United Nations

A/RES/50/103


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

29 February 1996

ORIGINAL:
ENGLISH


Fiftieth session
Agenda item 95 (e)


              RESOLUTION ADOPTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY

       [on the report of the Second Committee (A/50/617/Add.5)]


      50/103.   Implementation of the Programme of Action for the
                Least Developed Countries for the 1990s


     The General Assembly,

     Recalling its resolutions 45/206 of 21 December 1990, in which it
endorsed the Paris Declaration and the Programme of Action for the
Least Developed Countries for the 1990s,  1/ and 49/98 of 19
December 1994, in which it decided to convene 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,

     Reaffirming the Paris Declaration and the Programme of Action,
the prime objective of which is to arrest the further deterioration in
the socio-economic situation of the least developed countries, to
reactivate and accelerate growth and development in those countries
and, in the process, to set them on the path of sustained economic
growth and sustainable development,

     Expressing serious concern that the least developed countries as
a group have not been able to achieve many of the objectives of the
Programme of Action and that their overall socio-economic situation
has continued to deteriorate,

     Noting with concern the reduced flow of development resources to
the least developed countries, the resulting need to accord them
priority in the allocation of concessional resources and their
continued marginalization in world trade, as well as the fact that
many least developed countries face serious debt problems and more
than half are considered debt-distressed,

     Taking note of agreed conclusions 423 (XLI) of 31 March 1995 of
the Trade and Development Board  2/ on the annual review of progress
in the implementation of the Programme of Action for the Least
Developed Countries for the 1990s, which was underpinned by The Least
Developed Countries 1995 Report,  3/

     Taking note of the note by the Secretary-General transmitting the
report of 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,  4/

     1.   Reaffirms the Programme of Action for the Least Developed
Countries for the 1990s 1/ as the basis for continuing cooperation
between the least developed countries, which have the responsibility
for their own development, and their development partners, based on
shared responsibility and strengthened partnership, as well as its
commitment to the full and effective implementation of the Programme
of Action;

     2.   Endorses the measures and recommendations contained in the
report of 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,  5/ annexed to the present
resolution, which are designed to ensure the full implementation of
the Programme of Action over the second half of the decade;

     3.   Calls upon all Governments, international and multilateral
organizations, financial institutions and development funds, the
organs, organizations and programmes of the United Nations system, and
all other organizations concerned to take immediate, concrete and
adequate steps to implement the Programme of Action, taking full
account of the measures and recommendations of the mid-term global
review so as to ensure sustained economic growth and sustainable
development in the least developed countries and to enable them to
participate in and benefit from the process of globalization and
liberalization;

     4.   Notes that many least developed countries, for their part,
have been implementing courageous and far-reaching policy reforms and
adjustment measures in line with the Programme of Action, and in that
regard emphasizes the need for national policies and measures aimed at
establishing macroeconomic stability by rationalizing public
expenditure and adopting sound monetary and fiscal policies so as to
ensure a dynamic private sector by such means as providing a sound
legal framework and improving human resources development, living
standards, health and the status of women, and calls upon the
international community to provide adequate support thereto;

     5.   Strongly urges all donor countries to implement fully and
expeditiously their commitments in all relevant areas, including the
agreed menu of aid targets and commitments as set out in the Programme
of Action and support to reinforce structural adjustment reform, as
well as the measures agreed upon at the mid-term global review so as
to provide a significant and substantial increase in the aggregate
level of external support for the least developed countries, keeping
in mind the increased needs of those countries as well as the
requirements of the countries added to the list of the least developed
countries following the Second United Nations Conference on the Least
Developed Countries;
     
     6.   Stresses the critical importance of providing multilateral
assistance for the least developed countries, in the form of grant-
based multilateral programmes, and in that regard calls attention to
the need to ensure adequate replenishment of the International
Development Association and the soft-term windows of the regional
development banks;

     7.   Emphasizes the serious debt problems of the least developed
countries, which necessitate strengthened efforts to formulate an
international debt strategy that should include concrete measures to
alleviate the debt burden and increased concessional financing in
support of appropriate economic policy measures, which will be
critical to the revitalization of the growth and development of the
least developed countries, and encourages the Bretton Woods
institutions to expedite the ongoing consideration of ways to address
the issue of multilateral debt, including those concerning the least
developed countries;

     8.   Reiterates that increased opportunities for trade can help
reactivate economic growth in the least developed countries, calls for
significantly improved market access for their products and emphasizes
the importance of applying effectively the provisions of the Final Act
Embodying the Results of the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade
Negotiations,  6/ and further emphasizes in that context the
importance of taking concrete action, as appropriate, to fully and
expeditiously implement the Marrakesh Declaration 6/  as it relates to
the least developed countries and the ministerial decision on measures
in favour of the least developed countries, as well as the measures
agreed to at the mid-term global review, with a view to enabling the
least developed countries to maximize their benefit from the Final Act
and to cope with any adverse effects arising therefrom;

     9.   Also reiterates the importance attached to the
implementation of the ministerial decision on measures concerning
possible negative effects of reform programmes on the least developed
countries and net food-importing developing countries;

     10.  Reaffirms the importance of the follow-up and monitoring
mechanisms for implementation of the Programme of Action at the
national, regional and global levels as crucial to the implementation
of the Programme of Action;

     11.  Recalls that in its resolution 49/98, it invited the
Secretary-General to make recommendations to the General Assembly at
its fiftieth session, with a view to ensuring that the secretariat of
the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development had sufficient
capacity to undertake an effective follow-up of the outcome of the
mid-term global review and to follow up the conclusions and
recommendations relating to the least developed countries adopted by
major United Nations conferences, and in this regard takes note of the
relevant proposals of the Secretary-General related to the programme
budget for the biennium 1996-1997;

     12.  Emphasizes the importance of the annual reviews by the Trade
and Development Board of progress in the implementation of the
Programme of Action and the pressing need for enabling representatives
of the least developed countries to participate in such annual
reviews, and to that end requests the Secretary-General to defray the
cost of participation of representatives of least developed countries
by mobilizing extrabudgetary resources for that purpose and by
reallocating existing resources of the regular budget, if required;

     13.  Recalls that at the end of the decade, a global review and
appraisal of the implementation of the Programme of Action will be
carried out, in accordance with paragraph 140 of the Programme of
Action 1/ and  paragraph 7 (c) of General Assembly resolution 45/206
regarding the consideration by the Assembly at its fifty-second
session of the holding of a third United Nations conference on the
least developed countries;

     14.  Calls upon the United Nations Conference on Trade and
Development at its ninth session to take into account the outcome of
the High-level Intergovernmental Meeting on the Mid-term Global Review
of the Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the
1990s;

     15.  Requests the Secretary-General to submit to the General
Assembly at its fifty-second session a report on the implementation of
the present resolution.

