United Nations

A/51/120


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

22 April 1996

ORIGINAL:
ENGLISH


                                                        A/51/120
                                                              

General Assembly
Fifty-first session
Item 97 of the preliminary list*

*    A/51/50.


                   SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND INTERNATIONAL
                             ECONOMIC COOPERATION

         Letter dated 19 April 1996 from the Permanent Representative
         of Bangladesh to the United Nations addressed to the        
                               Secretary-General


     I have the honour to enclose a letter dated 19 April 1996 from the
Chairmen/Coordinators of the Group of Least Developed Countries, the
Group of Land-locked Developing Countries and the Alliance of Small
Island States addressed to you (see annex).

     I would like to request you to circulate the present letter
together with its annex as a document of the General Assembly under
agenda item 97 of the preliminary list.


                                              (Signed)  Reaz RAHMAN           
                                                         Ambassador           
                                                 Permanent Representative of  
                                              Bangladesh to the United Nations


                                     ANNEX

              Letter dated 19 April 1996 from the representatives of
              the least developed, land-locked and island developing
                      countries to the Secretary-General


     The least developed, land-locked and island developing countries
have been following with great interest and appreciation your
unremitting efforts towards reorganizing and revitalizing the United
Nations Secretariat, including the unit dealing with economic and
social issues.  We are fully supportive of the objectives of your
endeavours and we are committed to providing our support thereto.  We
believe that the restructuring exercise will provide the Secretariat
with great effectiveness in dealing with issues facing the 48 least
developed countries, 29 land-locked developing countries and some 32
small island developing States (see attached list).

     We are writing the present letter with a view to bringing to your
kind attention our views on the future of the Division of Least
Developed, Land-locked and Island Developing Countries, presently
located within the secretariat of the United Nations Conference on
Trade and Development (UNCTAD).  This is the only unit in the United
Nations Secretariat that deals substantively with the problems facing
our three groups of countries in an integrated and comprehensive
manner.

     The Second United Nations Conference on the Least Developed
Countries, held in Paris in 1990, adopted unanimously the Programme of
Action for the Least Developed Countries for the 1990s.  At its forty-
fifth session, the General Assembly endorsed the Programme of Action
and decided upon the level of resources for the task of follow-up to
it throughout the 1990s.  In consequence of the decision of the
Assembly, the Division for the Least Developed, Land-locked and Island
Developing Countries was established within the UNCTAD secretariat in
early 1991.  Following the Global Conference on the Substantive
Development on Small Island Developing States, the General Assembly at
its forty-ninth session requested that the capacity of UNCTAD be
strengthened in order to support the implementation of the Programme
of Action adopted by that Conference.

     Substantively, this Division serves as the focal point for the
follow-up and monitoring of progress in the implementation of the
Programmes of Action for these countries.  The Division acts as the
global-level focal point for the follow-up to the Programme of Action
for the Least Developed Countries for the 1990s adopted by the Second
United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries in 1990. 
It is charged with the implementation of the Global Framework for
Transit Transport Cooperation between Land-locked and Transit
Developing Countries and the Donor Community, endorsed by the General
Assembly in 1995.  It is also entrusted with the crucial mandate
relating to the Barbados Programme of Action for Small Island
Developing States adopted in 1994.  The substantive analytical work on
the issues raised in the Programmes of Action for these groups of
countries are reflected in its various reports, in particular the
annual Least Developed Countries Report.  This is considered to be of
immense utility and has won the admiration of Governments, the
international community and media alike.  The Division assists our
countries in negotiations in different international forums through
substantive support; maintains the only database in the United
Nations; is specific to the needs of these groups of countries; plays
a strong advocacy role; mobilizes bodies of the United Nations system
in favour of the implementation of their programmes of action;
maintains substantive dialogue with Governments at United Nations
Headquarters; and ensures that their situation and solutions to their
problems remain at the forefront of the intergovernmental process.

