Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure and honour for me to address this august meeting. Let me thank all of you, and in particular the outgoing Chair of the Group of 77 and China, H.E. Ambassador Abdullah M. Alsaidi of Yemen, for extending me this invitation. Let me also thank Mr. Mourad Amia, Executive Secretary of G77 and China for receiving me here today.
The G77 and China is a very important geo-political group. Some of the world’s most innovative countries are represented here. Many of you have achieved tremendous social and economic transformation in a relatively short period of time. These are the success stories we all want to see replicated and transmitted to the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries, and Small Island Developing States, on whose behalf I have the honour of advocating and mobilizing international support.
As you know, the General Assembly of the United Nations has decided to convene the Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries at Summit level. Turkey has generously offered to host the conference from May 30 – June 3 of 2011.
Let me emphasise that this is not only a conference of the LDCs, by the LDCs, for the LDCs. This is a conference that all of you have a very big stake in. After the millennium development goals, and in the post-economic crisis context, LDC-IV will be the first major development conference of the next decade and will shape the development paradigm and global partnership for development for many years to come.
Further more, it comes at a critical time for the world. Recent crises have shown that the current model of global and national political and economic governance is inadequate for dealing with the dynamic world we live in and the challenges we confront. And the conference will seek to outline a new blueprint in this regard.
The credo of this conference is that it represents a commitment to partnership against poverty and a compact for prosperity for all. And all G77 countries and China have a vital interest in being a part of this journey.
I therefore call upon you to engage in this process of preparations for the LDCIV and at the conference itself to show your utmost solidarity and commitment with fellow members of the Group in pursuit of your common interests and mutual benefits.
Preparations for the Conference are now well underway. We have adopted a bottom-up approach, starting with broad-based stakeholder consultations at the national level. There are three distinct tracks that are running parallel to the main intergovernmental process, which are the parliamentary, civil society and private sector tracks of the conference.
National consultations took place throughout 2009 involving governments, parliaments, civil society and the private sector. The national consultations produced analytical and forward-looking reports that fed into the regional reviews.
Two regional reviews took place, one for the Asia-Pacific region and another one for Africa and Haiti. Both regional reviews were also participatory and attended by development partners and international institutions. The reviews have come up with priorities for the new programme of action that is expected to emerge from Istanbul, which I believe all of you share. Allow me to briefly highlight some of them:
Building a critical mass of viable competitive and diversified productive capacity
Improving access to technology and strengthening science, technology, research and development capacities for accelerated growth and diversification
Fomenting agricultural revolution to eliminate hunger, ensure food security and promote rural development;
Promoting social and human development by ensuring universal access to essential services and progress towards the Millennium Development Goals.
Managing climate change and ensuring a genuine new green deal for the LDCs;
Enhancing mobilization of financial resources for LDC development;
Reinforcing the role of trade as an engine of growth and beneficial globalization of LDCs;
Reducing the vulnerability of the least developed countries to external shocks and building resilience; and
Ensuring good developmental governance at national and international level and ensuring peace, security and conflict resolution at national and regional levels.
The LDCs represent a paradox in terms of being the poorest and most vulnerable countries on the one hand; and having the greatest potential for exponential growth and beneficial integration in the global economy on the other.
The LDCs have enormous human and natural resources and represent a population of more than 800 million people. Progress in these countries could be the best guarantee for poverty reduction, accelerated growth and sustainable development of all the G77 countries and China. South-South cooperation is already playing a critical role in this regard.
Given the shared historical experiences and emerging complementarities in the economies and trading relations, South-South cooperation offers unique opportunities for deepening economic cooperation in various areas as well as enhancing mutual learning and knowledge sharing among the countries of the South.
Our host country for the LDC 4, Turkey, is keen to see summit level participation at the conference. It is therefore important that the G77 and China is represented at the highest level at Istanbul.
Your substantive participation and contribution to the conference will help ensure the political commitment to achieve a comprehensive, ambitious, results-oriented outcome with actionable goals and targets.
You could also make a strong contribution by working with development partners to come up with concrete deliverables and partnerships to ensure that a development decade for the LDCs becomes a reality, in particular through the two sessions of the preparatory committee, to be held in New York in January and April 2011.
It may even be opportune for the G77 and China to hold a ministerial meeting in Istanbul on the eve of the conference to consult on and coordinate your positions on the many issues on the agenda. These are a few of the issues that I wanted to bring to your attention and also to ask that you make the fate of the Least Developed Countries among you an important cause for the whole Group
Thank you for your kind attention.