Let me begin by welcoming amongst us a number of National
Focal Points from the LDCs who have specifically traveled
to join this review deliberations by ECOSOC.
Only two weeks ago the High-Level Segment of ECOSOC undertook
a comprehensive analysis of its theme on the resources mobilization
needs and creation of enabling environment for poverty eradication
in the Least Developed Countries (LDCs). It brought together
the government leaders and senior officials, representatives
of the UN system and other multilateral organizations, including
the Bretton Woods institutions, civil society organizations
and the private sector. The three-day special multistakeholder
assessment commenced with a clear message from President
Mathieu Kerekou of Benin who, as the leader of the 50 LDCs,
said " Despite praiseworthy efforts, the LDCs continued
to bend under crushing burden of debt, resulting in the
weakening of social protection infrastructure, conflict
and the continued ravage of the AIDS pandemic." The
segment concluded with the adoption of the Ministerial Declaration
in which the LDCs and their development partners recognized
the weak implementation of the ongoing Brussels Programme
of Action for the Least Developed Countries and reaffirmed
their commitment to undertake increased efforts and speedy
measures with a view to meeting its goals and targets in
a timely manner.
I am pleased to submit today the second Annual Progress
Report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of
the Brussels Programme. The report is based on the analysis
of inputs received from the LDCs and their development partners
as well as on various other relevant reports. In its preparation,
we were guided by ECOSOC resolution 2003/17 and General
Assembly resolution 58/228 that had requested to submit
the report "in a more analytical and results-oriented
way by placing greater emphasis on concrete results and
indicating the progress achieved in its implementation".
Limits on the size of the report and absence of clear indicators
had been our obvious constraints towards that objective.
The Brussels Programme stipulates that "its success
will be judged by its contribution to progress of LDCs toward
achieving international development targets, as well as
their graduation from the list of LDCs (A/CONF.191/11,
p8, para21e). Since the progress on resources mobilizations
has been extensively discussed during the High-Level Segment
of ECOSOC, I would like to focus on the remaining areas
of the Programme.
Progress of LDCs towards the Brussels goals and targets
varies from country to country - in some cases from sub-region
to sub-region . However, if specific goals are taken separately,
some countries have made remarkable progress while others
lagged behind considerably. This creates an impression of
an overall slow or no progress in LDCs. Of course, extreme
poverty remains the most overwhelming challenge. The Millennium
goal of halving global poverty by 2015 will falter if the
situation in 50 LDCs is not redressed with real determination.
The continuing high population growth rate in these countries
makes their development prospects more complex. Continuing
conflicts and recurrent natural disasters keep on pulling
back the LDCs from making progress.
complicating the situation is the increasing fury of the
HIV/AIDS pandemic that has been particularly deadly for
the African LDCs and in Haiti, Cambodia, Myanmar and Nepal.
Its effect has been especially significant in rural areas
where it severely hit the agricultural sector. However,
HIV prevalence rates have declined in Uganda and Zambia
where this epidemic has been brought under control through
effective social mobilization. In recent years, malaria
infection rates have become especially high in African LDCs
where it is the major cause of child mortality.
there is no mentionable change with regard to undernourishment
in general, significant progress has been made by LDCs in
achieving universal primary education and gender equality
in primary education and literacy. All LDCs, however, lag
behind on gender equality in secondary and tertiary education.
high percentage of women in the parliaments of post-conflict
LDCs like Rwanda, Mozambique and Timor-Leste, on average
women's representation in Parliaments remains low: 12 per
cent in African LDCs, 10 per cent in Asian LDCs and 2 per
cent in Oceania LDCs.
is the backbone of the economies of LDCs. With strong forward
and backward linkages with the rural sector and other sectors
of economy with a forward-looking rural development initiative,
agricultural sector could turn into a real engine for growth
and income generation in the LDCs. Yet statistics indicate
the decline of agricultural production and marginalization
of LDCs in agricultural trade. It also show some decrease
of agricultural support of OECD countries to LDCs from 1.8
per cent as percentage of their GDP in 2001 to 1.2 per cent
Brussels Programme accords high priority to infrastructure
development in LDCs for promotion of trade, delivery of
services to population, efficient operation of existing
productive assets and enterprises and attracting investments.
However, in most LDCs infrastructure continues to be rudimentary.
Even where it exists, it is notoriously imperfect. The situation
is particularly acute in landlocked LDCs.
on ICT clearly indicate a glaring digital divide between
the LDCs and developed countries and LDCs and other developing
countries. There is only 1.3 telephone line and cellular
subscriber and 0.2 internet users per 100 people in African
LDCs. In Asian LDCs these figures are even lower: 1.0 telephone
line and 0.1 internet user per 100 people.
lack of market access, agricultural subsidies and supply-side
constraints seriously limit LDC opportunity to benefit from
their export trade, enhanced south-south cooperation creates
win-win situations in knowledge sharing, technology transfer
and trade expansion between LDCs and other developing countries.