                                             96th plenary meeting
                                                 20 December 1995


                              ANNEX

  MID-TERM GLOBAL REVIEW OF PROGRESS TOWARDS THE IMPLEMENTATION
                 OF THE PROGRAMME OF ACTION FOR
           THE LEAST DEVELOPED COUNTRIES FOR THE 1990s


                            Part One

 DECLARATION OF 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


     The Meeting

     Declares, in particular, the following:

     (a)  The participants in the Meeting have undertaken an
assessment of progress in the implementation of the Programme of
Action and agreed on concrete recommendations to ensure that the
Programme is more effectively implemented throughout the remaining
part of the decade.

     (b)  They reaffirmed their commitment to work cooperatively
towards achieving the prime objective of the Programme of Action which
is to arrest the further deterioration in the socio-economic situation
of the least developed countries, to reactivate and accelerate growth
and development in these countries and, in the process, to set them on
the path of economic growth and sustainable development based on
shared responsibility and strengthened partnership.

     (c)  The least developed countries as a group have not been able
to meet many of the objectives of the Programme of Action and their
overall socio-economic situation has continued to deteriorate.  This
deeply concerned the participants at the Meeting.  At the domestic
level, civil strife and recurrent natural disasters in some of the
least developed countries and the resulting social economic burdens,
macroeconomic imbalances and poor performance of the productive
sectors, inter alia the lack of adequate physical and institutional
infrastructures, have contributed to this deterioration.  Persistent
and serious debt and debt-servicing problems, very low levels of
exports, and a declining share in world trade and the insufficiency of
external finance, have had unfavourable consequences on their growth
and development.

     (d)  However, the least developed countries have continued to
implement, under many difficulties, wide-ranging and far-reaching
reforms.  In some countries these efforts, complemented by a
favourable external climate, have shown encouraging results.  Many
development partners have provided increased support to least
developed countries, although the commitment to provide them with a
significant and substantial increase in the aggregate level of
external support has not happened.

     (e)  The participants are determined to pursue their efforts to
implement the measures and recommendations agreed at the present
Meeting.  They are confident that the success of these efforts would
lead to a reactivation and acceleration of growth and development in
the least developed countries, and enable them to participate in and
benefit from the processes of globalization and liberalization.

     (f)  They call upon all Governments, the United Nations system,
regional and subregional organizations, and the competent
non-governmental organizations, to combine their efforts in
implementing the measures and recommendations agreed upon by the
present Meeting so as to ensure the success of the Programme of
Action.

     (g)  They firmly believe that, given political will on the part
of the least developed countries, which have the primary
responsibility for their development, and the support of the
international community, the least developed countries will be able to
enter the next century with better prospects for their peoples.


                            Part Two

       ASSESSMENT OF PROGRESS IN THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PROGRAMME OF
         ACTION FOR THE LEAST DEVELOPED COUNTRIES FOR THE 1990s AT THE
        NATIONAL LEVEL, AND PROGRESS IN INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT MEASURES

                          INTRODUCTION

1.   The Second United Nations Conference on the Least Developed
Countries, held in Paris in 1990, adopted the Paris Declaration and
the Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the
1990s.  The basic principles and aims of the Programme of Action are
as valid today as when they were drawn up.  The prime objective of the
Programme of Action is to arrest the further deterioration in the
socio-economic situation of least developed countries (LDCs), to
reactivate and accelerate growth and development in these countries
and, in the process, to set them on the path of sustained growth and
development.  The policies and measures in support of these objectives
set out in the Programme of Action revolve around the following major
areas:  establishment of a macroeconomic policy framework conducive to
sustained economic growth and long-term development; development and
mobilization of human resources; development, expansion and
modernization of the productive base; reversing the trend towards
environmental degradation; promotion of an integrated policy of rural
development aimed at increasing food production, enhancing rural
income and enhancing non-agricultural sector activities; and the
provision of adequate external support.

2.   It was noted with great concern that only one country, i.e.
Botswana, has graduated from the group of LDCs since the early 1970s. 
At the same time the number of LDCs has increased from 41 at the time
of the Paris Conference in September 1990 to 48 countries at present,
without a proportionate increase in support measures despite national
and international efforts.


          I.  MAIN DEVELOPMENTS DURING THE EARLY 1990s

3.   Despite vigorous efforts by LDCs to implement economic reforms as
envisaged by the Programme of Action, the LDCs as a group have not
been able to meet many of the objectives of the Programme of Action
and their overall socio-economic situation has continued to
deteriorate.  Several factors, both domestic and external, have
contributed to the overall socio-economic deterioration in the LDCs. 
The domestic factors include:  civil strife and recurrent natural
disasters in some LDCs and the resulting social and economic burdens,
political instability, macroeconomic imbalances, manifested in large
fiscal and balance-of-payments deficits, in many cases the
unfavourable short-term impact of macroeconomic policy adjustments on
specific areas, in particular the most disadvantaged and vulnerable
sections of the population, and poor performance of the productive
sectors including lack of adequate physical infrastructure.  The
external factors include:  persistent debt and debt-servicing
problems; the decline in the share of LDCs in world trade and their
continued marginalization; the inadequacy of external finance; and the
emergence of new claimants for aid.

4.   According to United Nations Conference on Trade and Development 
(UNCTAD) statistics, the real GDP growth rate of the LDCs averaged
only 1.7 per cent per annum during the first four years of the 1990s,
having declined from the growth rate of 2.3 per cent achieved during
the 1980s.  Despite the recovery in the world economy, the situation
in the LDCs continues to be precarious, although a few of them made
limited progress.  With population growing at an average annual rate
of 2.9 per cent, GDP per capita suffered an annual 1.1 per cent
decline, thus threatening to worsen the already precarious income and
consumption levels, as well as to widen the savings-investment gap in
these countries.

5.   While the slow-down in economic growth rates was common to both
Asian and African LDCs, the former, which benefited, inter alia, from
a relatively favourable regional environment, attained an average per
capita output growth of 1.4 per cent in the 1990s, as compared with a
2.1 per cent per annum fall suffered by the latter.  There have also
been significant inter-country variations in growth performance. 
Thus, it is encouraging to note that, despite the poor performance for
the group as a whole, nearly one quarter of LDCs were able to attain
positive per capita income gains in the early 1990s.  A strong
expansion of agricultural production, internal stability, strong
government commitments, a sound political and regulatory framework for
development, complemented by significant external support, among other
factors, have contributed to raising economic growth rates.

6.   The worsening of socio-economic conditions in many LDCs in the
1990s has increasingly been translated into a marked deterioration in
human welfare as reflected in reduced caloric intakes, increased
mortality and morbidity, the re-emergence and spread of diseases,
lower school enrolment, further marginalization of the weakest members
of society, and other signals of acute social distress, as further
reviewed below in section V.

7.   Overall, the external environment facing LDCs has remained
difficult.  As these countries moved into the 1990s, despite an
increase in exports of manufactured goods, their share in world
exports and imports fell by more than three eighths and one third from
the already low levels of 0.7 per cent and 1.0 per cent respectively
in 1980.  Despite vigorous efforts to diversify the largely
commodity-based composition of their exports, the LDCs' economies
continued to be vulnerable to vicissitudes and instability in
commodity markets.  Official development assistance (ODA), on which
LDCs depend principally for their external financing, registered a
decline over the early 1990s, and the aid outlook remains uncertain. 
Although a large number of LDCs have adopted national regulatory
frameworks conducive to foreign investment, they have not yet
attracted significant foreign direct investment (FDI).  Despite
measures adopted to alleviate their external debt burden, this burden
continued to be unsustainably high for many LDCs and seriously
compromises their adjustment and development efforts.

