The fifth UN programme for the LDCs will be adopted at an exceptionally critical time. The ambition behind the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda is severely jeopardised by the COVID-19 pandemic. From immeasurable human suffering to an unprecedented global social and economic crisis, the pandemic is derailing years of hard-won development gains and causing progress on poverty, hunger, and unemployment to slide backwards. Inequalities have deepened and widened, disproportionally impacting the most vulnerable groups and countries.
The COVID-19 virus quickly spread across the world. LDCs in sub-Saharan Africa, Caribbean and Asia-Pacific have seen the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths grow exponentially. This grim picture is likely even bleaker, given the largely insufficient testing capacity that may lead to underestimating the level of true infections in many LDCs.
The reality of the 46 LDCs is that, when they were struck by the virus, they were already lagging far behind on all SDGs.
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