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


The Fourth United Nations Conference on Least Developed Countries

The United Nations General Assembly, in its resolutions 63/227 and 64/213 decided to convene the Fourth UN Conference on the LDCs, in Istanbul, Turkey, in May 2011 for a duration of five days. It also launched a process of national, regional and global reviews of the Brussels Programme implementation that fed into the preparation of a new development framework for the LDCs expected to be adopted at the Conference.

OHRLLS, as the focal point of such preparatory process, worked closely with the host country on mobilizing the entire United Nations System, relevant international and regional organizations as well as Member States, to deliver a comprehensive, action-oriented and meaningful outcome at the pf the Conference.
The preparations for the Conference provided an opportunity for in-depth reflection on the continued vulnerabilities faced by the LDCs. An assessment was made of the progress made so far by the LDCs, the obstacles and constraints encountered and the actions and initiatives needed to overcome them. This important process took place in the context of a very different economic and political landscape from the one prevailing a decade ago.
Furthermore, emerging economies have increased their share in global trade, foreign direct investment flows and migration and the LDCs have established increasingly significant economic relations with them. Significant structural changes have taken place on the international stage, more recently with the emergence of the G-20 leaders’ summits which formally comprise many countries of the South. 
The face of development cooperation is also changing. While aid from OECD/DAC countries is still predominant, especially to the LDCs, a growing number of developing country partners for trade and investment, and sources of finance, have emerged to help LDCs meet their development aspirations. This was especially needed in the wake of the multiple global crises, food, energy, financial and economic, as well as climate change, that have had a specific, negative impact on LDCs’ economic and social development and threaten to roll back much of the hard-fought advances made. The food crisis has hit the most vulnerable people the hardest, particularly those living in LDCs;
LDCs have also suffered from the impacts of the global financial crisis and the resulting global economic recession; and the drastic effects of climate change are already being experienced by many LDCs.
The national and regional reviews of the Brussels Programme have underscored the urgent need for an enhanced global partnership in support of the LDCs, with focused attention to the areas of: (a) strengthening productive capacities to build resilience and reduce LDCs’ vulnerability to external shocks; (b) promoting agricultural development to reduce hunger and ensure food security; (c) strengthening financial resource mobilization and targeting aid to productive sectors; (d) improving access to export markets; (e) developing infrastructure; (f) managing climate change and ensuring a new green deal for LDCs; (g) ensuring universal access to essential services and accelerating progress towards the MDGs.
With the increased challenges that the LDCs are confronting, it is was important to ensure that the Fourth UN LDC Conference, and its preparations, involved  a wide range of stakeholders, not least from the LDCs themselves.