21 October 2011
General Assembly
GA/EF/3316

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-sixth General Assembly

Second Committee

18th Meeting (PM)


Further Delay in Implementing Action Programme for Least Developed Countries


Risks Exacerbating Lives of World’s Poorest People, Second Committee Told

 


While hailing last May’s adoption of the Istanbul Programme of Action as a feat for the world’s poorest countries, many delegates in the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) warned today that further delaying its practical implementation would lead to a further deterioration in the lives of hundreds of millions of people.


As the Committee continued its general discussion on groups of countries in special situations, representatives from least developed and landlocked developing countries, as well as small island developing States, also stressed the vital importance of fair trade, greater investment in infrastructure, and increased aid flows.


Malawi’s representative pointed out that least developed countries faced an unfair trading system and called for developed countries to mobilize resources for “Aid-for-Trade” while creating favourable market access conditions for all products originating in least developed countries.  That could be done through timely implementation of duty- and quota-free markets access.  Transit development was also essential for economic growth and poverty alleviation in landlocked developing countries, she said, as representatives from landlocked countries pointed out that without access to the sea, their trade, and therefore development, was extremely challenging indeed.


Togo’s representative said the renewed international commitment to least developed countries marked by the adoption of the Istanbul Programme of Action, gave her country hope after the global financial and economic crisis had hit her homeland particularly hard.  The food, security and climate change crises were making the situation much worse, she added, noting that the stagnant economy had impacted the poorest populations.


Delegates also stressed that peace and security were fundamental to sustaining economic growth.  For post-conflict countries, security and development went hand inhand, Afghanistan’s representative said, noting that although his country had made a significant progress over the last 10 years, terrorism remained among its main challenges.  He called for extra attention to ensure that the development of natural resources, whether land, minerals or anything else, did not exacerbate existing tensions.


The representative of the Democratic Republic of the Congo also underscored the importance of peace and security, saying that his country was intensifying its efforts to ensure the continued existence of a private sector open for investment, while also undertaking reform of the security and justice sectors.  Noting that development in a post-conflict country was challenging, he urged the international community to provide assistance for building peace and security, for creating jobs for young people, and for ensuring the Government’s ability to provide social services.


Meanwhile, Australia’s representative said his country would invest at least $10 billion in food security, infrastructure, natural resources, education and health, before 2015, in addition to raising its official development assistance (ODA) by 30 per cent, the largest increase by any of the top 12 donor nations.  Australia would remain committed to global fast-start financing efforts, prioritizing least developed countries and small island developing States, and had committed $600 million so far.  Stressing the importance of implementing the Almaty Programme of Action, he said landlocked countries required infrastructure development, first and foremost, as well as increased international attention.  Australia was supporting the Asian Development Bank in improving transport connectivity in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, raising regional trade and reducing transport times between that country and major regional markets, he added.


In the same vein, the representative of the Republic of Korea said his country had increased its ODA by 40 per cent in the previous 10 years, adding that 35 per cent was aimed at least developed countries and 30 per cent at landlocked developing countries.  He also stressed the importance of addressing the needs of small island developing States.  The Republic of Korea had made various efforts to develop effective cooperation mechanisms with small island States, including the Korea-Pacific Island Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and the Korea-Caribbean High-level Forum, he said.  As host of the Fourth High-level Forum on Aid Effectiveness, to be held in Busan, the Republic of Korea would ensure that the specific needs and concerns of countries in special situations would be reflected in the Forum’s discussions, he added.


Also speaking today were representatives of China, Ethiopia, Ukraine, Kuwait, Morocco, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Myanmar, Solomon Islands and Nepal.


Also speaking were officials from the Inter-Parliamentary Union, International Organization of Migration, International Labour Organization, World Food Programme, and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.


The Committee will reconvene at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, 24 October, for a joint meeting with the Economic and Social Council.


Background


The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) met today to continue its consideration of groups of countries in special situations.  For background information, see Press Release GA/EF/3315 of 20 October.


Statements


LIU MINGMING ( China) said the uncertain economic recovery had led to formidable challenges for least developed countries, making international support increasingly important.  Fulfilling the promises reflected in the Istanbul and Almaty Programmes of Action was essential in that regard.  The Istanbul Programme of Action identified priority areas and it was the international community’s responsibility to take comprehensive and effective action on them.


