I would like to welcome you to this Fourth Inter-agency Consultative Group Meeting of the United Nations system and international organizations on the Preparation for the Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries.
Our meeting today is taking place at a crucial juncture: we are about 7 months away from the Conference and the preparatory process, both substantively and logistically, is in full swing.
Let me brief you about the progress made since the last IACG meeting we had in New York in March.
The Secretary-General has appointed a Group of Eminent Persons to advise on the international support measures needed to accelerate development in the LDCs. The members have been selected in view of their high international stature, expertise and strong commitment to global development. They will be making efforts to raise public awareness and build strong political commitment in support of the LDCs.
The group had its first meeting on 13 October at which it was highlighted that business as usual will not do. The Group reiterated that progress in LDCs is vital for global peace and security and that therefore global solidarity is warranted. The meeting focussed on the importance of governance including local, national, regional and international. Special emphasis was also put on the situation of post-conflict and fragile states.
As you are aware, by now, a number of thematic pre-conference events have taken place and have delivered policy recommendations for the Outcome of the Istanbul Conference. We will come to that in more detail later this morning but let me highlight some of the most important results of the events organised by my office during the current month of October.
The Ministerial Meeting on “Enhancing the Mobilization of Financial Resources for LDCs’ Development” was held in Lisbon, Portugal, on 2nd and 3rd October 2010; co-organized by the Government of Portugal and OHRLLS. It stressed the importance of domestic resource mobilization, improving the quantity and quality of ODA, expanding debt reduction, attracting FDI to priority sectors of LDCs through home country incentives. All these measures should focus on employment creation, which is one of the top priorities of LDCs.
The role of small and medium enterprises for private sector development needs to be recognised and supported more. Development partners should support LDCs in their efforts to raise domestic resources through revenue generation and capital market developments. To make the most out of remittances a larger share needs to be channelled into productive use and private sector development activities.
The Lisbon Ministerial meeting also called for more progress towards mobilizing innovative sources of finance, including new Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) and taxes on international transactions. The meeting concluded that the growing development needs of LDCs as well as the multiple global crises require a global stimulus package for LDCs and the creation of a special “crisis mitigation and resilience building (CMRB) fund for LDCs to enable them to respond to various kinds of shocks.
Furthermore all international and regional organisations of relevance for LDCs, including the IMF and the World Bank and regional development banks, should recognize LDCs as the most vulnerable group of countries. Finally the voice of LDCs in international decision making needs to be increased. Any future international governance format must ensure inclusiveness and adequate representation not only of developing countries, but particularly LDCs.
Another pre-conference event on “Enhanced International Support and Smooth Transition of LDCs towards Graduation” took place on 15 October as an official Side Event to the Second Committee of the General Assembly in New York. The panel discussion helped to examine the slow progress made by LDCs towards achieving the internationally agreed goals and graduating from the category. Concrete policy measures were also suggested that could make the transition from LDC to post-LDC life a prospect to be looked forward to.
For example it was proposed to base the geographical allocation of ODA to all recipient countries on the criteria used by the Committee for Development Policy for the identification of LDCs. This would not only increase the allocation of ODA to the most vulnerable countries but would also ensure smooth transition for graduating LDCs.
My Office is also planning two more pre-conference events one on “Harnessing the Positive Contribution of South-South Cooperation for LDCs’ Development” in cooperation with the government of India, and the other on “Promoting Universal Access to Basic Services and Building Infrastructure in LDCs for Pro-Poor Development Outcomes”. Further details about these two events will be shared with all of you in due course.
Looking ahead, we have an excellent series of pre-conference events being organize in the coming days, weeks and months, until February next year, starting tomorrow with our UNCTAD colleagues’ event on building productive capacities.
For all of this, I am very grateful for the commitment shown by all of you to the preparatory process. We, and of course also the LDCs, are expecting concrete policy recommendations and deliverables from each of these events which can feed into the new Programme of Action. One aspect that is important in this respect is the monitoring and follow-up mechanisms. These need to be included in such recommendations as this is one of the main priorities of the LDCs and will help with the implementation of a new Programme of Action.
In order to ensure broad participation in the conference, my Office is working with civil society, parliamentarians and the private sector.
The Steering Committee of the civil society track had its first meeting last week. It will manage the civil society track of the conference and will meet at least four times during the preparatory process.
With the Inter-Parliamentary Union, we are planning a parliamentarian forum during LDC IV.
Preparations for the active involvement of the private sector have also successfully started. The first meeting of the private sector committee was held last week with participation of private sector representatives from Africa, Asia and North America; three Turkish Private Sector Networks; as well as ICC, UNDP, UNOP and UNCTAD. The Global Compact Office will support my Office in the coordination of all organizational aspects of the Private Sector Track.
Among other events, there will be an Investment & Partnership Summit to be held, possibly, on the first day of the Conference with the participation of Heads of State and Government and Business Leaders. Inputs from the private sector will help to identify concrete, action-oriented proposals addressing LDC-specific problems and challenges in the area of investment, enterprise development, trade and finance.
A Brainstorming Meeting on the substantive preparation for UN LDC IV was held in July to which several of you and your organisations contributed. The meeting helped us to synthesize the lessons learnt from implementing the Brussels Programme and has provided some results that will help to improve the substantive content of the next development agenda and the methodology for monitoring progress.
The meeting concluded that LDCs must be considered as part of the solution to many global problems. The renewed and strengthened partnership would learn from and update the BPoA, but would be more focused and systematically conceived. None of the previous development models, such as the “Washington Consensus”, the MDG model, or a model based on export-led growth is an optimal model for a new Programme of Action but a new development model needs to rather focus on sustainable growth in a broad sense.
The renewed partnership needs to be comprehensive and ambitious, while remaining realistic. Emerging challenges should be addressed in the new PoA, with a focus on increasing resilience to external shocks and natural disasters. For example to maximize the poverty alleviating effects of growth, investments in social sectors must target directly the employment of the poor and vulnerable and aim to enhance their productivity. The new PoA should recognize the growing diversity among LDCs, without disintegrating the unity of the concept.
The LDCs are counting on all of us to support them in their endeavour to overcome their development obstacles and graduate from LDC status. I call on you to step up these efforts in the critical last seven months before the Istanbul Conference at the Summit level, which will take place from 30 May to 3 June and in which the Secretary General has agreed to participate. I appreciate all the numerous offers we have received to organise side events during the Conference, which we will be discussed this afternoon. We are urging all member states to ensure participation at the highest level and thus participation of representatives of the UN system should also be at the highest level.
The LDCs need an ambitious and internationally supported development agenda. Let us redouble our efforts to ensure that LDC IV delivers such an agenda. In this spirit, I am looking forward to fruitful deliberations at this meeting.
Thank you for your kind attention.