|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Intergovernmental Preparatory Committee
for Fourth United Nations Conference
on Least Developed Countries
2nd Meeting (PM)
‘Encouraging but Slow Progress’ Marks Search for Common Ground on Outcome Document
for Conference on Least Developed Countries, as Formal Preparations Conclude
Secretary-General of Conference Says ‘Road Ahead Remains Arduous’,
But Hopeful for Meaningful Result for 48 Nations Seeking Renewed Support
The Secretary-General of the upcoming Fourth United Nations Conference on Least Developed Countries characterized negotiations towards commitments for development assistance to those countries as making “encouraging but slow progress”, as the second session of the Intergovernmental Preparatory Committee closed this afternoon.
Before closing the week-long session today, the Preparatory Committee also approved the draft provisional agenda and rules of procedure of the Conference, due to take place in Istanbul from 9 to 13 May, as well as the session’s report.
“The road ahead remains arduous,” said Secretary-General of the Conference Cheick Sidi Diarra, who is also the Special Adviser on Africa and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States. He remained hopeful, however, for a meaningful outcome for the benefit of the people of the least developed countries and humanity at large. In remaining negotiations, he appealed for a focus on concrete measures, leaving controversies over terminology behind.
The Conference is meant to assess the implementation of the Brussels Programme of Action — the outcome document adopted at the 2001 Conference on Least Developed Countries — and to reach agreement on a new set of support measures for sustainable development of the 48 countries in the category.
This week’s preparatory meeting followed a first round of negotiations held in January as well as the release of a report last month by a high-level panel, which calls for determined national action and international support to halve the number of least developed countries by 2020.
The Committee had planned to approve the draft outcome at the end of the session, but since delegations had yet to reach full agreement on many parts of the text, it recommended that the Chair continue informal consultations among Member States, with a view to finalizing it before the Conference.
In brief comments this afternoon, Gayan Chandra Acharya of Nepal, Chair of the LDC Global Coordination Bureau, said that while the intense negotiations had reached a “crucial phase”, he remained worried about the phase of the talks and the content of the outcome document. He urged all the participants to work hard, work together and work constructively in order to remain true to the objective of the Conference.
“ Brussels plus” was the minimum that the Group was looking for, he said, simply because the requirements of the least developed countries had changed over the past decade. He urged all negotiators to continue working in a spirit of cooperation to arrive at an outcome that truly addressed the hopes and met the needs of the least developed countries.
The representative of Hungary, speaking on behalf of the European Union said that her delegation noted that steps had been taken towards compromise and some progress had been made. At the same time, the European Union was also worried about the slow pace of negotiations and reiterated its view that the outcome document should be completed before the Istanbul Conference.
Morocco’s representative said that urgent action must be taken to reduce poverty in the least developed countries and help them address the unique environmental challenges they faced. It was imperative to ensure that they benefited from an international environment that boosted productive capacities and addressed critical socio-economic issues. He hoped the Istanbul Conference would produce tangible results. Political differences must not slow down progress in the negotiations, he added.
The representative of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) set out in detail the various initiatives and mechanisms his organization and its Development Assistance Committee (DAC) had undertaken to provide targeted assistance to the least developed countries. He said that the OECD could also contribute to the Istanbul Conference in many ways, including by working to ensure an enabling environment to bolster sustainable development, improve tax regulations and trade schemes.
Also today, the Committee decided to encourage regional groups to nominate among 15 Vice-Presidents of the Conference States that were members of the Global LDC Bureau. Without prejudice to further decisions and without creating a precedent, it also recommended to the Conference to elect to its Bureau as ex-officio members those States members of the Global LCD Bureau that were not nominated by their respective regional groups.
The Rapporteur of the Committee, Jean-Francis Regis Zinsou of Benin introduced the Committee’s report of its second session.
Thanking participants for their work this past week, Committee Chair Jarmo Viinanen of Finland said that over the past five days, delegations had worked intensively to resolve all outstanding issues and reach agreement on the text. He commended all delegations on the efforts they had extended, and noted that while there had been some progress, “as things stand today, we must try even harder to find common ground that would enable us to reach full agreement on all aspects of the document”, in the days before the Istanbul Conference.
* *** *For information media • not an official record