8.   Some developing countries are also important development partners
of LDCs. They have technical assistance and training programmes from
which the latter have benefited.  The potential for expanded economic
and technical cooperation between LDCs and other developing countries
merits further exploration and support by the international community,
especially in view of the new opportunities emerging with the dynamic
growth experience of a number of those other developing countries.  As
a means of maximizing the potential for such South-South cooperation,
triangular funding arrangements which include the active contribution
of developed countries and relevant international organizations can be
initiated.

9.   Several LDCs have been taking a number of measures to promote
trade with neighbouring countries.  For example, a number of African
LDCs, especially land-locked ones, have sought to establish some form
of free trade area or customs union at the subregional level. 
However, the establishment of such subregional arrangements has
encountered a number of obstacles which have limited their
effectiveness.

10.  In sum, therefore, the requisite progress has not been made in
most LDCs during the first half of the 1990s in realizing the overall
objective of the Programme of Action, although some progress has been
recorded in a number of LDCs as a result of the implementation of
appropriate policies.  Furthermore, the ongoing processes of economic
globalization and liberalization are likely to have profound
consequences for the future development of the LDCs.  These processes,
which offer great opportunities for growth and development, also
entail risks of instability and marginalization.  LDCs as a whole have
made limited progress in overcoming structural constraints,
infrastructural insufficiencies, debt overhang, promoting and
diversifying the enterprise and export sectors, attracting foreign
investment and creating a sufficient technological base.  In this
context, most of the LDCs will face globalization and liberalization
from the situation of a constrained environment.


                 II.  THE POLICY REFORM PROCESS

11.  In recent years, most LDCs have embarked on a process of
structural adjustment and wide-ranging reforms, often under
internationally agreed frameworks for structural and sectoral
adjustment.  Important areas of policy focus have been towards coping
with fiscal and balance-of-payments deficits, improved mobilization
and use of domestic resources, through tax reforms, improving the
effectiveness of the public sector and providing greater opportunities
for the private sector.  LDCs have also initiated reforms in critical
areas such as population, education, health, food security and trade
policy.

12.  There are, however, some cases where the pace and scope of these
reforms contrast with the limited progress achieved.  In particular,
despite success in securing short-term macroeconomic stability,
certain situations sometimes existed where the reforms appear neither
to have helped in lifting structural constraints facing the economies
of LDCs nor to have improved supply capacity and export
diversification.  Thus, while it was recognized that the reform
process sometimes could not guarantee immediate results, it was
emphasized that the efforts of LDCs provided a context in which, over
the longer term, growth and structural transformation could reinforce
each other under more favourable circumstances.

13.  The experience of LDCs points towards a number of factors which
determined the success or otherwise of reform measures.  Prime among
them has been government commitment to reforms, the appropriateness of
national policy contents, sequencing of reforms and the level of
external financial support to underpin reform efforts.  Problems
inherent in policy design, particularly the neglect of structural
conditions and endowment-related considerations, retarded and even
reversed the momentum of reforms.  Inadequate domestic and external
resource mobilization has been a particularly critical constraint for
development in the LDCs.

14.  The socio-economic difficulties of most LDCs have been further
exacerbated by a specific set of environmental problems, such as land
degradation and erosion, drought and desertification, which impair
prospects for their development.  These environmental problems have
been aggravated in LDCs by a number of complex and interrelated
factors, which include poverty and poverty-linked population pressures
and cross-border refugee movements resulting from man-made and natural
disasters.  A noteworthy development has been that LDCs have
demonstrated growing awareness of environmental issues and problems
and many have implemented policies, strategies and institutional
mechanisms to deal with them.  The special situation and needs of the
LDCs should be given special priority.  International cooperation for
sustainable development should be strengthened in order to support and
complement the efforts of the LDCs.  In particular, new and additional
financial resources from all sources, both public and private, that
are both adequate and predictable are necessary for environmentally
sound development programmes and projects.  However, adequate
international support is needed to facilitate the transition from
emergency relief to rehabilitation and development, and in particular
in the context of activities under the International Decade for
Natural Disaster Reduction and the promotion of national
capacity-building to help prevent and mitigate future emergencies.

15.  In many LDCs, it is encouraging to note that far-reaching changes
in the system of governance, ranging from free elections to democratic
constitutional reforms, have ushered in new possibilities for
establishing more participatory and transparent systems of government. 
Generally, LDCs which achieved a revival of economic growth were those
where greater progress has been made in securing popular participation
and respect of human rights.  In a number of LDCs, the consequences of
man-made and other disasters have continued to drain resources,
hampering overall long-term development.  In some of these LDCs, armed
conflict has often resulted in large-scale displacement of population,
food emergencies and the unleashing of other destabilizing forces. 
The developmental task of Governments in meeting the socio-economic
challenges posed became highly constrained under these circumstances. 
Besides destabilization caused by the presence of a large number of
refugees, some LDCs have been obliged to provide asylum, with
far-reaching implications for the budget, the environment impacts,
other resource needs and related security problems which require
urgent concrete international support for those countries hosting the
refugees.  The LDCs undergoing fundamental political, economic and
social transformation, in the process of consolidating peace and
democracy require the support of the international community.


          III.  DEVELOPMENTS IN THE PRODUCTIVE SECTORS

16.  During the early 1990s, agriculture in most LDCs has been
characterized by lags in production growth relative to that of the
population, continued  declines in terms of trade and loss of market
shares for traditional agricultural commodities.  Agricultural
production in LDCs fell by 1.1 per cent per annum in per capita terms
during the period 1990-1993.  Several LDCs responded to the continued
poor performance of the sector by introducing reform measures,
particularly reforming producer price incentives and marketing systems
and the provision of essential agricultural inputs.  While the overall
thrust of these measures has been the removal of barriers to the
private sector in agriculture, they have been unable to provide
support services.  A particularly disquieting trend in many LDCs is
the growing incidence of man-made and recurrent natural disasters such
as drought, flood, and devastating cyclones, which are the most
important causes of food insecurity in many African LDCs.  The
situation has been further exacerbated by declines in food output and
limited capacity to offset shortfalls through imports.

17.  Notwithstanding the wide variations in manufacturing growth rates
among LDCs, the performance of the manufacturing sector on the whole
has weakened in recent years, manufacturing activities have remained
relatively undiversified, and the utilization of capacity and
resources has been low.  The sector growth rate decelerated to 1.4 per
cent per annum during the early 1990s, from 2.1 per cent per annum in
the 1980s.  While some one third of LDCs maintained a positive growth
of manufacturing value added (MVA) in the 1980s and early 1990s, most
LDCs experienced stagnation and even declines in manufacturing output. 
The response of the LDCs to deteriorating manufacturing performance
has been through adjustments of macroeconomic policies and
instruments, and sectoral measures to augment manufacturing output and
efficiency.  At the sectoral level, the LDCs have reoriented their
incentive structure and introduced changes in institutional policies
and regulatory arrangements in order to improve the macroeconomic
environment for manufacturing production.