     In this regard and in the context of the reform and revitalization
of the United Nations, it is the expectation of our three groups of
countries that the Division for Least Developed, Land-locked and
Island Developing Countries should be strengthened further, inter
alia, through substantive appointment of a Director and if possible by
enhancing its level of leadership.  Indeed, the entire international
community has unanimously expressed the priority it attaches to the
development proble'matique of the least developed countries within the
development activities of the United Nations.  As you yourself
emphasized at the High-level Intergovernmental Meeting on the Mid-term
Global Review of the Implementation of the Programme of Action for the
Least Developed Countries for the 1990s, held in New York last autumn,
the United Nations system remains committed to the task of taking
stronger actions in favour of the least developed countries, and
UNCTAD must continue to play a strong leadership role in this area. 
This position had been echoed by others.  The representative of the
United States Government, speaking at the Trade and Development Board
on 27 February 1996, said:

     "The United States believes that UNCTAD has a single purpose: 
     fully integrate developing countries, particularly the least
     developed countries, into the global economy."

The representative of the European Union, speaking at the same
meeting, emphasized that UNCTAD should concentrate primarily on the
needs of the least developed countries.  From the foregoing it is
clear that there is unanimity of views that the activities of the
United Nations in favour of these countries should be strengthened.

     In the light of the above, we would like to urge you to ensure
that:

     (a) The institutional identity and integrity of the Division for
the Least Developed, Land-locked and Island Developing Countries,
located within the UNCTAD secretariat, should be strengthened;

     (b) The analytical capacity of the Division should be further
strengthened by the provision of adequate resources.  The studies and
the reports, including the annual Least Developed Countries Report and
other important reports that the Division publishes and are considered
extremely valuable by these groups of countries, should be maintained;

     (c) A full-time Director of the Division should be appointed
immediately and all other vacant posts of the Division should be
filled on an urgent basis.  Consideration should also be given to
enhancing the level of leadership of the Division.  You may also wish
to consider consolidating activities by different parts of the United
Nations Secretariat under the Division of Least Developed, Land-locked
and Island Developing Countries, which should enhance efficiency and
effectiveness.

     We are fully confident that the ongoing restructuring of the
United Nations Secretariat under your leadership would result in a
strengthened and more efficient institutional machinery within the
United Nations Secretariat dealing with the critical situation of our
three groups of countries.


                                       (Signed)  Reaz RAHMAN                  
                                         Permanent Representative of          
                                         Bangladesh to the United Nations and 
                                         Chairman of the Group of Least       
                                         Developed Countries                  

                                       (Signed)  Luvsangiin ERDENECHULUUN     
                                         Permanent Representative of Mongolia 
                                         to the United Nations and Coordinator
                                         of the Land-locked Developing        
                                         Countries on UNCTAD Matters          

                                       (Signed)  Yvonne GITTENS-JOSEPH        
                                         For the Permanent Representative of  
                                         Trinidad and Tobago to the United    
                                         Nations and Chairman of the Alliance 
                                         of Small Island States               

                                   APPENDIX

                           Least developed countries


     Afghanistan, Angola, Bangladesh, Benin, Bhutan, Burkina Faso,
Burundi, Cambodia, Cape Verde, the Central African Republic, Chad, the
Comoros, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, the Gambia,
Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Haiti, Kiribati, Lao People's Democratic
Republic, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Mali,
Mauritania, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, the Niger, Rwanda, Samoa, Sao
Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, the Sudan,
Togo, Tuvalu, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Vanuatu, Yemen,
Zaire and Zambia.

                       Land-locked developing countries

     Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana,
Burkina Faso, Burundi, the Central African Republic, Chad, Ethiopia,
Kazakstan, the Lao People's Democratic Republic, Lesotho, Malawi,
Mali, Mongolia, Nepal, the Niger, Paraguay, Rwanda, Swaziland,
Tajikistan, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkmenistan,
Uganda, Uzbekistan, Zambia and Zimbabwe.


                        Alliance of Small Island States

Atlantic

     Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau and Sao Tome and Principe.

Caribbean

     Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Cuba,
Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia,
St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.

Indian Ocean

     The Comoros, Maldives, Mauritius and Seychelles.

Mediterranean

     Cyprus and Malta.

Pacific

     The Cook Islands,* Fiji, Kiribati,* the Marshall Islands,
Micronesia (Federated States of), Nauru,* Papua New Guinea, Samoa,
Solomon Islands, Tonga,* Tuvalu* and Vanuatu.

South China Sea

     Singapore.

Observers*

     American Samoa, Guam, the Netherlands Antilles, Niue and the U.S.
Virgin Islands.


________________________

     *   Not members of the United Nations.

 

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