Greetings from Doha! by Sibi Nyaoga (A23)

by heatherbarry
Mar 14

It has been a whirlwind of a week for us. Despite being sleep-deprived and jet-lagged, we were buzzing with excitement. The UN LDC 5 Conference is being hosted at Qatar National Convention Center – a huge space serving as a boma (meeting place) for policy leaders, presidents, and NGOs. It’s crazy to think about all the logistics that went into making sure this truly monumental conference goes according to plan. A personal highlight for me was getting the opportunity to see three African presidents on my first day here!

My favourite panel so far was hosted by Gita Sen in the Civil Society Track of the conference. In it, we heard from six leaders on how to solve ‘Multiple Crises and Challenges in LDCs.’ I learned about the Minus Two problem. For every $1 an LDC makes, it loses $3 due to the extractivist modes of development employed by corporations and banks. We had the chance to learn from Cristina Duarte – the current Special Adviser on Africa to the UN Secretary‑General – on the paradoxes of African development. Emilia Reyes – a civil society organiser from Mexico – also spoke on how the current economic system relies on three key forms of unsustainable subsidies:

-       Poor countries in the Global South subsidising the North with raw materials

-       Non-monetised domestic care, specifically by women, subsidising industry

-       The indigenous community upholding biodiversity and supporting environmental care.

These speakers blew my mind! I loved hearing every single word they had to say. Further, it allowed me to frame my understanding of concepts which I had already covered extensively in the classroom.

In the afternoon, we had the opportunity to attend the general debate. This is where we got to hear from delegates specifically stating their position on the new Doha Program of Action – this will be the guiding light for LDC development and graduation for the next ten years. Although a great deal of this was already fleshed out over the past year, we got to hear incisive perspectives from LDC leaders and high-level UN policymakers. Most importantly: all countries are hoping to graduate from LDC status as soon as possible. Some hope to graduate as soon as next year. Other countries, such as Singapore and Latvia, hope to support these efforts to ensure ‘no country is left behind.’ It felt like all my years attending Model UN conferences in high school prepared me for this very moment!

Finally, after a busy day of conference, the Tufts delegation hopped in a taxi and headed to the National Museum of Qatar. The building was striking, and the exhibits took us all the way back to the prehistoric history of the Qatari peninsula. Thank you to all the members of the Tufts delegation for being amazing conference buddies! Thank you to Tisch and IGL for this once in a lifetime opportunity and thank you to Sage and Grace for organizing it!