18.  The LDCs have made major efforts to improve their transport and
transit infrastructure systems during the last decade.  The budgetary
constraints faced by LDCs have, however, gradually undermined the
financial capabilities of Governments to maintain the momentum of
these efforts.  These constraints are particularly felt in land-locked
and island LDCs, where inadequate physical infrastructure poses major
obstacles to structural transformation and economic development.


      IV.  LAND-LOCKED AND ISLAND LEAST DEVELOPED COUNTRIES

19.  Sixteen of the 48 least developed countries are also land-locked. 
The high transport costs which result from their particular
geographical handicaps continue to have a significant adverse impact
on their international trade performance and overall economic
development.  In order to alleviate the particular problems which
these countries face, the land-locked and transit developing
countries, as well as the donor community, adopted a Global Framework
for Transport Cooperation,  7/  which contains a comprehensive set
of recommendations for concrete action at the national and subregional
levels designed to improve the efficiency of transit transport
systems.  The Framework underscores the need for extensive financial
and technical support by the donor community.  The donor community
recognizes this.  Furthermore, the Framework calls upon UNCTAD and the
regional economic commissions to play a leading role in promoting the
implementation of the agreed actions.

20.  Island least developed countries continue to face particular
problems resulting from their smallness, insularity and remoteness
from the major economic centres.  They are vulnerable to a number of
adverse factors, including environmental degradation.  Poor internal
and external transport links to world markets negatively compound
their ability to participate effectively in world trade.  The
Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island
Developing States,  8/ adopted in Barbados in May 1994, outlines a
range of measures that need to be undertaken in order to alleviate the
particular problems which these countries face.  The Programme calls
for increased support by the international community to ensure
effective implementation of these measures in conjunction with
national measures in support of sustainable development.


                 V.  HUMAN RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT

21.  LDCs have adopted and are implementing policies, measures and
programmes to tackle key problems in human resources development. 
However, the expansion of national population programmes within the
overall framework of human resources development has been difficult
for a number of reasons, such as funding constraints, among others. 
These programmes have been complemented by strong efforts to change
attitudes, including persuasion and campaigns relying on traditional
and modern information techniques.

22.  Despite major difficulties, there have been some encouraging
results achieved by some LDCs, particularly in the areas of health and
education. However, in many LDCs, mortality rates continue to be high. 
The situation is exacerbated by poor sanitation and hygienic
conditions and the lack of safe drinking water supplies.  Acquired
immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and tropical epidemic and endemic
diseases have become a major cause of death in recent years in some
LDCs, as these countries have limited resources to deal effectively
with such endemics and epidemics.  The economic crisis faced by LDCs
has further undermined health conditions in many countries as living
standards have fallen, health services have been cut owing to
budgetary pressures, and the availability of imported medicines and
other medical supplies has dwindled.  Education services continue to
be affected by deteriorating economic conditions, in particular by
budgetary constraints. There is need for investment in the development
of human capacities, particularly in programmes of health, nutrition,
education and training and population activities.

23.  Although women constitute half of human resources in the LDCs,
they have continued to be hampered by their marginal position from
playing their full role in socio-economic development.  Despite
measures being taken to enhance their role in development, women in
the LDCs still lag behind their male counterparts as well as women
from other developing countries in all areas of social and economic
development.  They face particular problems related to gender
discrimination, such as limited access to productive resources,
restricted education and training opportunities, poor health status,
low representation in strategic decision-making positions, as well as
having to bear a high dependency burden:  the more so, as deepening
poverty is felt more acutely by women-headed households.  In addition,
prevalent attitudes regarding women's abilities and their proper
socio-economic role, and women's own lack of knowledge about their
rights, have kept them away from mainstream development.  The lack of
follow-up of decisions and internationally agreed recommendations
aiming at the advancement of the status of women has also been a major
cause of the poor prevailing situation.


             VI.  EXTERNAL TRADE AND THE IMPLICATIONS OF
                  THE FINAL ACT OF THE URUGUAY ROUND

24.  The Programme of Action underlined that it is essential that all
countries contribute to developing a more open, credible and durable
multilateral trading system, recognizing that the results of this
process could be a reflection, inter alia, of their respective weight
in world trade.  It is encouraging to note that the LDCs have
contributed to this process by implementing important trade
liberalization measures.  The Programme of Action also called for
important support measures in favour of LDCs in such areas as
duty-free treatment of their exports, exemptions from quotas and
ceilings and the use of simplified and flexible rules of origin. 
Progress made in the provision of such support has been important in
the case of a number of countries.  While a number of LDCs have been
able to increase their exports, the overall trade situation of the
LDCs has deteriorated, in that their share in global trade has
continued to decline.  Although globalization and liberalization offer
opportunities to LDCs, these processes also pose major challenges,
particularly in the form of increased global competition.  Despite
recent improvements, world commodity markets have remained volatile
and depressed.  As a result the LDCs have become further marginalized
and this trend needs to be reversed.

25.  The extremely low export capacity of most LDCs has continued to
be one of the major obstacles to growth and a source of the high
dependence on ODA for financing the necessary investment, imports and
technical support for development.  Difficulties have persisted in
expanding the external trading opportunities of LDCs, as commodity and
market diversification measures have been rendered difficult
principally by lack of investment, technology and skills to augment
levels of production and efficiency.

26.  LDCs have been granted special tariff preferences under various 
Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) schemes and other preferential
arrangements.  Following the conclusion of the Uruguay Round, a number
of countries have taken steps to improve their GSP schemes in favour
of LDCs.  However, some schemes still exclude a number of products of
export interest to LDCs (e.g. textiles, clothing, carpets, footwear,
leather goods etc.) and have rigid rules of origin.  As the ability of
many LDCs to utilize such facilities remains constrained, only a part
of GSP-covered imports from LDCs has received preferential treatment. 
Thus the use of GSP schemes, in particular by African LDCs, has
remained limited.

27.  The adoption of the Final Act of the Uruguay Round 6/ will have
significant consequences for the trading prospects of LDCs, in
particular as regards preferences and the competitiveness of LDC
exports.  Increased transparency of trade regimes and the reduction of
trade barriers, particularly tariff-binding on agricultural products
and reduction in tariff escalation, as foreseen in the Marrakesh
arrangements, provide LDCs with increased opportunities in the long
run.  On the other hand, concerns have been expressed that LDCs may
suffer erosion of preferential margins in relation to many of their
exports to major markets and a possible consequential loss in export
market shares and export earnings.  In addition, the net
food-importing LDCs may face higher import bills, at least in the
short run, resulting from the agreement on agriculture.  In the long
run, the Final Act poses to LDCs the twin challenges of, first,
developing and strengthening institutional and human capacities to
formulate and manage legislation implementing the complex set of
agreements of the Round, and secondly, building capacities for
maximizing opportunities arising from these agreements.  In this
regard, the provisions of the Marrakesh Declaration and the
ministerial decisions in favour of LDCs should be fully implemented.