Noting that official development assistance (ODA) remained the main and most useful support to least developed countries, he said that focusing on building productive capacity, trade, agriculture, primary products and infrastructure was very important for the structural transformation and development of least developed countries.  While enhancing capacity-building, the Office of the High Representative should fulfil its role of facilitating trade, and the wider United Nations should place helping least developed countries at the top of its agenda.  He expressed hope that the Office of the High Representative would be equipped with sufficient resources to fulfil the necessary monitoring and follow-up services, pointing out that China had recently announced new measures to help least developed countries in agriculture, human resources, trade facilitation, and debt relief.


AMAN HASSEN (Ethiopia), associating himself with the Group of Least Developed Countries, said that, while on average those countries had achieved high economic growth and improved the implementation of their national development strategies, the assessment of the Brussels Programme of Action indicated that some of its specific goals and objectives had not yet been fully met.  “The structural transformation that would put the LDCs on a path to sustainable growth has not yet occurred,” he said, adding that new and emerging challenges posed a serious threat to their development.  Since the adoption of the Istanbul Programme of Action in May 2011, least developed countries, in collaboration with development partners, should “exert maximum effort” to address their structural challenges, he said.


He stressed the need to mainstream and integrate the Programme of Action into national development strategies, plans and programmes, and to put strong follow-up mechanisms in place to ensure the regular monitoring of progress on implementation.  However, the task of mobilizing adequate resources remained critical, he said, calling upon his country’s development partners to fulfil their commitments in terms of achieving ODA targets, as agreed in the Programme of Action.  South-South cooperation and innovative financing mechanisms should also be strengthened.  Furthermore, the specific needs of least developed countries — as well as those of the sub-Saharan countries in particular — should be properly encapsulated in the outcomes of all upcoming intergovernmental negotiations.


OLEKSANDR NAKONECHNYI (Ukraine), associating himself with the European Union, outlined his country’s efforts to meet the goals of the Third United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries, pointing out its activities aimed at ensuring food security.  Ukraine had provided assistance to countries suffering the effects of disasters and other emergencies.  In 2009, it had made donations, through the World Food Programme (WFP), to Ethiopia in 2010, and through the United Nations Central Emergency Relief Fund (CERF) for earthquake relief in Haiti.  This year, it had donated to countries in the Horn of Africa, through United Nations channels, he added.


Recalling that his country had hosted Latin American, Asian and African students in the past, he said it hoped to renew that tradition, in line with the emphasis placed on human-resource development in least developed countries.  The Government had already allocated 300 State annual scholarships to African States through its programme of cooperation with Africa for 2010-2012, he said, adding that the continent was an important priority of Ukrainian foreign policy.  Intergovernmental and interregional ties were being deepened and progress had been made in economic interaction and increasing trade, he said, citing also Ukraine’s participation in seven United Nations peacekeeping missions and in the Peacebuilding Commission.


ABDULLAH AHMAD AL-SHARRAH (Kuwait), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, said that while development was, first and foremost, the responsibility of least developed countries themselves, it could not materialize without international cooperation and partnerships.  Development partners must, therefore, fulfil their commitments by supplying financial and sanitary assistance, as well as suitable and environmentally safe technological aid to support national strategies.


He said that his country, recognizing the important role of free trade and “enabling investments” in pushing sustainable development forward in the developing countries, was working to transform itself into a regional financial and trade centre, as one of the policies aimed at diversifying and developing the national economic structure.  Kuwait was also undertaking a comprehensive review of its economic and trade laws, and, in the area of international development, had renewed its commitment to help developing and least developed countries.


For five decades, Kuwait had provided support and humanitarian aid to countries ravaged by disasters or in response to appeals by the United Nations and its agencies to alleviate suffering, he said.  Furthermore, the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development continued to provide assistance and grants that had benefited 100 countries, in addition to easy-to-pay loans amounting to $15 billion.  Kuwait had also decided to increase its annual voluntary contributions to several United Nations agencies, funds and programmes, he added.  As a country of the South that relied primarily on the production and export of oil, Kuwait looked forward to positive results from the upcoming Rio+20 Conference.


HASSAN BENALLAL ( Morocco), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, said the Istanbul Programme of Action results would not be implemented without the mobilization of the international community.  ODA remained a necessity, and donors must renew the commitments they had entered into previously.  Noting that the volatility of the agricultural crisis had become unbearable, he stressed the importance of reinvesting in global agriculture in solidarity with least developed countries.


