H.E. Mr. Upendra Yadav, Deputy Prime Minister of Nepal,
The Honourable Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu,Foreign Minister of Turkey,
Dr. Arjun Karki, Chair of the Civil Society Steering Committee,
Mr. Mustafa Tutkun, Doctors Worldwide Turkey
It is indeed heartening to deliver closing remarks at the conclusion the Civil Society Forum. As I have said at various fora, civil society plays a pivotal role in our collective efforts towards sustainable development in the world’s poorest nations. You are at the forefront of the battle lines in the struggle against poverty often sacrificing yourselves in the service of communities most in need. For this enduring commitment, allow me to express my sincere appreciation. Without our civil society partners, the work of the United Nations would be made all the more difficult to achieve.
This Forum has taken on the important task of assessing the implementation of the 2001 Brussels Programme of Action for the least developed countries (LDCs) by taking an honest look at both the progress achieved and the shortcomings over the last decade. Your appraisal makes clear that while we should acknowledge that strides have been made on a number of fronts, such as greater access to education for both girls and boys, an improvement in gender equity, and an uptick of official development assistance to the LDCs, there remains room for improvement.
We count on you to tell us uncomfortable truths in order for us to take stock and if need be, change direction. Certainly, we can all agree that there needs to be a greater emphasis on translating the current economic growth experienced among some of the LDCs into job creation and eventually into poverty alleviation. You have also highlighted that more attention ought to be paid to ensure that civil society is considered key partners in the formulation of policy measures which affect the lives of the most needy.
Throughout your discussions this week, I would like to commend you for remaining cognizant of the impact of recent multiple crises on our efforts. Food security for millions in the LDCs remains elusive. Public health and education systems continue to be severely strained, and for many in the small island LDCs, climate change has become a very real threat to your already fragile livelihoods.
Senior Government officials in Istanbul have just endorsed a call for stronger political leadership in tackling the myriad challenges facing the LDCs. In order to ensure that this commitment is made reality, it is imperative that the existing partnership between civil society and Governments is expanded and deepened. Building better communication and trust between policy makers and the civil society community can only spur innovative solutions to common problems.
The United Nations will continue to act as a bridge between Member States and civil society as we proceed from Istanbul. We will maintain our commitment of bringing together all relevant partners as we forge ahead with the implementation of the comprehensive plan of action.
As I have said, civil society is an indispensable partner in all of these efforts. We need your energy, but most of all, we need your creativity. The United Nations stands ready to do all that we can to support your work, so that, together, we can make a difference in the lives of millions of people in the world’s forty-eight least developed countries.