28.  A number of developed countries have set up in their own
countries import promotion agencies in order to promote more trade
with LDCs.  Such agencies have played a helpful role in providing
support services and in acting as contact points for business/trade
missions from LDCs, undertaking market research and giving publicity
to LDC products.

29.  Trade among the LDCs, on the one hand, and that between LDCs and
other developing countries within the same subregional or regional
economic groupings, on the other hand, remains insignificant as a
share of international trade.  Only a few LDCs at present receive
preferential treatment for their exports under the Global System of
Trade Preferences among Developing Countries (GSTP) on a
non-reciprocal basis.  Additionally, subregional and regional trade is
constrained by a number of obstacles, such as the fact that most
countries produce similar export products, that subregional transport
infrastructure is geared to trade with developed countries, that
progress in tariff reduction is limited due to fiscal revenue
implications for preference-giving countries, and that international
support remains limited.


                     VII.  EXTERNAL FINANCE

30.  It was noted with concern that ODA remains the single most
important source of external financing for LDCs.  While welcoming
improved aid performance by some donors, at the same time it was noted
that overall aid performance by donors fell short of the commitments
undertaken in the Programme of Action.  ODA flows (actual
disbursements) from Development Assistance Committee (DAC) countries,
and multilateral agencies mainly financed by them, to the LDCs
declined sharply in 1993.  In absolute terms, ODA flows fell by $1.5
billion.  Almost $1 billion of this was due to a drop in multilateral
aid flows to LDCs.  In view of the important role of multilateral
funding in meeting the financial needs of LDCs and the uncertain
resource outlook for some of the major multilateral financial
institutions and grant-based programmes, this is a particularly
worrying development.  The ODA/GNP ratio for DAC donors as a whole
declined to 0.08 per cent in 1993 as compared with 0.09 per cent in
1990.  Moreover, this shortfall has to be seen against the agreed menu
of aid targets and/or commitments as set out in paragraph 23 of the
Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the 1990s 1/
which call for a significant and substantial increase in resources to
LDCs and include, inter alia, the targets of 0.15 per cent and 0.20
per cent of donor GNP as ODA.

31.  Donors have modified and improved their policies in the area of
aid modalities.  Most DAC donors have now shifted to a grant basis in
their aid programmes for LDCs, resulting in a further increase in the
grant element of bilateral ODA (which averaged 97 per cent in 1993). 
Most multilateral funding to LDCs is also on highly concessional
terms.  Multilateral funding constitutes an important complement to
bilateral ODA for the LDCs and it is crucial that the base of this
multilateral funding be sufficiently broadened.  International efforts
should continue to mobilize resources to LDCs implementing structural
adjustment programmes, such as the World Bank-led Special Programme of
Assistance (SPA) process, which in some cases have resulted in limited
progress.


            VIII.  EXTERNAL DEBT AND RELIEF MEASURES

32.  The external debt and its servicing burden remains a crucial
issue for the majority of LDCs.  According to Organization for
Economic Cooperation and Development/Development Assistance Committee
(OECD/DAC) information, LDC total debt stock amounted to $127 billion
in 1993, corresponding to 76 per cent of their combined GDP.  It
appears that for half of these countries, their external debt is equal
to or exceeds their respective GDP.  The difficulties many LDCs have
in meeting their external obligations, in the context of the critical
current economic situation and their poor export performance, is
reflected in the relatively low levels of debt service paid in
relation to scheduled payments.  The share of multilateral debt in
total long-term debt, as well as debt service, has increased
considerably in recent years.  Thus, in 1993 the multilateral debt
constituted around 36 per cent of total debt of LDCs as compared with
27 per cent in 1984.  The corresponding share in total debt service
during this period increased even more, from less than 30 per cent to
almost 50 per cent.  This increase partly reflects the "lender of last
resort function" of the international financial institutions and the
fact that an increasing number of bilateral creditors are
relinquishing many of their ODA claims to LDCs and have shifted from
credit lending to grants.  Debt-relief measures taken so far have not
yet fully provided an effective and durable solution to the
outstanding debt and debt-servicing burden of LDCs, although important
relief measures have been taken to reduce their debt stock and debt-
service obligations.  In particular, following the adoption of the
Toronto terms in 1988 (and enhanced Toronto terms in 1991), from which
19 LDCs benefited, the Paris Club in 1994 improved the debt treatment
of the poorest countries by adopting the "Naples terms".  These may
constitute a step forward for the LDCs but might not be sufficient by
themselves to resolve their external debt problem.  Eight LDCs have
already benefited from these provisions, which notably offer the
possibilities to reduce the eligible debt of the poorest and most
indebted countries by 50 to 67 per cent.


         IX.  ARRANGEMENTS FOR IMPLEMENTATION, FOLLOW-UP AND
              MONITORING OF THE PROGRAMME OF ACTION

                     A.  The national level

33.  At the national level, review arrangements, including United
Nations Development Programme (UNDP)-sponsored round tables and the
World Bank consultative and aid groups, have been further consolidated
during the early 1990s, with additional countries joining or rejoining
the process and meetings taking place more frequently and on a more
regular basis.  A strengthened country review process was considered
the principal means of policy dialogue, and for coordinating the aid
efforts of development partners with the development programmes of
LDCs as well as mobilizing the required resources for their
implementation.  In all, over 60 full-scale consultative aid groups
and round table or similar meetings were organized from the adoption
of the Programme of Action until early 1995.  While results in terms
of resource mobilization have varied between countries, these meetings
no doubt have an important role to play in improving aid flows to LDCs
and in aid coordination.  An important aspect of the country review
process in recent years has been the attempt to link these
arrangements more closely to national policy-making and programming.


                     B.  The regional level

34.  At the regional level, the Programme of Action called for
monitoring progress in economic cooperation between LDCs and other
developing countries, particularly those in the same region.  It also
called for organizing cluster meetings to improve and strengthen
existing cooperation arrangements at the regional and subregional
levels.  The United Nations regional commissions have, as part of
their ongoing work, continued to follow up and monitor the
implementation of the Programme of Action in LDCs in their respective
regions. The Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific
(ESCAP) has established a Special Body on Least Developed and
Land-locked Developing Countries.  The Economic Commission for Africa
(ECA) has continued to consider progress in the implementation of the
Programme of Action in African LDCs during the annual meetings of the
Commission.  However, owing to resource constraints in the United
Nations the cluster meeting process has not been initiated.


                      C.  The global level

35.  At the global level, UNCTAD has responsibility as the focal point
for the monitoring, follow-up and review of the implementation of the
Programme of Action.  In addition to the regular follow-up, monitoring
and review of progress in the implementation of the Programme of
Action at the global level by the UNCTAD Trade and Development Board,
efforts have also been made to promote the full mobilization and
coordination of all organs, organizations and bodies of the United
Nations system for the purpose of the implementation and follow-up of
the Programme of Action, but more remains to be done.  Individual
agencies have continued to develop and implement assistance programmes
for the LDCs and pursued their advocacy and policy advisory missions
with regard to these countries.  There is need for regular reporting
of progress made by various agencies.


