Aid sought for least developed countries

To get 46 least-developed countries back on track to achieve their Sustainable Development Goals in the next decade, genuine support must be free from political concessions, and have better mechanisms for tracking where funds are spent, experts say.

Moamen Gouda, associate professor of Middle East Economics at the Graduate School of International and Area Studies at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in the Republic of Korea, urged for a more transparent mechanism to counter corruption and the strengthening of institutions' rule of law and said one of the main concerns, from economic research, "happens to be about sovereignty" and warned of "economic colonization".

Gouda told China Daily that for developing countries, how and where help should work is a big question, as there have been historical problems such as conflicts, wars and poverties, which cannot be solved with simple debt relief solutions, adding that some countries are creating a "black hole" for aid.

Hussein Alsuhayli, chairman of the Tamdeen Youth Foundation in Sanaa, told China Daily that Yemen is still living in a state of no peace and war in light of the worsening humanitarian situation and economy.

The Fifth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries, or LDC5, concluded on March 9 in Doha, Qatar, with countries adopting concrete measures to implement the Doha Programme of Action — aimed at renewing and strengthening commitments between LDCs and their development partners, according to the UN.

The program, agreed first in 2022 after LDC5 was postponed due to the Omicron outbreaks, outlines a transformative agenda to tap into the potential of the LDCs. These include the development of a food stock-holding mechanism and an online university focusing on STEM education, especially for women and girls.

Sergey Vershinin, deputy minister for foreign affairs of the Russian Federation, had noted during the conference that least-developed countries are particularly vulnerable to the shocks of the economic crisis, ecological problems and the complications of post-COVID recovery.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had earlier proposed reforms to the international financial architecture, alongside an SDG Stimulus package of at least $500 billion a year to direct resources toward long-term sustainable development and just transitions, according to the UN.

Sujoko Efferin, a professor at the Faculty of Business and Economics at Universitas Surabaya in Indonesia, said: "The challenges can be solved quickly if they are supported without certain long-term political concessions that ruin their sovereignty. That's why the best support for them is under multilateral schemes involving countries that do not have colonial histories in their countries."