Recovery from COVID-19: Tackling vulnerabilities and leveraging scarce resources

October 21, 2020 > October 23, 2020,

On the road to the Fifth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (UN LDC5). Two webinars organized by UN-OHRLLS, OECD and FERDI. OCT. 21 & 23, 2020. 3:00 PM (Paris time)

Day 1: What does COVID-19 mean for LDC’s vulnerabilities and support measures?

The COVID-19 crisis is wreaking havoc development progress. It also presents an opportunity for rethinking economic vulnerability of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), and developing countries more generally. Vulnerability, which is captured as one of the main criteria for the inclusion of countries into the LDC list, is of growing importance. It is measured by the economic and environmental vulnerability index (EVI) an index that captures the country’ structural vulnerability to economic and environmental shocks. However, in light of growing concerns on the exposure to international shocks and the compounding of several risks, it is necessary to rethink how to properly assess countries’ vulnerabilities and how to ensure that the international support system helps the LDC address them. 

The first panel aimed to highlight emerging risks and discuss how to address the vulnerabilities and build resilience of LDCs to inform the process leading to the Fifth UN Conference on the LDCs (LDC5), to be held in Doha, Qatar in January 2022. 

OCT. 21, 2020. 3:00 PM (Paris time)

Welcome and expected outcomes

  • Manuel ESCUDERO, Permanent Representative of Spain to the OECD (Chair of the 2020 OECD Ministerial Council Meeting), Chair of the Governing Board of the OECD Development Centre 

Keynote remarks

  • Fekitamoeloa Katoa ‘UTOIKAMANU, UN High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States

Setting the scene: Measuring and addressing vulnerabilities

  • Patrick GUILLAUMONT, President, FERDI 

Panel discussion:  What priorities for the LDC5 to tackle vulnerabilities?

  • Myriam DOSSOU-D'ALMEIDA, Minister of Grassroots Development, Youth and Youth Employment, Togo
  • Ambassador Perks LIGOYA, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Permanent Representative of the Republic of Malawi to the United Nations, Chair of LDC Group
  • Susanna MOOREHEAD, Chair, Development Assistance Committee
  • John LICHT, Ambassador of Vanuatu to the EU and France
  • Kunal SEN, Director, United Nations University – World Institute for Development Economics Research
  • Nabila MUSLEH, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Women Affairs, Afghanistan 
  • Moderator:  Mario PEZZINI, Director, OECD Development Centre and Special Advisor to the OECD Secretary General on Development 

Ali SABUNCU, Head of Economic and Social Development Research, Presidency of Strategy and Budget, Presidency of The Republic of Turkey

Q&A - Possible interventions from other partners 

Closing remarks

  • Patricia SCOTLAND, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth

Day 2: Financing the recovery in LDCs: what role for international co-operation?

The latest report of the UN Secretary-General on the implementation of the Istanbul Programme of Action (IPoA) presented growing concerns on LDCs development progress and support measure beyond graduation already before the COVID-19 pandemic reached them. It stated that foreign direct investment had declined further, the share of exports from the LDCs in world trade remained low, structural transformation and productive capacity gains had been slow, economies were still largely commodity-based and the growth in the rate of undernourishment in the LDCs remained a concern. Financing the recovery poses additional challenges to already existing ones in order to allow LDCs to overcome the vulnerabilities discussed in the first panel, and embark and remain on a strong and sustainable development path, including after their graduation. 

The second panel discussed what new approaches and tools could increase the mobilisation, impact and alignment of Financing for Sustainable Development in the LDCs.

OCT. 23, 2020. 3:00 PM (Paris time)

Opening remarks by partner institutions

  • Ángel GURRÍA, Secretary-General, Organisation for economic co-operation and development (OECD)
  • Louise MUSHIKIWABO, Secretary-General, Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (To be confirmed)


  • Jose Antonio OCAMPO, Chair of the UN Committee for Development Policy

Panel discussion: What priorities for the LDC5 to increase mobilisation, impact and alignment of Financing for Sustainable Development?

  • Isabelle DURANT, Deputy Secretary-General, UNCTAD (To be confirmed)
  • Marjeta JAGER, Deputy Director-General for International Cooperation and Development, European Commission (To be confirmed)
  • Sarah SSEWANYANA, Executive Director, Economic Policy Research Centre, Uganda, member of Southern Voice
  • Sileshi BEKELE, Minister of Water, irrigation & energy, Ethiopia
  • Khalifa bin Jassim AL-KUWARI, Director-General, Qatar Fund for Development
  • Ratnakar ADHIKARI, Executive Director, Enhanced Integrated Framework, World Trade Organization
  • Matt REED, CEO Aga Khan Foundation (AKF), UK & Global Director of Institutional Partnerships for the AKF
  • Moderator: Debapriya BHATTACHARYA, Chair of LDC IV Monitor, Chair of Southern Voice, Distinguished fellow at the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD)


Possible interventions from other partners

  • Closing remarks

OECD Development Centre / UN OHRLLS / FERDI


  • Centre for Policy Dialogue
  • Commonwealth Secretariat
  • Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF)
  • Overseas Development Institute (ODI)
  • Southern Voice
  • UNU Wider
  • Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF)