HE Ambassador Bozkurt Aran
HE Ambassador Gyan Chandra Acharya
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure for me to participate in the pre-conference event on Promoting Democratic Governance for Least Developed Countries’ development - Towards a more Inclusive, Responsive, and Capable State, which my Office is co-organising with UNDP.
I would like to seize this opportunity to express my deep appreciation to UNDP, especially Deputy Administrator Rebecca Grynspan, for taking the lead in organizing this important event, which addresses one of the most crucial elements for LDCs development. I am also thankful to the UNDP team for making excellent arrangements for this meeting and inviting me to speak on this occasion. I have full confidence that the deliberations of the meeting will lead to a successful outcome, which will make substantive contributions to the new Programme of Action for LDCs.
As the prime responsibility for their development lies with the least developed countries and ownership is a core principle of the Brussels Programme and probably also of the Istanbul Programme of Action, developing the capacities of governments is critical. As you know Commitment 2 of the BPoA talks about good governance at national and international levels, with issues ranging from promoting human rights to social inclusion and empowerment.
There has been some progress in the area of governance in LDCs over the past decade. The 2010 report of the Secretary-General on the Implementation of the BPoA highlights progress in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). 15 least developed countries have been candidate countries as of April 2010. Liberia is the first least developed country that was evaluated as EITI compliant on 14 October 2009. In July of this year Timor Leste was evaluated as compliant as second LDC. Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of Congo have disclosed mining revenues for the first time in 2010 and Yemen has just published his first report on oil revenues.
This is just one example were tangible progress has been made and I am sure others will be highlighted throughout our deliberations today.
As you know the national reviews - for which UNDP has provided significant support to many LDCs - were the first step in the intergovernmental process leading to the Istanbul Summit. They fed into regional review meetings for Asia Pacific and African LDCs and Haiti. I would like to take this opportunity to highlight a few outcomes of these meetings related to governance:
The Addis Ababa outcome document states that “a large number of African LDCs have sought to institutionalize governance by acceding to continental and global initiatives such as the NEPAD’s African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), and the Kimberly process for diamond producing countries aimed at eliminating blood diamonds. Democratic governance is slowly taking hold and multiparty elections are becoming the norm rather than the exception in an increasing number of African LDCs. “
Both outcome documents stressed that governments need to reinforce gender-responsive public management, and the inclusion of local governments in decision making and implementation.
They further highlight the importance of strengthening the rule of law, enforcing property rights and combating corruption. Especially in the wake of the global financial and economic crisis, addressing the structural problems of LDCs would require a rebalancing of the roles of the State and the market.
The Asia Pacific and Africa regional review meetings further concluded that the countries need to implement fiscal and tax reforms, improve budgetary processes, improve the quality of public expenditure, promote financial inclusion through creative monetary policies and enhance the transparency of public financial management. The document states: “The efficient and equitable use of scarce resources is one cornerstone of good governance.”
Excellencies, distinguished participants,
More generally in all the pre-conference events organised so far the issue of governance - both national and international – as well as the capacity of the state played an important role. Thus I am looking forward to focused discussions at the meeting today, which also forms part of this series of pre-conference events, which are held to provide substantial inputs into the preparatory process and outcome of the Istanbul Summit.
Another initiative to generate substantive inputs and raise awareness for the conference was the appointment of a Group of Eminent Persons (GEP) by the Secretary-General. The Group will examine obstacles faced by LDCs to their economic progress and to recommend new paradigm for transforming the least developed countries. The GEP is co-chaired by Mr. Alpha Oumar Konaré, the former President of Mali, and Mr. James Wolfensohn, former President of the World Bank.
The first meeting of the Eminent Persons Group concluded that, given the long-standing and wide-spread challenges faced by LDCs, business-as-usual measures will not be sufficient this time. The Group stressed that progress in LDCs is vital for global peace and security and therefore global solidarity was warranted. The meeting focused on the importance of good governance at all levels. The Group will submit its report to the Secretary General early next year.
Last but not least I would like to provide you with some highlights of the three other tracks in the preparation for the LDC IV Conference, as the inclusion and participation of all stakeholders is a key element of democratic governance.
Given the important role that parliaments play in implementing international commitments, my Office is working closely with the Inter-Parliamentary Union to mobilize parliamentary involvement in the Conference. Parliamentarians were actively involved in both country and regional-level preparations. A separate parliamentarians’ forum will be organized on the day before the start of the Conference in Istanbul. These activities aim at strengthening parliamentary ownership of the new programme of action and at ensuring more effective follow-up by the legislature as much as the executive in both LDCs and their development partners during the next decade.
Another key component of the preparatory process has been the engagement with civil society organizations at the national, regional and global level. Thus far three regional CSO review meetings have been held; which stressed the need for greater space for CSOs, especially in the follow-up to the Istanbul Conference. To help ensure that civil society voices are heard on key issues, my Office has established a Civil Society Steering Committee which comprises seven international umbrella CSOs to help steer the substantive engagement with Member States in the lead-up to and during LDC IV.
One of the key events in the coming year will be the interactive civil society hearings, which will take place in New York. This hearing will provide CSOs and Member States with an opportunity to engage each other at the global level. I am of the firm opinion that civil society can and often does provide us with a frank and honest account of the impact of policies as they affect the daily lives of ordinary households. At times these are uncomfortable truths, but it is important that we remain open to these insights.
My Office has also launched preparations for the active involvement of the private sector, including a Private Sector Steering Committee. Given its pivotal role in the structural transformation of the LDCs’ economies, especially with respect to enhancing productive capacity and diversification, the private sector’s contribution to the Conference is expected to identify concrete, action-oriented proposals addressing LDC-specific problems and challenges in the area of investment, enterprise development and finance. Three events are planned for the LDC IV Conference: the Investment and Partnership Summit, the Business Forum and the Trade Fair.
The date of the UN LDC IV Conference – which has now been set for 9 to 13 May 2011 - is approaching fast. The intergovernmental process will continue with the first meeting of the International Preparatory Committee from 10 to 14 January in New York, at which negotiations of a draft Outcome are expected to start. A second meeting of the preparatory Committee will be held from 4 – 8 April next year. As we stand just 5 months away from the Conference, we have dedicated our best efforts to make all necessary preparations both substantive and logistical to make the UN-LDC IV a success and we count on the whole UN system as well as all member states to join us to make the LDC IV Conference a success.
I thank you and wish you fruitful deliberations.