President of Benin, Mr. Mathieu Kérékou
will has to be backed up by expressions of commitment," said
Mr. Mathieu Kérékou, the President of Benin, during
a powerful keynote address at the ECOSOC 2004 High Level Segment
on resource mobilization and enabling environment for poverty eradication
in the context of the implementation of the Brussels Programme of
Action for Least Developing Countries on 28 June in New York.
so far have not been encouraging. Official development assistance
(ODA) has not increased, as pledged, and support for exports have
negatively impacted the LDCs in world markets. Rare preferential
treatment for LDCs remained underutilized and, despite praiseworthy
efforts, the LDCs continued to bend under the crushing burden of
debt, resulting in the weakening of social protection infrastructure,
conflict and the continued ravage of the AIDS pandemic," he
said that only mobilization of financial resources would ensure
the implementation of the Brussels Programme of Action. "We
hope that the session's theme would be profound and exhaustive and
that special problems faced by the LDCs would be addressed."
deadline of reducing by half the number of people living in poverty
was approaching rapidly," he reminded, "and global action
was needed, which would take into account not only the economic
components of the situation, but also social, humanitarian and environmental
considerations. It was up to the developed countries to increase
ODA, promote direct investment, reschedule debt and open markets
to LDC goods. It was up to the LDCs to achieve significant progress
in the areas of good governance, respect for constitutional legality
for combating corruption, decentralization, and the process of national
development without discrimination on the basis of race, sex and
At a roundtable
discussion on 29 June, Mr. Kérékou said that as his
country held the presidency of the coordinating bureau of the least
developed countries, it was his duty to extend the recurrent message
of hundreds of millions of women, children and men living in poverty.
He hoped that, with high-level voices, more understanding and sincerity
in relationships between people and States would occur through the
President of Benin, Mr. Mathieu Kérékou flanked by
the High Representative Mr. Anwarul K. Chowdhury (right) and Mr.
Bruce H. Moore, Director, International Land Coalition.
He noted that
when the Third United Nations Conference on the Least Developed
Countries adopted the Programme of Action for 2001-2010, the international
community had set the main objective of reducing by half by 2015
the number of people living in poverty. "It was essential that
the international community envisage concrete action to help reverse
and halt the marginalization of LDCs," he emphasized.
for a world crusade against hunger, poverty and famine to bring
about a better future for people whose destinies could not be separated
from that of the developing countries. "Long live international
cooperation, long live international solidarity", he declared.