                           Part Three

                         RECOMMENDATIONS

36.  The present recommendations are based on the assessment of
progress in the implementation of the Programme of Action for the
Least Developed Countries for the 1990s presented above, as well as on
information contained in The Least Developed Countries 1995 Report, 3/
and recommendations made by the expert groups convened by the UNCTAD
secretariat as part of the preparations for 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.  These recommendations cover a number of key
areas of concern for the LDCs.


                      I.  MAJOR CHALLENGES

37.  The challenges facing LDCs in the second half of the 1990s are to
reverse the decline in economic and social conditions, to promote
sustainable economic growth, development and structural transformation
and to avoid becoming further marginalized in the international
economy.  An intensified policy commitment by both LDC Governments and
the international community will be required to meet these challenges. 
In implementing domestic policies, LDCs should endeavour to focus on
measures to restore and maintain macroeconomic stability; to promote
the growth and diversification of exports; to strengthen an enabling
environment for private sector investment and entrepreneurship; to
enhance human resources development; to continue to implement
population and development programmes with full respect for the
various religious and ethical values and cultural background of each
country's people; to adhere to basic human rights recognized by the
international community which strike an optimal balance in the
interrelationship between their population, their natural resource
base and the environment, taking into account economic imperatives; to
strengthen the infrastructure; to promote good governance as mentioned
in the Programme of Action; to broaden popular participation in the
development process; and to ensure the full utilization of human
resources along with democratization, promotion of good governance,
observance of the rule of law and peaceful resolution of any civil
conflicts where such conditions exist.  The broad outlines of a
domestic economic policy framework conducive to meeting the challenges
facing the LDCs are delineated below.


               II.  THE ECONOMIC POLICY FRAMEWORK

38.  (a)  Macroeconomic stability would require rationalization and
sound management of public expenditure, properly planned monetary
growth and maintenance of appropriate exchange rates commensurate with
ensuring a sustainable external balance;

     (b)  Policies to increase export earnings, including appropriate
exchange rate and trade policy reforms to reverse the decline in the
share of world trade of the LDCs, diversify the composition of their
export structure and to facilitate their ability to exploit
opportunities arising from the Final Act of the Uruguay Round, are
essential;

     (c)  This will entail strengthening of existing policies and
measures for the promotion and support of the private sector
complemented with public investment, including policy-based incentives
or the adoption of new policies and measures where necessary;

     (d)  The potential for economic and technical cooperation between
LDCs and other developing countries merits further exploration.  The
international community should help LDCs promote trade links and
should take appropriate measures to support such trade links,
particularly subregional and regional trade.  Such trade could be
promoted by identifying complementarities in production structures
among countries, strengthening the institutional and human capacities
for the operation of subregional trading arrangements, establishing
subregional trade information networks, and associating the private
sector more closely with the integration process.  There are potential
gains for the LDCs in participating in the Global System of Trade
Preferences among Developing Countries (GSTP).  LDCs should be
encouraged to accede to GSTP and be provided with appropriate
technical assistance to enable them to benefit fully from the system. 
Least developed countries should strengthen subregional, regional and
interregional cooperation in order to benefit from economies of scale
and to attract foreign direct investment more easily from developed
and other developing countries.  More attention should be given to
promoting triangular cooperation and technical cooperation among
developing countries (TCDC) as well as South-South joint ventures and
economic cooperation among developing countries (ECDC) investment in
these countries;

     (e)  The growth of a dynamic private enterprise sector requires
an appropriate economic, fiscal and legal framework.  Essential
features of this framework are stable and predictable policies, tax,
monetary and trade policies which ensure adequate incentives for
investment, and a legal system which protects property rights and
commercial contracts.  These features are also needed to tap into
international capital flows in the form of direct and portfolio
investments;

     (f)  Enhancing human resources development is imperative if LDCs
are to raise productivity, output and living standards.  With the
support of the international community, LDC Governments should
intensify their efforts to raise education and training standards,
promote life-long learning, improve the health status of their
populations, and strengthen the status of women, by implementing
appropriate policies in accordance with the provisions of the
International Conference on Population and Development  9/ and the
Fourth World Conference on Women;  10/

     (g)  To enable women in LDCs to play their full role in
development, efforts should focus on legislative and administrative
reforms to give women full and equal access to economic resources,
including the right to inheritance and to ownership of land and other
property, credit, natural resources and appropriate technologies, and
to involve women directly in planning, decision-making, implementation
and development of macroeconomic and social policies, programmes and
projects.  Special initiatives and innovative schemes which can give
women increased access to credit, training, information on marketing
channels, as well as other support services, to alleviate the burden
of their role as mothers and housewives, should be adopted;

     (h)  The economic policy strategies adopted by the LDCs should be
consistent with the need to eradicate the chronic levels of poverty
afflicting these countries, in particular by promoting the development
of the private sector and entrepreneurship, by ensuring that all
people have access to productive resources, and benefit from a policy
and regulatory environment that enhances their overall capacities and
empowers them to benefit from expanding employment and economic
opportunities;

     (i)  LDC Governments are attempting to implement comprehensive
structural adjustment reforms in very difficult circumstances, often
in the face of severe administrative and financial constraints.  Many
of the constraints that they face are structural, deep-seated and not
amenable to short-term solutions.  Consequently, successful structural
adjustment reforms require a government commitment to reform, and a
medium-term to long-term perspective for implementation;

     (j)  In order to ensure that structural adjustment programmes
include social development goals, in particular the eradication of
poverty, the generation of productive employment and the enhancement
of social integration, LDC Governments, in cooperation with the
international financial institutions and other international
organizations, should:

     (i)  Protect basic social programmes and expenditure, in
          particular those affecting the poor and vulnerable segments
          of society, from budget reductions;

    (ii)  Review the impact of structural adjustment programmes on
          social development by means of gender-sensitive
          social-impact assessments and other relevant methods, and
          develop policies to reduce their negative effects and
          improve their positive impact;

   (iii)  Further promote policies enabling small enterprises,
          cooperatives and other forms of micro-enterprises to develop
          their capacities for income generation and employment
          creation;

     (k)  Agreeing on a mutual commitment between interested developed
and developing country partners to allocate, on average, 20 per cent
of ODA and 20 per cent of the national budget, respectively, to basic
social programmes, and in this context, the proposal of the Government
of Norway to host a meeting in 1996 among interested countries and
representatives of relevant international institutions, with a view to
considering how the 20/20 initiative can be applied operationally, is
welcomed;

     (l)  Commitment of the LDCs and the assistance of the
international community are essential components for the success of
structural adjustment programmes.  Without such support, the long-term
objectives and the sustainability of the programmes will be
jeopardized.  In this regard, therefore, renewed commitments by the
international community as defined by the Programme of Action adopted
in Paris and other relevant instruments to support the efforts of the
LDCs with adequate resources is vital.


