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The Least Developed Countries (LDCs) are low-income countries that face severe structural impediments to sustainable development. These countries are highly vulnerable to economic and environmental shocks and have low levels of human assets. To help the LDCs address these specific challenges, the United Nations has convened, since 1981, a dedicated conference every ten years. The UN General Assembly decided to hold the Fifth LDC Conference (LDC-V) in 2021.
As an input to LDC-V, the United Nations Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS) is organizing an academic Conference in collaboration with the United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER) and the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), with generous support from the Government of Finland. The academic Conference will take place on 15-16 October 2020 in Helsinki, Finland.
The Helsinki conference will bring together the academic community, policy-makers and practitioners to solicit new thinking on the challenges and policy recommendations for LDCs for the next decade.
The Conference will address the structural challenges and emerging issues LDCs face in pursuing sustainable development. It will also identify policy recommendations, which will significantly impact the extent to which LDCs can meet the SDGs, effectively compete in the global economy and eventually move towards convergence with other more developed economies.
While papers addressing any of the SDGs are welcome, the paper presentation at the conference will be organized along the following broad themes:
- Eradicating poverty, promoting sustainable agriculture, ending hunger and malnutrition in the LDCs
- Wellbeing in LDCs: addressing health, education, water, energy, ICT and reducing inequalities within LDCs and between LDCs and other countries
- Rethinking structural transformation in LDCs to achieve strong and sustained growth and robust employment generation, especially for the youth
- Megatrends impacting sustainable development in LDCs: frontier technologies, changing nature of work, migration and demographic changes
- Building resilience and sustainability: infrastructure, climate change, natural disasters, environmental degradation, management of natural resources and urbanization in LDCs
- Increasing LDCs’ share in global trade during a time of rising protectionism and, commodity dependence
- Building peaceful, just and inclusive societies, including achieving gender equality
- Mobilizing resources for sustainable development in LDCs: increasing public and private flows, addressing the rising and changing composition of debt, and curbing illicit financial flows
More detailed descriptions of each thematic area can be found online. Approximately 5-8 papers will be presented under each of the thematic areas.
The papers should be analytical in nature and offer concrete policy recommendations to provide policy makers with the latest analysis and suggestions for moving forward, in the context of the preparations of the new UN plan of action for the LDCs. Analysis should be based on the most recent and relevant data, identify key trends across the LDC group or in countries in similar situations, and propose responses relevant to LDCs. Papers related to ongoing research projects are also welcome. Where cross-country assessments are undertaken, LDCs should be included in the analysis.
The analysis and recommendations will contribute to informing new strategies that will enable LDCs to more effectively respond to their structural challenges, be able to compete at the global level and meet their sustainable development needs. The papers should also set out recommendations of what support LDCs would need from development partners, including donor countries, international and regional organizations, to achieve these goals.
First drafts should be ready by 1 June 2020. You will receive feedback from the organizers by 1 July 2020. Final papers should ideally be between 20-25 pages (1.5 line spacing) and available by 21 September 2020. An executive summary of up to 3 pages summarizing the analytical content of the paper and setting out the policy recommendations should also be added. Papers can be written in English or French.
This call is open to senior and junior academics, as well as experts from international organizations and NGOs working in these areas, who are all invited to submit paper proposals, highlighting:
- the connection of the proposed paper to one or more of the broad themes identified above and to any of the SDGs,
- the type of data and analysis that will be used, and
- the policy area(s) to which recommendations will relate.
Please submit the following via this site by 18 December 2019:
- 1The author’s name and affiliation;
- 800-1000 word abstract [Word files only];
- The author’s CV, including a list of relevant publications [Word or PDF files];
- The author’s contact details, including email address and phone number;
- Whether the author is an LDC national.
Co-authored and multidisciplinary papers are welcome. Applicants will be informed of the organizer’s decision no later than 30 January 2020. Authors who prepare quality papers in line with the paper format requirements set out above will be invited to present at the conference. Organizers expect about 45-50 quality papers to be presented at the conference, covering the 8 themes. In case of any additional clarification, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Expenses of Selected Speakers During the Conference
OHRLLS will endeavor to provide funding for travel and accommodation costs for researchers from LDCs selected to present a paper at the conference.
The organizers have publication plans for the presented papers. The precise format of publication will be announced at a later stage. In addition, all received papers will be published on the OHRLLS website and also featured on a dedicated LDC-V conference website.
Paper Submission Timeline
19 October 2019 Call for Abstracts Open
18 December 2019 Deadline for Submission of Abstracts
30 January 2020 Abstract Decision Letters Emailed
1 June 2020 Deadline for First Draft of Full Papers (Accepted Abstracts Only)
1 July 2020 Feedback from Organizers Sent to Authors
21 September 2020 Deadline for Final Version of Full Papers