Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good morning and a warm welcome to all of you!
It is a great pleasure to see you gathered in this room, eager to start brainstorming on the substantive preparations for the Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries. Your deliberations will lay solid foundations for a renewed and reinvigorated partnership framework in support of LDCs’ development and transformation over the next decade.
I cannot stress enough the importance of this two and a half day meeting. The presence of all relevant stakeholders around this table will ensure that a broad variety of perspectives is taken into account.
In my capacity as Secretary-General of the Fourth Conference, an honour that was bestowed on me just last week by Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, I am here to call on your most active and committed participation in the discussions that are about to start, with a view to:
1. identifying priorities for such renewed partnership in preparation of an outcome document for the Conference, and;
2. developing methodological guidance that can be used for the appraisal of the implementation of the Brussels Programme of Action.
As many of you are already aware, preparations for the Conference, that will be held in Istanbul, Turkey, from 30 May to 3 June 2011, are well underway. We have been following a bottom-up approach starting from country level reviews, feeding through regional preparatory meetings, through this brainstorming meeting, all the way to the global level, with the intergovernmental preparatory committees being scheduled in January and April next year.
Broad-based national level consultations were launched successfully in 2009 involving a wide spectrum of stakeholders including governments, parliamentarians, civil society and private sector. These consultations culminated in result-oriented analytical and forward-looking reports on the implementation of the Brussels Programme. More than half of the LDCs have submitted their national reports so far.
At the regional level, two preparatory meetings were convened in the first half of this year: the Asia-Pacific High-level Policy Dialogue in Dhaka, Bangladesh in January and the Africa Regional Review meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in March. Both regional meetings took place at the ministerial level and included a wide spectrum of stakeholders, such as parliamentarians, civil society organizations, private sector representatives, bilateral and multilateral partners as well as regional organizations. They agreed on Draft Outcome documents, which were subsequently endorsed at the respective sessions of ESCAP and ECA.
My office, in collaboration with UN agencies and international organisations, has scheduled an extensive series of thematic pre-conference events, a couple of which have already taken place. These events are intended to cover key issues such as trade, productive capacities, access to essential services, migration, achieving a smooth transition for countries graduating from LDC status; challenges and opportunities that arise due to climate change; human rights dimensions of development; and innovative methods of mobilising financing for development.
And in order to ensure broad participation in the Conference, my Office is working with civil society, parliamentarians and the private sector in order to include their views and provide them with appropriate forums that will run parallel to the intergovernmental track of the Conference.
Let me underscore that the Fourth United Nations Conference on the LDCs is a major undertaking of the entire United Nations system and the international community at large. Your deliberations at this brainstorming meeting will lay the ground for the preparation of the outcome document of the Conference, what will be the new Programme of Action for LDCs.
My firm intention is for the Fourth Conference to leave ‘business as usual’ far behind. Instead, the Conference should open the door to a strengthened, results-oriented partnership framework to eradicate poverty and ensure a better future to the more than 800 million people living in the 49 LDCs.
It is an ambitious goal, but a feasible one. We cannot fail as failure will condemn millions to misery.
Let us thus redouble our efforts to lay strong foundations to ensure that the Conference will deliver such an agenda.