Secretary-General's remarks to the Media at the Opening of the Fourth United Nations Conference on Least Developed Countries (including Q & A)
Istanbul, Turkey, 9 May 2011Thank you Mr. President,
Good morning ladies and gentlemen,
Let me first of all begin by thanking President Gül of Turkey, and the Government and the people for their warm hospitality in hosting this Fourth United Nations Conference on Least Developed Countries.
This is the first major development conference of the United Nations of this decade.
It is a once-in-a-decade opportunity to mobilise global solidarity and action for the poorest and weakest members of our global family.
We must not waste it. We must seize this momentum.
The well-being of hundreds of millions of people may depend on the outcome of this conference.
We are here to assess the implementation of the Brussels Programme of Action which was adopted 10 years ago. We are here to share our lessons -- and to agree on a new Istanbul Programme of Action.
Across the globe people are demanding that their governments meet their basic needs and aspirations
Governments must respond – at home and at the international negotiating table.
I came to this international conference with a simple message.
The LDCs are poised to be the next wave of development achievement.
Investing in LDCs is not charity. It is an opportunity -- for all.
First -- it can relieve the world's most vulnerable people of the burdens of poverty, hunger and needless disease. This is a moral obligation -- the political responsibility of the world's leaders.
Second -- investing in LDCs can provide the stimulus that will help to propel and sustain global economic recovery and stability. This is sound business.
Businesses, emerging economies, donor countries and the LDCS all stand to gain.
We have here, this week, all the ingredients for success -- for a genuine partnership for development.
Let us aim high.
I urge Member States to be ambitious -- and practical.
Let us leave this conference with a practical and far-reaching programme of action.
A programme that addresses productive capacity – trade – agriculture – financing for development – and climate change and other vulnerabilities.
A plan that covers governance – and the smooth transition from LDC status.
A programme with vision and targets, that covers implementation, monitoring and follow-up.
The people of the LDCs need and deserve no less.
If we do not achieve success for the LDCs we will not be able achieve the target of MDGs by 2015.
Therefore we must be successful; we must have a very ambitious target from this Istanbul conference.
Here in Istanbul, where continents and cultures connect and converge, let us build a strong bridge – a bridge that will enable the least fortunate and most vulnerable members of our human family to cross to the land of prosperity and security.
Thank you very much
Q: [inaudible] question on accountability and the role of countries' developing economies.
A: I thank you for your question. It is a most important, crucial point of our success. We have received a lot of very generous pledges in the past, but not all of them have been delivered. Therefore accountability will be very important. That is what I said in the opening statement, and now the United Nations will monitor the progress report and the delivery of their commitment. As you may remember, when the UN convened the Millennium Development Goals meeting last year, one of the highlights was the Global Strategy for Women's and Children's Health. We have mobilized $40 billion. We have immediately established an accountability commission, which is co-chaired by President Kikwete of Tanzania, and Prime Minister Harper of Canada. This is a very well started process of ensuring accountability. We will do our best to make sure that whatever commitment has been made for the LDCs will be monitored and delivered.
Now, the important element is that we need to change a certain perception of mentality that the aid should flow two ways. Normally in the past, aid has been going from developed to developing. That is why we see the importance of South-South cooperation. We have seen a significant increase in trade and investment among and between developing countries. And the role of emerging countries has always been very much important and they have been expanding their reach to developing countries. At the same time, we should ensure that there needs to be aid effectiveness. Again, this is both ways. There should be aid predictability from the donor countries so that the developing countries will be able to have predictability of any assistance. Then they can have better programming of their economic policies. At the same time, we expect there should be accountability and good governance on the part of developing countries. Raising the level of good governance, fighting against corruption and corrupting practices, and using whatever has been given, for the full purpose of this aid. Thank you very much.
Q: [inaudible; in Turkish]
A: This is quite unfortunate that the number of LDCs has increased, rather than decreased, as the President has just mentioned. Now our aim is to reduce significantly the number of these LDCs. They should be able to graduate from LDC status. So again, it is very sad that we are going through this global economic crisis. It is always the Least Developed Countries, the poorest countries, whose economies, and their living status, has always been affected very much negatively, because, while this economic crisis happened in the developed world, they have capacity to stimulate their domestic economies. But these least developed countries, they do not have any means, any capacity. Therefore, since the beginning of this economic crisis I have been urging at the G-20 summit meetings, that I would strongly welcome and urge the G-20 leaders,,by whatever means possible, to stimulate their economies, recover the global economy, but at the same time never to lose sight of the challenges of poor countries. That is why, in London, they have mobilised $100 trillion to boost trade, to boost the capacity of the World Bank and IMF and to help the Least Developed Countries. I will continue to do that.
This Fourth UN Conference on Least Developed Countries is meant to raise the political awareness, and ask the political and moral obligation of world leaders, particularly the developed world, and ask the Least Developed [Countries] to do their own part in making their countries democratised and raise good governance. So, this needs two parts working together: developed and developing countries. And the United Nations will stand ready to work with those developed and developing countries to make sure we live in a better and more harmonious world. Thank you very much.