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and the ESRC's STEPS Centre, will explore how global efforts to achieve the 17 goals can catalyse ideas and plans to drive rapid transformation.

Delegates will also exchange ideas on how these countries can exploit different funding options to support their development.

With extreme poverty in these vulnerable countries set to worsen over the next 15 years, the LDCs face enormous development challenges.

Globally, LDCs are leading the way on many issues central to achieving sustainable development, such as disaster response, waste recycling and employment-generating green microenterprises. Many LDCs are also responding to the threat of climate change with ambitious low carbon strategies for economic transformation.

As many of the LDC countries are not tied to the polluting production systems and unsustainable consumption patterns of heavily industrialised countries, the LDCs have the opportunity to transition towards human and economic development that is fairer, greener and more sustainable.

Commenting ahead of the event, Dr Saleemul Huq, senior fellow at IIED and member of the IEG, said: "This meeting will gather development experts from the LDCs to challenge old ways of doing things and mobilise ideas for development models that are more inclusive and sustainable.

"The outcome of the meeting will be a set of solid proposals for the LDCs to take forward in-country as the SDG agenda gets under way."

According to Huq the 15-year period for implementing the goals gives the LDCs the opportunity to think about how they will shape their development.

"Government ministries typically work to very short timeframes. Finance and planning departments are often thinking about the immediate annual budget or are working to, at most, a five-year plan.

He added: "The SDGs give LDCs the space to envision where they want to be by 2030. Based on the overarching goal to end poverty, in 15 years from now these countries will not be LDCs. The goals provide a real opportunity for radical transformation."

The meeting will include sessions on inclusive urbanisation and sustainable energy transitions for low carbon futures, as well as a round table debate on the politics of the transformations at the heart of the SDG agenda.

Media enquiries

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Notes to editors

  • The event takes place at Goodenough College, Mecklenburgh Square, London WC1N 2AB. Media invites have been issued, however if you would like to attend, please contact Sue Broome – email: sue.broome@iied.org; tel: 07976 619839
  • In addition to being a senior fellow at IIED, Dr Huq is director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) in Bangladesh
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