               III.  EXTERNAL TRADE AND INVESTMENT

39.  The extremely low export capacity of LDCs, their very low level
of export receipts, and the fluctuation and the resulting sharp
limitation on their capacity to import, are the major structural
constraints to developing LDC trade.  This situation is more acute in
the case of land-locked and island least developed countries, as their
external trade is further impeded by high transportation costs.

40.  Action by the international community, including increased
technical assistance as foreseen in the Marrakesh Ministerial Decision
on Measures in Favour of LDCs, complemented by adequate financial
support, can help LDC efforts to increase export earnings through
increased production in both the traditional and the modern sectors of
the economy, through diversification of the commodity structure and
export markets, and thereby help to obtain better prices for their
export commodities.  It can also help LDCs to mitigate any adverse
effects of the implementation of the Uruguay Round agreements and to
integrate themselves better into the international trading system. 
The interest of LDCs regarding the idea of considering the setting up
of a "safety net" to help them cope with any such effects in the
immediate and short term was noted.  The Final Act of the Uruguay
Round of multilateral trade negotiations, including the special
clauses providing differential and more favourable treatment, and the
decision on measures in favour of least developed countries, provide
the institutional framework for these matters.


                                A

41.  All provisions of the Final Act of the Uruguay Round 6/ should be
effectively applied.  In this regard, concrete action, as appropriate,
should be taken, consistent with the Final Act, to fully and
expeditiously implement the Marrakesh Declaration as it relates to
LDCs, and the Ministerial Decision on Measures in Favour of LDCs, and
to give effect to the Ministerial Decision on Measures Concerning the
Possible Negative Effects of the Reform Programme on Least Developed
and Net Food-importing Countries, with a view to enhancing LDC
participation in the multilateral trading system, taking into account
the impact of trade liberalization, and the relatively weak capacities
of LDCs to participate in an increasingly competitive global market in
goods and services.

42.  Consideration shall be given to further improving GSP schemes and
other schemes  for products of particular export interest to LDCs,
e.g. agricultural products, fish and fish products, leather and
footwear, and textiles and clothing, through, where possible, the
widening of product coverage; the reduction of procedural
complexities, and the avoidance of frequent changes in the schemes. 
Consideration should also be given to a significant reduction in
tariff escalation.

43.  The rules set out in the various agreements and instruments and
the transitional provisions of the Uruguay Round, including those
relating to anti-dumping, countervailing duties, safeguards, and rules
of origin, should be applied in a flexible and supportive manner for
the least developed countries.

44.  As for textiles and clothing, consideration should be given, to
the extent possible, to permitting meaningful increases in the
possibilities of access for exports from LDCs.

45.  In the area of services, efforts should be directed at building
and strengthening the efficiency and competitiveness of the weak
domestic service sectors of the LDCs.  Their participation in trade in
services could be enhanced by effective application of article IV of
the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) with special
priority given to LDCs.  Furthermore, ways should be explored to
facilitate LDC access to information technology and networks and
distribution channels, and to give easy access to information to LDC
service suppliers through contact points to be established, in
accordance with GATS.  It was noted that the movement of labour for
the provision of services to other countries is an area of interest to
LDCs.

46.  Care should be taken so that domestic laws and regulations of
importing countries in areas such as labour and the environment do not
constrain the export opportunities of LDCs in a manner inconsistent
with the Final Act of the Uruguay Round.

47.  The home countries of foreign investment are urged to encourage
investment in LDCs by taking appropriate supportive action.

48.  South-South cooperation at the subregional and regional levels
should be promoted to enhance regional and subregional trade by
providing market access for LDCs by neighbouring countries. 
Appropriate measures should be taken to promote, support and
strengthen trade initiatives of LDCs in subregional and regional
groupings.  Efforts of the LDCs to diversify their exports need to be
supported so that their trading prospects become more viable.  Such
cooperation can be critical in complementing actions by LDCs and their
development partners to attract foreign investment to LDCs.  Measures
should be taken to grant preferential access to the exports of LDCs on
a non-reciprocal basis by developing countries under the GSTP, and
also to augment resources, where appropriate, for promoting economic
cooperation among developing countries (ECDC) and technical
cooperation among developing countries (TCDC) through multilateral and
bilateral institutions.  Developing countries should, inter alia,
introduce preferential schemes for LDCs under the GSTP.


                                B

49.  Technical assistance should be refocused and wherever necessary
intensified to help LDCs adapt to and take advantage of the new
trading environment created by the conclusion of the Uruguay Round. 
Common efforts of donors, international organizations as well as the
LDCs themselves are needed in the implementation of the commitments
undertaken and for maximizing the opportunities arising from the
Uruguay Round agreements.  Main areas of technical assistance in this
regard should include:

     (a)  Enhancing institutional and human capacities to comply with
the new obligations arising from membership of the World Trade
Organization (WTO) or to assist LDCs to accede to WTO, as well as to
formulate and implement future trade policy;

     (b)  Developing and strengthening supply capabilities in relation
to tradeable goods and services, and the competitiveness of
enterprises;

     (c)  Improving the microeconomic trading environment and
expanding the use of new communications technologies in the service of
trade through the UNCTAD Trade Efficiency Programme;

     (d)  Enhancing the capability to make full use of GSP schemes;

     (e)  Supporting commodity diversification and marketing efforts;

     (f)  Expanding the trading and investment opportunities of LDCs,
in particular, by identifying new trading opportunities which could be
carried out, inter alia, through import promotion agencies by
developed and other countries, developing an environment conducive to
attracting foreign investment, and through advice and technical
support.

50.  With a view to achieving these aims, it is essential to eliminate
duplication and strengthen cooperation between relevant international
organizations, in particular UNCTAD, WTO and the International Trade
Centre UNCTAD/GATT, in order to conserve scarce resources and make
full use of the existing and potential synergies among these
organizations.  Among the measures that should be considered is the
establishment of a technical assistance fund administered by WTO in
order to help LDCs participate actively in WTO.


                      IV.  EXTERNAL FINANCE

51.  The overwhelming dependence of LDCs on official development
assistance (ODA) is likely to continue during the rest of the present
decade and beyond.  The basic policy issues that the international
community faces in this respect in the current climate of budgetary
stringency and ODA scarcity, are:  (a) how to improve aid allocations
to the LDCs; and (b) how to enhance the quality and effectiveness of
assistance to these countries.  Donors need to expeditiously implement
the agreed menu of aid targets and/or commitments as set out in
paragraph 23 of the Programme of Action 1/ and fulfil their
commitments to provide a significant and substantial increase in the
aggregate level of external support to LDCs, keeping in mind the
increased needs of these countries, as well as the requirements of the
new countries included in the list of LDCs following the Paris
Conference.  The various provisions of the relevant resolutions
adopted in the General Assembly in recent years, as well as the
various relevant provisions adopted by recent major United Nations
conferences, in particular the World Summit for Social Development, 11/ 
should also be taken into account, as adopted.

52.  In view of the enhanced assistance capacities of a number of
developing countries over the last few years, they should be invited
to join the traditional donor countries in providing assistance to the
LDCs.

