Mr. Chairman,
Distinguished members of the Trade and Development Board,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a singular honour and privilege for me to be with you. Let me also say how grateful I am to Dr.SupachaiPanitchpakdi for inviting me to share with you my thoughts and reflection on the way forward for the implementation of the IPoA. I greatly value the strong bonds UNCTAD and OHRLLS entities have established over the years.
I would like also to seize this opportunity to thank the distinguished members of the Trade and Development Board for putting a great deal of time and energy into this Session, and particularly on LDC issues. I take this as a sign of the large reserve of goodwill that exists within the board towards the advancement of LDC development agenda.
Distinguished members of the Trade and Development Board,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
This 58th Session of the Trade and Development Board is being held at a critical moment as it takes place only four months after the successful convening of the Fourth United Nations Conference on LDCs.
Allow to me to quickly summarize the outcomes of the Istanbul Conference. The Conference was very well attended, with 8,900 accredited participants recorded, including 36 Heads of State or Government, 200 parliamentarians, 10 of which were Speakers of parliaments, 96 ministers and 60 heads of the UN and other international organizations as well as more than 1500 civil society representatives and 500 business leaders. Several members of the Group of Eminent Persons, who were appointed by the Secretary General to help identify the current challenges of the LDCs and advise on the domestic and international support measures needed to ensure their inclusive growth and sustainable development, were also in Istanbul.
The Conference was anchored on several tracks, with the general debate and the Committee of the Whole being the intergovernmental forums. The Conference features six high-level interactive thematic debates and forty-five special events, during which member states, parliaments, international and regional organizations, civil society and the private sector discussed the development challenges LDCs face and exchanged views on ways and means to respond to these challenges, both individually and collectively. A similar exercise also took at the parliamentary and Civil Society Forums.
The Conference concluded with the adoption of a bold Political Declaration and a comprehensive and action-oriented Programme of Action. The overarching goal of this newly adopted programme of action is to address the structural handicaps before LDCs, therefore securing poverty eradication and the attainment of international agreed development goals across LDCs as well as the graduation of at least half of these countries from their least developed status. In this regard, the Istanbul Programme of Action calls for a shift in development paradigm, with a rebalancing of priorities between the productive sectors and social sectors. In this connection, an emphasis has been put on productive capability building, which is seen as the defining challenge and an opportunity for sustainable economic development in LDCs in the decade to come. Building a critical mass of efficient productive capacity holds the key to transforming the agriculture sector to ensure food security, reducing disparities and promoting equity, enhancing energy security, mitigating the impact of crises and building resilience, dealing with the consequences of climate change and ensuring universal access to services—all these on a sustainable manner. Not surprisingly, productive capacity is one of the eight priority areas along with agriculture, food security and rural development, trade, commodities, human and social development, multiple crisis and other emerging challenges, mobilizing financial resources for development and capacity building and good governance at all levels. Each of these eight priority areas contains goals and targets to be met by 2020, in most cases, and carries concrete commitments by both LDCs and their development partners. These commitments are to be carried out either jointly and separately but in spirit of partnership and mutual accountability.
Other essential innovations in the Istanbul Programme of action are the greater recognition of the role and contribution of actors such as parliaments, the private sector, the civil society and philanthropic foundations in the implementation, monitoring, follow-up and review of the programme of action and the great potentials of a vehicle such as South-South cooperation in the pursuit of LDC development agenda. The new programme of action provides for effective monitoring, follow-up and review mechanisms at national, regional and global levels. It also features a separate section on graduation and smooth transition given its goal of enabling half of LDCs to reach graduation status by 2020.
Besides the adoption of the Istanbul Programme of Action, another important outcome of the Conference is the large number and the broad sectoral coverage of the deliverables announced during the event. Almost a hundred initiatives were announced. These initiatives covered a large spectrum of sectors, including education and training, skills development, technology transfer, agriculture and food security, trade, human and social development and climate change. They also display a variety of modalities of delivery, ranging from targeted financial pledges to concrete technical cooperation and capacity-building proposals.
Distinguished members of the Trade and Development Board,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Upon the successful conclusion of the Istanbul Conference, the task ahead isof one of ensuring the commitments contained in the Istanbul Programme of Action are matched by actions. Mindful of this challenging task, OHRLLS organized on 28 June 2011 a brainstorming meeting with the view to exchanging with other UN organisations and a selected number of member states on the way forward, including the Road Map for the implementation of the Istanbul Programme of Action. The broad objective of the Road Map is to adviceLDCs and their development partners towards a path of coordinated, coherent and effective implementation of the IPoA. It spells out activities that need to be undertaken by all stakeholders, namely the inter-governmental bodies, parliaments, CSOs, private sector and the UN System, to ensure that the objectives of the IPoA are met.
The first draft of the Road Map was presented at the brainstorming meeting and subsequently revised on the basis of the views, comments and observations expressed during this meeting or provided afterwards in written form. The Road Map has since been finalized, shared with UN organizations and posted in OHRLLS’ website.