Data indicate that total exports of LDCs to other developing
countries more than doubled during the last decade rising
to 34 per cent. It has been clearly established that elimination
of trade barriers of fellow developing countries will bring
tremendous benefits to the LDCs. Recognition of the need
for special treatment for the LDCs in the articulation of
the new geography of international trade and resumption
of the negotiations for the Global System of Trade Preferences
(GSTP) among developing countries during UNCTAD XI have
real potentials for trade expansion for the LDCs.
report of the Secretary-General details specific policies
and measures undertaken by LDCs and their development partners
in order to attain the goals of the BPOA and fulfill their
mentions that most of LDCs have adopted pro-poor, people-centred
policies, strategies and programmes. They have embarked
on the path of broad political and macroeconomic reforms
and took specific measures to develop democratic institutions,
ensure good governance including accountable, transparent
and corruption-controlled public administration, strengthen
rule of law and promote human rights. It is worth recognizing
that among the 23 African countries which volunteered to
join the path-breaking Peer Review Mechanism, a sizeable
number are LDCs. My Office is working on a compendium of
best practices to showcase the determined efforts of the
LDCs to move ahead. The 2003 Human Development Report (in
pages 45 and 46) encapsulates a number of success stories
limited capacity of the LDCs to mobilize domestic resources
through greater savings and tax collection, crushing burden
of external debt, lack of foreign investments and minimal
increase in ODA, as well as their continued marginalization
in global trade remain major impediments to the implementation
of the Brussels Programme and continue to hamper seriously
the LDCs development efforts.
emphasizing the primary responsibility of the LDCs in the
implementation of the Programme at the national level, the
Report calls upon their development partners, in particular
the United Nations Resident Coordinator system and the country
teams as well as the country representatives of the Bretton
Woods institutions and of bilateral and multilateral donors
to provide support to LDCs in building effective human,
institutional and technical capacity related to policy developments,
monitoring of implementation and coordination. Their efforts
in this regard are reflected in their contributions to the
second Annual Progress Report of the Secretary-General that
are available for the delegations.
its establishment in 2002 by the General Assembly, the Office
of the High Representative has undertaken a series of activities
and various initiatives for mobilizing international support
and resources for LDCs and for advocacy to put their concerns
high on the global agenda including the Millennium Development
Goals. Servicing and supporting the annual review of the
Brussels Programme by the ECOSOC is in the performance of
my Office's follow-up, monitoring and reporting responsibilities
for the implementation of the Brussels Programme. Initiating
and supporting coordination efforts at national, regional
and global levels have been a major function of the Office.
up of the decisions to mainstream the implementation of
the Brussels Programme by various entities within the UN
system and outside, submission of substantive inputs for
the Annual Progress Report by partner organizations and
regular interaction and collaboration with those by the
Office of the High Representative have contributed positively
to its coordination role at the global level. We
have been also using for coordination purposes existing
Executive Committee mechanisms of the secretariat, such
as the UN Development Group and the ExCom for Economic and
Social Affairs. Active consideration is being given for
establishing an Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to ensure
more coherent, focused and collaborative approach to the
implementation of the Programme at the global level.
level coordination is being basically undertaken through
the Regional Commissions. The Office of the High Representative
and the Office of Special Advisor on Africa (OSAA) work
closely for advocacy and synergy in the NEPAD implementation
process for the obvious reason that of the 53 African countries,
34 are LDCs.
the national level coordination, last May, my Office,
upon the request of the LDCs Group and in collaboration
with UNDP, UNCTAD, UN DESA and the World Bank organized
at the UNHQ in New York a five day workshop for the National
Focal Points of LDCs. The overarching objective of the workshop
was to strengthen the national capacity of the LDCs for
the follow-up and implementation of the Brussels Programme,
provide them with a forum for sharing national experience,
lessons learned and best practices, build the foundation
for their future networking and clarify the roles of the
National Focal Points and National Forums in the follow-up
and implementation of the Programme at the country level.
The workshop also addressed issues of monitoring and reporting.
and reporting on the implementation of the Programme are
major challenges faced by my Office. First, not all
the quantifiable goals included in the Programme are specified
in a way in which they can be monitored. Second,
data are not available for many LDCs. Third, LDCs
lack necessary statistical capacity, infrastructure and
resources for collecting data. Fourth, given the periodicity
of the progress reports, it is difficult to provide new
data on an annual basis as the average periodicity, as you
know, for new statistical data is 3 to 5 years.
the Brussels Programme envisages a comprehensive mid-term
review at a time to be decided by Member States. It is important
now to identify the timeframe for such a review. The 2006
ECOSOC review process could be adjusted appropriately to
become a self-standing mid-term review. Your guidance in
this will be most appreciated.
thank you for your attention and support.