Istanbul Programme of Action

The Istanbul Programme of Action (IPoA) charts out the international community’s vision and strategy for the sustainable development of LDCs with a focus on developing their productive capacities during the decade 2011-2020.  

The IPoA recognizes that LDCs represent an enormous human and natural resource potential for world economic growth, welfare and prosperity and that addressing their special development needs will contribute to the cause of peace, prosperity and sustainable development for all.  

The IPOA set an ambitious overarching goal of enabling half the number of LDCs to meet the criteria for graduation by 2020. This is closely related to the objective to achieve sustained, equitable and inclusive economic growth in LDCs to at least a level of 7 per cent annually. 

The IPOA focuses on reducing LDCs’ vulnerabilities and addresses new challenges to development, including the effects of the interlinked food, fuel and economic crises and climate change, with a strong focus on structural transformation through increasing productive capacity. It also aims at generating full and productive employment and decent work for all, particularly youth.

LDCs Facts and Figures 2020

IPoA Principles

A number of principles were agreed upon in the IPOA that served as important guide during the decade of its implementation.  

The first principle stresses that the ownership and leadership of and the primary responsibility for their development lies with least developed countries themselves.  

The principle of a balanced role of the State and market considerations entails a qualitative shift in the LDCs development strategy for the decade, emphasizing the active role of the State in the development process.  

Further principles include:

  • an integrated approach in which the development process in LDCs should be viewed in a comprehensive and holistic manner;
  • genuine partnership and solidarity;
  • result orientation;
  • an integrated approach towards peace and security, development and human rights;
  • an emphasis on equity at all levels;
  • and the effective participation, voice and representation of LDCs.

Priority Areas

The IPOA covers eight priority areas for LDCs’ development forming a comprehensive agenda for LDCs sustainable development. It brings a significant rebalancing of priorities for LDCs and their development partners in favour of investment in the productive sectors of the economy and in building the physical as well as human and social capital.  

In the IPOA, LDCs committed to undertake 126 actions; the development partners committed to undertake 102 actions, and 16 actions were to be undertaken jointly to implement the priority areas. A broad range of actors contributed to the IPoA implementation, including donor countries, developing countries, parliaments, the private sector, civil society, the UN system and international and regional financial institutions. 

The annual Secretary General Report on the Implementation of the IPOA and its statistical annex has been the principal tool to monitor progress or lack thereof under the eight priority areas:  

  • Priority 1: Productive capacity 
  • Priority 2: Agriculture, food security and rural development 
  • Priority 3: Trade 
  • Priority 4: Commodities 
  • Priority 5: Human and social development 
  • Priority 6: Multiple crises and other emerging challenges 
  • Priority 7: Mobilizing financial resources for development and capacity-building 
  • Priority 8: Good governance at all levels 


Official Documents