Helping them could shorten their path to economic growth, he continued, adding that improving aid efficiency was a primary concern.  The needs of least developed countries were increasing and regular resources were no longer satisfactory.  He called upon the international community to come up with innovative ideas on addressing the economic issues currently arising, emphasizing that his country shared with the United Nations the concerns of least developed countries while reiterating Morocco’s willingness to share its skills and experience.


CHRIS STOKES ( Australia) said he recognized that the Istanbul Programme of Action was less ambitious than it should have been, but pointed out that it allowed a chance to refocus attention on the needs of least developed countries.  It balanced human and social development, on the one hand, with building viable and competitive productive capacity, on the other, which was a prerequisite for growth in least developed countries.  It was essential to convert words into action, he emphasized, adding that the focus would fall on pursuing the goal of graduating 50 per cent of least developed countries in the next decade.


Together with Turkey and France, Australia had ensured acknowledgement of the Istanbul Programme of Action in the ministerial communiqué of the recent G-20 meeting in Washington, he recalled.  The three countries would continue to emphasize the agenda of least developed countries at the next G-20 meeting in Cannes, at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting and at Busan.  The Istanbul Programme of Action was currently being mainstreamed into Australia’s assistance programme, he added.


As one of the few countries increasing assistance levels, Australia would invest at least $10 billion in food security, infrastructure, natural resources, education and health, before 2015, he continued.  The country would also raise its ODA by 30 per cent, the largest increase from any of the top 12 donor countries.  It would remain committed to global fast-start financing efforts, prioritizing least developed countries and small island developing States, and had committed $600 million so far, he said.  Stressing the importance of implementing the Almaty Programme of Action, he said landlocked countries required infrastructure development, first and foremost, as well as increased international attention.  Australia was supporting the Asian Development Bank in improving transport connectivity in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, raising regional trade and reducing transport times between that country and major regional markets.


ENAYET MADANI (Afghanistan), associating himself with the Group of 77, the Group of Least Developed Countries and the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries, stressed the need for donor countries to respect the principle of national ownership by recipient countries.  As a landlocked developing country, Afghanistan faced trade difficulties stemming from its isolation from world markets, he said, adding that as a commodity exporter, it spent almost twice its average export income on transit and insurance services.  Those additional expenses seriously undermined the national economy, and to address those problems, improved transit transport systems would be needed, alongside accelerated implementation of the Almaty Programme of Action.


He went on to point out that although his country had made a significant amount of progress over the past 10 years, it still faced serious challenges such as terrorism, extremism, poverty, organized crime and disasters.  Terrorism was among the dominant challenges of the region, but it was a global “enemy” as well, he said.  For post-conflict countries, security and development went hand in hand, and defeating terrorism would not be possible without an effective global strategy.  It was vital to take care in ensuring that the development of natural resources, whether land, minerals or anything else, did not exacerbate existing tensions, he emphasized.


ADNAN ALTAY ALTINORS ( Turkey) said it was important to retain the momentum gained in Istanbul, and the road map of the Office of the High representative provided a framework for focusing on what could be delivered.  The first step was to mainstream the Istanbul Programme of Action into the national strategies of least developed countries and their partners.  It was also important to build productive capacity, and least developed countries also needed greater trade and investment, he said, adding that the private sector and public-private partnerships could make invaluable contributions in that regard.


Least developed countries relied on external resources, he pointed out, calling for the fulfilment of ODA commitments.  Monitoring at all levels was also a key element, and an independent monitoring mechanism should complement United Nations efforts in that regard.  It was important to give incentives to least developed countries graduating from that category, he said, expressing support for the creation of a working group to ensure a smooth transition.  Turkey would continue to emphasize the agenda of least developed countries within the G-20 and would increase direct investments over the next decade.


He went on to say that his country had already allocated $200 million to least developed countries for capacity-building, including $5 million specifically for monitoring and evaluating implementation of the Istanbul Programme of Action.  The needs of landlocked developing countries should also be addressed, especially those relating to transport, which called for an integrated approach.  Full and effective implementation of the Almaty Programme of Action would help in that regard, he said, adding that, as an important transit country, Turkey was engaged in a number of programmes to boost regional trade and international links.


