World’s poorest nations can set international agenda for sustainable development

News, 20 June 2013
The least developed countries (LDCs) can play a critical role in ensuring that the new global sustainability goals – which the international community aims to have in place by 2015 — are both fair and effective.

But, for this to happen, the LDCs will need to redefine themselves according to their strengths, act to improve governance, and promote greater solidarity both with each other and with more developed nations.

These are among the conclusions that an independent group of thinkers from the LDCs will share on in a new briefing paper and a series of meetings next week in New York City. The Independent Expert Group members work in research institutes, media, civil society organisations and government agencies in 11 of the LDCs.

The group, supported by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), aims to influence the UN’s efforts to define global sustainable development goals to take effect from 2015, when the Millennium Development Goals expire.

"The Least Developed Countries are in many ways the weakest but they also have strengths such as, their local knowledge and institutions, their culture and values and their resilience to uncertainty," says Dr Tom Bigg of IIED who coordinates the group's activities.

"The LDCs can be leaders in the post-2015 process by promoting new forms of international cooperation that enables greater solidarity and sharing of knowledge and responsibilities," he says. "They can act to redefine development assistance by working harder to use their national wealth to meet the priorities of the poor and they can do more to share their lessons and experiences of how to measure development and manage environmental resources."

Members of the Independent Expert Group will be in New York City on 24-26 June to provide input into a series of meetings about the post-2015 development agenda.

On 24 June, they will attend a meeting organised by IIED, the UN Foundation, LDC IV Monitor and the Southern Voices Network. On 25 June they will be at an open UN event at which UN Under-Secretary Gyan Acharya will speak. On 25-26 June they will take part in an event organised by the UN Foundation and the Overseas Development Institute.

Dr Essam Yassin Mohammed, a researcher with IIED and member of the Independent Expert Group adds: "The Independent Expert Group sees solidarity, rather than partnership, as being the key to effective international collaboration in the post-2015 framework as it implies shared interests and responsibilities rather than the outdated donor-recipient relationship."

The new paper by the Independent Expert Group is online here.

More information about the Independent Expert Group and its members.


Contacts for interviews

Dr Essam Yassin Mohammed (

Dr Tom Bigg (

Notes to editors

The International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) is an independent, non-profit research institute. Set up in 1971 and based in London, IIED provides expertise and leadership in researching and achieving sustainable development (see:

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