9 May 2011

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

Lawmakers Must ‘Own’ Action Programme for Least Developed Countries,


Secretary-General Tells Parliamentarians’ Forum in Istanbul


Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks to the opening of the Parliamentarians’ Forum at the Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), in Istanbul on 8 May:

I am honoured to address this Forum and I thank the Government of Turkey for its leadership in hosting this important Conference.

The Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries offers a valuable opportunity to strengthen the global partnership in support of least developed countries and set the terms of engagement for the next decade.  We all expect the Conference to adopt a comprehensive and ambitious programme of action for sustained economic growth.  Our goal is to see many more LDCs graduate in the coming decade.

Tomorrow, I will speak at the Conference opening.  I will appeal for more commitment — especially in the key areas of building productive capacity, aid and trade, debt relief and foreign direct investment, technology transfer and climate change adaptation and mitigation.

Securing and implementing this commitment will fall, in large part, with you — the world’s parliamentarians.  I am therefore encouraged that this parliamentary track has been so active in the preparations for this Conference.  You will have to own the new programme of action and ensure it is reflected in development planning — both on the part of LDCs and partners nations.  This is among the main lessons learned from the Brussels Programme of Action.

Another lesson is the importance of good governance for making the best of existing partnerships and encouraging new ones — especially with the private sector.  Investing in LDCs can provide many opportunities — for business, for South-South partnership, for a sustained global economic recovery and, of course, for LDCs themselves.  But, just as you don’t sow seed on poor ground, you do not invest where returns are poor.  That is why it is essential for LDCs that democratic governance and accountability are fully embedded and institutionalized, and that women are empowered and civil society encouraged to thrive and play their full role in development.

In closing, let me say how pleased I am to see so many parliamentarians from the development partner nations.  You have so much to offer, from sharing experience and building capacity, to supporting trade, aid and investment.  This is the first major development conference of this decade.  Let us ensure its outcome reverberates down the years.

The United Nations is committed to helping LDCs overcome the challenges they face, and we are delighted to work with parliamentarians and the Inter-Parliamentary Union to do so.

With this, I wish a great success in this meeting for humanity.

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For information media • not an official record