CHRISSIE SILUMBU ( Malawi), associating herself with the Group of 77 and the Group of Least Developed Countries, said her country faced multiple challenges that undermined its economic gains and sustainable development efforts of recent years.  The impact of the global financial crisis, which had hit least developed countries hardest, had not spared Malawi, and although the Government was doing all it could to overcome daunting challenges, effective partnership with developed countries was crucial, she stressed, adding that the current economic and financial crisis should not be used as an excuse for not delivering on commitments made to developing and least developed countries.  She called for an increase in ODA, in particular for the realization of the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.


Noting that least developed countries faced an unfair trading system, she called for the conclusion of the Doha Round of World Trade Organization negotiations.  Developed countries should mobilize resources for Aid-for-Trade and also create favourable market access conditions for all products originating in least developed countries, including through timely implementation of duty- and quota-free markets access, as highlighted in the Secretary-General’s report.  Transit development was also essential for economic growth and poverty alleviation in landlocked developing countries, she said, describing the Almaty Programme of Action as a fundamental framework for genuine partnerships between landlocked and transit developing countries and their development partners.


TLEUZHAN SEKSENBAY (Kazakhstan), associating himself with the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries, noted with satisfaction progress made on the Almaty Programme of Action, specifically recognition by the world community of the specific needs of landlocked States.  They urgently needed additional, predictable and concessional development aid to tackle financing and resource gaps, and to help them build technical capacity, he said, adding that previously announced Aid-for-Trade and emergency assistance should also be provided.


Announcing that his country would host the Fourth Meeting of Trade Ministers of the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries, as well as a preparatory global review meeting on international trade and trade facilitation, he underlined Kazakhstan’s commitment to concrete results, including modernizing existing infrastructure, increasing commercial efficiency and removing physical and non-physical barriers to transit transportation, through the Transport Strategy of Kazakhstan, targeted for 2015.


He went on to state that the Customs Union linking Belarus, Kazakhstan and the Russian Federation had enhanced their trade by 25 per cent, and the change to a Unified Economic Space would free the movement of labour, goods and services while allowing Kazakhstan to take advantage of its geopolitical location.  He also highlighted the large-scale “West Europe-West China” project to connect those markets and welcomed the opening of the Analytical Centre in Ulan Bator, Mongolia, aimed at strengthening the abilities of countries to create favourable conditions for implementing the Almaty Programme of Action.


AUNG KYAW ZAN (Myanmar), associating himself with the Group of 77, the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Group of Least Developed Countries, said that without putting least developed countries at the forefront of the global development agenda, real progress towards achieving internationally agreed goals, including the Millennium Development Goals, could hardly be expected.  With that in mind, the time had come for both least developed countries and the international community to take steps for timely and effective implementation of the Istanbul Programme of Action.


Noting that the Programme’s overarching goal was to overcome the structural challenges faced by least developed countries in order to eradicate poverty, he said Myanmar’s new Government was stepping up its efforts to make fundamental adjustments aimed at reforming and developing the national economic infrastructure with a view to establishing accountability and transparency.  With the aim of raising the livelihoods of the vast majority of the country’s population, the Government attached the highest priority to reducing poverty and ensuring rural development.  However, despite its listing in the least developed category, Myanmar had received little or no international development assistance for decades, he said, adding that its people had long been denied access to both trade preferences and financial assistance from international and regional financial institutions.


KANG YONG-KOO ( Republic of Korea) emphasized the importance of implementing the Istanbul and Almaty Programmes of Action, and suggested improvements to implementation efforts, including using the Programmes as guidelines for development efforts.  The priorities and specific needs expressed in the documents should be adequately reflected in development-cooperation policies and in the areas of trade, foreign direct investment and finance.  Engagement with diverse development partners, including parliaments, the business sector and civil society, would ensure comprehensive and successful implementation, he said, adding that, to increase coherence, the development priorities and concerns of countries in special situations should be discussed and dealt with by entities including the G-20, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the Bretton Woods institutions, as well as the United Nations.


The Republic of Korea had increased its ODA by 40 per cent in the previous 10 years, he said, adding that 35 per cent was aimed at least developed countries and 30 per cent at landlocked developing countries.  He also stressed the importance of addressing the needs of small island developing States, noting their concerns and priorities, as contained in the Barbados Programme of Action and the Mauritius Strategy for the Further Implementation of the Barbados Programme of Action.  The Republic of Korea had made various efforts to develop effective cooperation mechanisms with small island States, including the Korea-Pacific Island Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and the Korea-Caribbean High-level Forum, he said.  As host of the Fourth High-level Forum on Aid Effectiveness, to be held in Busan, the Republic of Korea would ensure that the specific needs and concerns of countries in special situations would be reflected in the Forum’s discussions, he added.


