17 May 2011
Press Conference

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

Press Conference on Outcome of Fourth United Nations Conference


on the Least Developed Countries


The 10-year Programme of Action adopted at the close of the Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Development Countries gave new momentum to global efforts to improve the lot of the world’s most vulnerable, impoverished nations, Gyan Chandra Acharya, ( Nepal), Chair of the Group of Least Developed Countries, said at a Headquarters press conference today.

“With vigorous partnership, it can help half of the LDCs (least developed countries) meet the criteria of graduation by 2020,” he said of the action plan, a “mutual compact between LDCs and development partners”, aimed overall at erasing poverty, overcoming structural challenges, and promoting equitable, rapid sustainable development in those countries.  There are 48 nations on the United Nations-identified list of least developed countries.

Building on the 2001 Brussels Programme of Action — which, among other things, introduced good governance principles — the new plan focused on increasing the productive capacities of least developed countries in such areas as infrastructure, energy, science, technology and innovation, agriculture and trade, while promoting human and social development.  “It is comprehensive, yet realistic and focused on LDCs’ concerns and challenges,” Mr. Acharya said.

To implement the Programme of Action, developed partners had agreed, among other things, to bolster investment in infrastructure, agriculture and economic diversification in least developed countries, based on their respective national priorities; fund and launch operations of the Green Climate Fund; and support mechanisms to mitigate the impact of the global financial crisis.  Donor nations had also committed to deliver fully on their promises of official development assistance (ODA) to least developed countries by 2015, pushing ODA resources up from the present $38 billion to almost $70 billion, he said.

The Programme of Action emphasized that, while development was primarily the responsibility of the countries themselves, it would not be possible without strong international support and cooperation.  “International peace and security, common prosperity, principles of equity and justice demand an inclusive growth and development around the world,” Mr. Acharya said.  “LDCs should be part of that.”

Collin Beck ( Solomon Islands), a member of the Least Developed Countries Coordination Bureau, said the Brussels Programme of Action had failed to put vehicles in place for achieving social development, something that the Istanbul plan aimed to rectify.  Since 2001, only three countries — Botswana, Cape Verde and, most recently, the Maldives — had graduated from Least Developed Country status, he noted.

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For information media • not an official record