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Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries 30 May - 3 June 2011, Turkey

Preparatory Process

In its resolution 63/227 of 2008, the United Nations General Assembly decided to convene the Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC-IV). It further decided during its 64th Session in 2009 that the conference would be held for five days in Turkey in the first half of 2011.
 
Objectives:
In accordance with UN General Assembly resolutions and the note of the UN Secretary-General outlining the modalities of the conference, its objectives are:
 
1.       To comprehensively assess the implementation by the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and their development partners of the Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for Decade 2001-2010 adopted in Brussels in 2001 (the Brussels Programme);
2.       To share best practices and lessons learnt, and to identify obstacles and constraints encountered as well as actions needed to overcome them; 
3.       To identify new challenges and opportunities for LDCs and the actions required at national and international levels to respond to them effectively;
4.       To reaffirm the global commitment to address the special needs of the LDCs made at the major United Nations conferences and summits. 
5.       To mobilize additional international support measures and action in favour of the LDCs and, in this regard;
6.       To formulate and adopt a renewed partnership between the LDCs and their development partners.
 
Organisation and Preparations:
Preparations for LDC-IV will take place at national, regional and international levels. National level preparations will enable the 48 LDCs to assess the results of the Brussels Programme at the country-level and to make recommendations for further action in the context of their respective national priorities.

Through regional level preparations, LDCs in the two regions – Africa plus Haiti and Asia and the Pacific plus Yemen – will share experiences, discuss shared challenges and opportunities, and identify regional mechanisms, including regional institutions, to respond to them.
The outcome of the regional-level preparations will feed into global preparations, including two inter-governmental preparatory committee meetings that will be held in 2011 to generate consensus ahead of the conference.

Thematic reviews at the global level will allow UN agencies and other international organisations to contribute expert knowledge in their respective areas.
While providing for interaction among them at all levels, the conference will have the following main components:
1.       Inter-governmental track involving the governments of LDCs and their development partners;
2.       Parliamentary track involving members of the legislature from LDCs and their development partners, organized in collaboration with the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU); 
3.       Civil society track with activities by civil society organisations, including NGOs, academia,  media and foundations, organized in cooperation with the United Nations;
4.       Private sector track involving activities by private sector actors organized in cooperation with the United Nations.
The UN Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States has been designated by the General Assembly as the coordinator of the conference and its preparatory activities.  
 
Participation:
The whole preparatory process for the conference will be inclusive and transparent to promote dialogue between all stakeholders (governments, civil society, private sector, business associations, philanthropic and non-profit organizations, parliamentarians, academia and media).
 
Background:  
In 1971, the international community recognized as the Least Developed Countries a category of countries distinguished not only by widespread poverty, but also by the structural weakness of those countries’ economic, institutional and human resources, often compounded by geographical handicaps.

The group, comprising 25 countries at the time (it has since grown to 48) has been described by the United Nations as “the poorest and weakest segment of the international community” whose economic and social development presents a major challenge both for them and for their development partners. The UN General Assembly convened the First United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries in Paris in 1981 to respond to the special needs of the LDCs.

To continue the focus on the need for special measures for those countries, the General Assembly convened the Second United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries, also in Paris, in 1990. Its outcome was embodied in the Paris Declaration and Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the 1990s.