PAUL EMPOLE (Democratic Republic of the Congo), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the Group of Least Developed Countries, said that beyond the adoption of the Istanbul Programme of Action, the international community must ensure implementation.  Success would be based on political will and safeguarding results, which were complementary and mutually strengthening.  The United Nations must play the full leading role in implementing the Istanbul Programme of Action, he emphasized.  The amount of aid going into least developed countries must take the real needs on the ground into account, he said, adding that their investment in new technologies, particularly broadband, must be encouraged.


Underscoring the importance of peace and security for economic growth, he said his country was intensifying its efforts to ensure the continued existence of a private sector open for investment, while also undertaking reform of the security and justice sectors.  The Democratic Republic of the Congo had also raised its income, thanks to disciplined austerity, he said.  Noting that development in a post-conflict country was challenging, he urged the international community to provide assistance for building peace and security, creating jobs for young people, and ensuring that the Government could provide social services.


HELEN BECK (Solomon Islands), associating herself with the Group of 77 and the Group of Least Developed Countries, said the timely implementation of the Istanbul Programme of Action would require genuine cooperation, partnership and solidarity in order to mainstream it into their development strategies and development cooperation.  While Solomon Islands recognized its ownership role of the Programme, full and timely implementation would require genuine collaborative development cooperation among development partners, the United Nations system, international financial institutions, the private sector and all other stakeholders in support of least developed countries.


The Millennium Development Goals remained the world’s time-bound social and development goals, she said, adding that least developed countries faced huge challenges in meeting them by 2015.  Manipulation of the markets continued to create extreme volatility within the global financial and trading systems, she added, pointing out that least developed countries remained particularly vulnerable and susceptible to the consequent economic and social shocks.  The impact of the recent financial, food, and energy crisis had significantly undermined the hard-earned development gains of those countries, she said, stressing that focusing international assistance for them was a priority in efforts to break the poverty trap.


KOUMEALO BALLI ( Togo), associating herself with the Group of 77 and the Group of Least Developed Countries, said the renewal of international commitment in Istanbul had given hope to least developed countries.  The economic and financial crisis was felt particularly acutely in least developed countries, and the food security and climate change crises had accelerated those challenges.  Gross domestic product (GDP) growth in Togo had been “almost zero”, which gave an idea of the consequences of poverty, she said, adding that her country also faced challenges on the environmental level.  She appealed for the international community to adopt the Istanbul Programme of Action, particularly in relation to production capacity, trade, and crisis management, as well as in the areas of social justice, democracy and gender equality.


GYAN CHANDRA ACHARYA (Nepal), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries, said the implementation status of the Almaty Programme of Action for landlocked developing countries showed that there had been minimal progress and there was a long way to go towards effective implementation.  Underscoring the importance of the 2013 Comprehensive Review of the Programme of Action, he said he looked forward to an ambitious, forward-looking outcome.  Additionally, the trade and economic activities of landlocked developing countries had largely been hampered by limited progress in the Doha Round, he said, emphasizing the importance of those negotiations.  They should ensure unhindered access to and from the sea, in addition to making transit smoother and reducing transit time.  It was imperative that landlocked developing countries were provided with greater market access for their products as well as enhanced support through technology transfer, he added.


KARIN REIDL, Observer for the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), said the Istanbul Programme of Action and its accompanying Political Declaration marked a recognition of parliaments as key stakeholders in development.  Their engagement would ensure the effectiveness, transparency and accountability in the design, implementation and review of policies and programmes in the context of the Programme of Action.  Parliaments needed to work on implementation, and one aspect of that was mainstreaming it through national development strategies and plans so that it permeated the thinking of decision makers from the very beginning of the policy process, she said.


That would be difficult because it was rare to find regular Government reporting on implementation of international development agreements, she said, noting that when it was found, it was “often perfunctory and with weak oversight”.  IPU was trying to extend an existing network of parliamentary focal points intended to motivate others while helping to process and channel information from outside sources, including information derived from the global follow-up in which IPU would be involved, she said.  IPU was also supporting specific activities to raise awareness of the Istanbul Programme of Action and create tools for parliamentarians, with the first briefing taking place in Bern this week and a workshop in Cambodia scheduled for November.  That would help to gauge the needs of parliamentarians and begin the development of a model format for more such workshops to take place on a regular basis, she said.