The Road Map has two important features. First, it outlines the broad directions as to how the implementation of the Istanbul Programme of Action should be carried out. Second, it rests on a multi-stakeholder and multi-vehicle approach in implementing the various commitments contained in the newly adopted Programme of Action.
These activities are substantive and procedural in nature and are expected to help achieve a number of intermediate outcomes, including greater awareness about the IPoA, promoting global consensus building, mainstreaming the IPoA at the national and regional levels, mobilizing resources in support of the implementation of the IPoA and monitoring, evaluating and reviewing the IPoA. The achievement of these intermediate outcomes will in turn pave the way for the attainment of the overarching goal of the Istanbul Programme of Action.
These activities envisaged fall under five clusters: intergovernmental, UN system and other International Organizations, South-South Cooperation, partnerships with parliaments, private sector and civil society, advocacy, awareness raising and resource mobilization.
On the intergovernmental cluster, activities will be carried out at the global, regional and national levels. Global activities include the reviews of IPoA’s implementation by the GA, ECOSOC and the governing bodies of UN organizations, including the Trade and Development Board, as well as LDC Ministerial Meetings. Examples of global activities also include annual SG Reports, the establishment of an ad-hoc working group on smooth transition strategies by the GA and the mid-term review, which are all undertakings in which UNCTAD will be a major player.Indeed, UNCTAD’s normative work, including its annual LDC reports and its vulnerability profiles, could immensely enrich these activities.
Regional-level activities comprise biennial regional reviews, reporting and monitoring, and the featuring of the LDC development agenda in the discussions of the UN Regional Commissions. National-level activities include projects supporting the mainstreaming of the Istanbul Programme of Action into LDCs’ national development plans. UNCTAD will be contributing to these activities as well.
On UN system and other International Organizations, examples of activities include the institutionalization of the Inter-Agency Consultative Group and its regular meetings, the convening of Open Forum on Partnerships, the establishment of task forces such as that on Technology Bank and on Science, Technology and Innovation supporting mechanism and the establishment of inter-agency working groups, including that on indicators to monitor, follow up and review of the implementation of the IPoA. UNCTAD will be a major partner in these undertakings.
Along the same line, it is planned to tap into existing mechanisms to roll out specific projects/activities and substantiate broad commitments in various priority areas of the Istanbul Programme of Action. This has the advantage of avoiding duplication of work. Examples of existing mechanisms that will be used include the UNCTAD’s Investment Advisory Council, the ILO’s Social Protection Floor Advisory Group and the CEB Inter-Agency Cluster on Trade and Productive Capacity.
The importance of South-South Cooperation and the possible ways to engage the countries of the South in the implementation of the IPoA also feature in the Road Map.
The same holds for partnerships with parliaments, private sector and civil society. Activities under this cluster comprise a joint IPU/UN-OHRLLS project to support the contribution of parliaments in the implementation of the IPoA, the establishment of an UN-OHRLLS Business Advisory Council and a CSO Advisory Committee on LDCs.
Regarding advocacy, awareness raising and resource mobilization, a stress is made on the importance of developing and implementing strategies to that intent.
As you could notice, UNCTAD and the Trade and Development Board are with OHRLLS and other UN entities in this journey toward the implementation of the Istanbul Programme of Action.
I am pleased to report to you that this journey has already begun. The General Assembly endorsed the IPoA last June. The Executive Boards of UNDP, UNFPA and UNOPS as well as those of UNICEF and UN-WOMEN have recently called on these organizations to mainstream the IPoA into their respective Programmes of work. Other UN organizations are expected to follow suit in the months to come.
We are tapping into existing UN coordination mechanisms, including EC-ESA and CEB, to advance the implementation of the IPoA. To that intent, we have made a presentation at the EC-ESA meeting.We have scheduled another one at the ongoing HLCP meeting, which is being held in New York. This presentation will be followed by an endorsement by the HLCP of a CEB draft Statement of support to the implementation of Istanbul Programme of Action, which will be tabled at the next CEB meeting.
Our efforts to promote global consensus building in support of the implementation of the IPoA are also in full swing. ECOSOC has recently passed a resolution in support of the implementation of the IPoA. The General Assembly is also expected to act at this Sixty sixth Session. We place a similar expectation on the Trade and Development Board. In connection to this, we hope and count on the Board’s support in ensuring that the concerns and needs of LDCs are reflected in the deliberations and outcomes of the upcoming UNCTAD XIII, as it has been for previous UNCTAD sessions.
To conclude, let me say that I remain deeply grateful for UNCTAD’s contributions in the lead-up to Istanbul and in Istanbul which resulted in such an encouraging outcome. But if we are to achieve the noble objectives set in Istanbul; if we are to realize their development aspirations of their 880 million citizens, then we must continue to work together.
I am confident that it is the right thing to do.
I thank you for your kind attention.