Istanbul forum offers chance to recommit to helping world’s poorest nations – UN envoy

High Representative, Cheick Sidi Diarra

10 January 2011 – The forthcoming conference on the world’s least developed countries provides an opportunity for the international community to recommit to helping these vulnerable States achieve economic growth and social development, a senior United Nations official said today.

The Fourth UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) is due to take place in Istanbul, Turkey, from 9 to 13 May to assess the implementation of the Brussels Programme of Action – the outcome document adopted at the 2001 LDC conference – and to reach agreement on a new generation of international support measures for the 48 States.

Cheick Sidi Diarra, the UN High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, told a news conference in New York that consultations with LDCs and their development partners have resulted in the identification of some priority measures for continued support.

They include strengthening infrastructure and access to technology; improving domestic resource mobilisation; consistent official development assistance with a special focus on job creation and poverty reduction; and improving food production through investment in agriculture.

Other important strategies that would help the LDCs achieve their development targets include enhancing their capacity to attract foreign direct investment, and supporting their efforts to gain greater access to markets.

Mr. Diarra was speaking on the sidelines of the first preparatory session for the Istanbul conference, which is meeting at UN Headquarters for four days to discuss the new challenges and the priorities that the gathering in May will consider.

According to Mr. Diarra’s office, progress since 2001 among the world’s poorest nations has been mixed. Some countries have performed better than others, but overall, economic growth has not always translated into reduced levels of poverty.

Over the past three decades, only Botswana, Cape Verde and Maldives have “graduated” from the category of LDCs.


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