MICHELE KLEIN SOLOMON, Permanent Observer of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), praised the fact that the Istanbul Programme of Action recognized the link between migration and development, saying it offered a chance to identify strategies and cooperation measures for realizing the positive potential of migration for least developed countries.  While there were 214 million international migrants today, 200 million more were likely to be displaced by climate change by 2050, she said.


Welcoming the fact that the Programme of Action recognized environmentally-induced migration and set out concrete responses, she said that was a chance to build upon previous general commitments aimed at taking the needs of those affected by climate change and extreme weather events into account.  She added that targeted legal migration programmes could also form part of an effective adaptation strategy.  She also welcomed the Istanbul Programme’s recognition of the importance of remittances, which, if matched through public investment and incentive schemes, could work to reduce poverty at a more macro-community level, as in the Philippines and Mexico, where remittance-matching schemes had facilitated the construction of schools, community centres and other public facilities.  IOM advocated lowering the cost of transferring remittances, she added.


AMBER BERTH, International Labour Organization (ILO) Office for the United Nations, said the experience of the past few decades had shown that high economic growth did not by itself generate the productive employment needed to eradicate poverty and “realize the demographic dividend”.  There was a need for coherent development strategies centred on jobs and linked to new macroeconomic frameworks, public and private investments, support for small- and medium-sized entities, and labour-market policies that supported skilled and productive workforces.


Turning to the ILO report “Growth, Productive Employment and Decent Work in the Least Developed Countries”, she said the document contained policy options for promoting intensive job growth in least developed countries and addressed specific country contexts.  It provided pragmatic and realistic actions, as well as the suggestion that least developed countries focus on promoting one or two private sector-led value chains with the potential to expand sustainable local industries.  The quality of jobs was also a critical dimension of that issue, she added, noting that while most people in least developed countries worked, their potential remained untapped and their incomes were insufficient to alleviate their poverty.  The gradual transition from informal to formal work must, therefore, be made in those countries, she said.


Pointing out that rural development would remain a “battleground” of poverty reduction, she emphasized the need for efforts to encourage virtuous circles between improving productivity and agricultural incomes, on the one hand, and developing labour-intensive local non-farm activities, on the other.  Regarding social protection, she said that an ILO analysis had shown that the costs of a minimum package of social benefits were affordable even in very low-income countries, given the sequencing and gradual introduction of elements of the social protection floor.  ILO and the International Monetary Fund were analysing the gaps, minimum requirements and costs of a social protection floor, while ensuring that it fully respected the requirements of financial sustainability, she said.  Lessons from that collaboration could be beneficial to least developed countries wishing to strengthen coherence between macroeconomic and labour-market policies.  The role of the private sector was also integral to success, she said.


KARIN MANENTE, World Food Programme (WFP), said that with 70 per cent of the agency’s operational expenses, amounting to some $2.4 billion annually, tied up in least developed countries and reaching almost 60 million vulnerable people, WFP was highly invested in the Istanbul Programme of Action.  Enhancing productive capacity required the improvement of physical, as well as human and social capital, while graduating least developed countries required investment in people.  It was crucial to employ a comprehensive and people-centred approach to implementation, including direct action to tackle the key challenges and crises faced by least developed countries.


Nutritional safety nets were important, as were land-rehabilitation and irrigation projects to tackle hunger, she said, adding that WFP was working to leverage local food purchases to benefit smallholder women farmers through the “Purchase for Progress” programme.  Safety nets could be used both in emergencies and in social-protection systems that served as an investment in future growth, she said, adding that there was a need to improve Government capacity so as to develop nationally-owned social-protection systems and safety nets.  WFP would use its experience in those fields to expand its capacity-building efforts under the Istanbul Programme of Action, she said.


ANA PERSIC, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), said the agency had taken part in developing the road map to help substantiate the commitments noted in the Istanbul Programme of Action.  UNESCO planned to participate in the establishment of a technology bank, the proposed indicators for monitoring and follow-up, and proposed activities on tourism for development.  Although the Programme of Action did not specifically mention culture, it was an engine for growth, she said, adding that UNESCO would continue to promote cultural means to promote development.  It would also work to help least developed countries develop their communications capacities, she said, adding that the agency was working with the International Telecommunication Union to expand broadband networks, which could deliver a wide range of services.


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For information media • not an official record