10 May 2011

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

Secretary-General Urges Leaders of Least Developed Countries to Send Strong Political

Message That Investing in Their Nations Not Charity, But ‘Smart Thing to Do’

(Delayed in transmission.)

Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks to the Least Developed Countries Leaders’ Summit at the Fourth United Nations Conference on Least Developed Countries in Istanbul, 8 May:

Let me start by thanking Prime Minister Khanal for Nepal’s able coordination of the LDC Group over the past two years.

This conference provides an opportunity to lay a firm foundation for solid growth and progress for Least Developed Countries over the next 10 years.

A decade on from Brussels, many of your countries have achieved significant progress.  All have the potential to do so.

However, we must also recognize that we live in a volatile and changing world.

We must not allow the new atmosphere of global austerity to undermine progress.

It is, therefore, essential that you — the leaders of the LDCs — agree on a common position at the highest level.

Send a strong political message to the rest of the world that investing in and partnering with LDCs is the smart thing to do.

The priority for the new programme of action is to build strong economies that can withstand external shocks.

This means developing productive capacity and expanding opportunities for decent employment for men — and for women.

It means guaranteeing space for civil society and the private sector to operate.

It means expanding the provision of essential services — education, health, infrastructure, and social safety nets, especially for nutrition security.

To achieve this you will need the engagement of a wide range of partners:  traditional donors; emerging economies; and the world of business.

This conference has unprecedented participation from the private sector.  I urge you to grasp this opportunity.

Enterprises from all over the world will be networking, exchanging ideas and establishing relations that can form an enduring basis for cooperation and opportunity.

We hope they will go away from Istanbul with the message that doing business in the LDCs is not charity but a wise and profitable endeavour.


The next five days are crucial.

But even when we leave Istanbul with a comprehensive programme of action, there will be no time to relax.

The promises made here in Istanbul must become promises kept.

As Nelson Mandela remarked on becoming President:  “After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.”

The United Nations is committed to climbing these hills alongside you.

Let us measure our achievement in results.

I urge you and your partners to take ownership of the outcome of this conference and embed it into your development plans and programmes.

I thank you for your leadership, and wish you a successful conference.

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For information media • not an official record