53.  The following measures and actions by donors can be highlighted:

     (a)  Specific measures to incorporate the agreed menu of aid
targets and/or commitments as set out in paragraph 23 of the Programme
of Action more explicitly into the national aid strategies and
budgetary planning mechanisms of donors;

     (b)  Ensure adequate funding of the multilateral institutions and
programmes which are major sources of financing for LDCs.  Particular
attention will have to be paid to replenishment of the International
Development Association (IDA) and the soft-term windows of the
regional development banks, and other grant-based multilateral
programmes.  The relevant multilateral financial institutions are also
invited to explore the possibility of tapping new sources of funds to
help support LDC development efforts;

     (c)  Support United Nations development efforts by substantially
increasing the resources for operational activities on a predictable,
continuous and assured basis commensurate with the increasing needs of
developing countries as stated in General Assembly resolutions 47/199
of 22 December 1992 and 48/162 of 20 December 1993, while giving
particular consideration to the special needs of LDCs as underlined in
the programmes of action of major United Nations conferences organized
since 1990;

     (d)  Continue to give high priority to LDCs in the operational
activities of all parts of the United Nations system for development,
bearing in mind decision 95/23 of 16 June 1995 of the Executive Board
of the United Nations Development Programme and of the United Nations
Population Fund, 12/ in which it is stated that 60 per cent of
UNDP programme resources in its future programming arrangement should
be allocated to LDCs;

     (e)  Continue to provide financial support to adjustment
programmes in LDCs on a timely basis and on terms adapted to the
special needs and circumstances of LDCs, adequate external financing
for the development and diversification of the productive sector, as
well as additional support for poverty eradication, environmental
conservation and social programmes;

     (f)  An increased level of technical assistance should be
provided to LDCs and priority should be given to skill transfer, with
a view to developing national capacity;

     (g)  Ensure the maintenance of mutual transparency and
accountability in the management of aid resources by the aid officials
of donor countries/ organizations and managers in recipient countries,
as well as ensure the active support of the donor
countries/organizations towards the promotion of ownership of
development programmes by the recipient countries;

     (h)  The international community should support the measures
being taken in the LDCs towards the eradication of poverty.  Increased
resources should be made available from all possible sources, public
and private, in this regard.


                        V.  EXTERNAL DEBT

54.  Many LDCs face serious debt problems and more than half are
considered debt-distressed.  The serious debt problem of the LDCs
necessitates strengthened efforts on the international debt strategy. 
This strategy should include concrete measures to alleviate the debt
burden and increased concessional financing, in support of appropriate
economic policy measures, which will be critical to the revitalization
of growth and development.  Debt-distressed LDCs should benefit from
substantial debt-relief schemes.


                   A.  Official bilateral debt

55.  (a)  All donors that have not already done so are urged to
implement Trade and Development Board resolution 165 (S-IX) of 11
March 1978  13/ by cancelling or providing equivalent relief for
ODA debt as a matter of priority in such a way that the net flows of
ODA are improved for the recipient.  Those creditors still holding
such claims, including non-OECD creditors, are urged to take similar
measures;

     (b)  Adopt measures to substantially reduce the bilateral debt of
the LDCs, in particular the countries of Africa, as soon as possible;

     (c)  Paris Club creditors are invited to continue to implement
expeditiously and in a flexible manner the very concessional treatment
under the Naples terms;

     (d)  Other non-Paris Club creditors are also invited to take
similar measures in order to alleviate the debt burden of
debt-distressed LDCs, including by setting up special debt-reduction
programmes and debt-relief mechanisms.


                      B.  Multilateral debt

56.  In order to address the multilateral debt problems of LDCs, the
Bretton Woods institutions are encouraged to develop a comprehensive
approach to assist countries with multilateral debt problems, through
the flexible implementation of existing instruments and new mechanisms
where necessary.  In this respect the Bretton Woods institutions are
encouraged to expedite the ongoing consideration of ways to address
the issue of multilateral debt.  Other international financial
institutions are invited to consider, within the scope of their
mandates, appropriate efforts with a view to assisting LDCs with
multilateral debt problems.


                       C.  Commercial debt

57.  (a)  Invites creditor countries, private banks and multilateral
financial institutions, within their prerogatives, to consider
continuing the initiatives and efforts to address the commercial debt
problems of the LDCs;

     (b)  Mobilize the resources of the Debt Reduction Facility of the
International Development Association in order to help eligible least
developed countries to reduce their commercial debt, considering
alternative mechanisms to complement that Facility.

58.  In accordance with the Copenhagen Declaration on Social
Development, 11/ techniques of debt conversion applied to social
development programmes and projects should be developed and
implemented.


 VI.  ARRANGEMENTS FOR IMPLEMENTATION, FOLLOW-UP AND MONITORING
                   OF THE PROGRAMME OF ACTION

59.  It is important that UNCTAD, which is the focal point at the
global level for the monitoring, follow-up and review of the
implementation of the Programme of Action, has sufficient capacity and
resources to follow up the outcome of the mid-term global review.  In
this regard, it is recalled that the General Assembly, in resolution
49/98, invited the Secretary-General to make recommendations to the
General Assembly at its fiftieth session with a view to ensuring that
the UNCTAD secretariat has sufficient capacity to undertake an
effective follow-up of the outcome of the mid-term review as well as
the follow-up of the conclusions and recommendations relating to LDCs
adopted by major global conferences, as appropriate.


                              Notes

1/   See Report of the Second United Nations Conference on the
Least Developed Countries, Paris, 3-14 September 1990 (A/CONF.147/18),
part one.

2/   A/50/15 (Vol. I), chap. I, sect. B.

3/   United Nations publication, Sales No. E.95.II.D.2.

4/   See A/50/745. See also the report of the Secretary-General (A/50/746).

5/   A/50/745, parts one to three.

6/   See Legal Instruments Embodying the Results of the Uruguay
Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations, done at Marrakesh on 15
April 1994 (GATT secretariat publication, Sales No. GATT/1994-7).

7/   TD/B/LDC/AC.1/6.

8/   Report of the Global Conference on the Sustainable Development
of Small Island Developing States, Bridgetown, Barbados, 25 April to 6
May 1994  (A/CONF.167/9 and Corr.1) (United Nations publication, Sales
No. E.94.I.18 and corrigendum), chap. I, resolution 1, annex II.

9/   See Report of the International Conference on Population and
Development, Cairo, 5-13 September 1994 (A/CONF.171/13/Rev.1) (United
Nations publication, Sales No. E.95.XIII.18), chap. I, resolution 1.

10/  See A/CONF.177/20, chap. I, resolution 1.

11/  See A/CONF.166/9, chap. I, resolution 1.

12/  See E/1995/L.22. The final text of the decision will appear in
Official Records of the Economic and Social Council, 1995, Supplement
No. 14 (E/1995/34/Rev.1).

13/  See Official Records of the General Assembly, Thirty-third
Session, Supplement No. 15 (A/33/15 and Corr.1), vol. I, part two,
annex I.

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Date last posted: 15 January 2000 16:15:30
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