Welcome and apologies.
 
1.Thank you all for coming and the commitment you have shown to this process so far. Copies of your report were given to the negotiators in New York as soon as it was ready. It was a positive influence on the negotiations and helped to bridge the gap between developed countries and the LDCs and G77 countries.
 
2.Some of your colleagues send their apologies for not being able to attend this meeting. James Wolfensohn departed early this morning; Sir Fazle cancelled at the last minute due to an illness; President Konare had another engagement given the current political situation in West Africa; and Mr Yonekura was planning an appearance here but again the situation in Japan prevented him; Ms Birdsall also send her apologies. Mr Dervis is arriving later today.
 
The Istanbul Programme of Action
 
3.Regarding negotiations for the Istanbul Programme of Action, the LDCs began the process with a call for a new “Brussels Plus” programme of action. It now looks like the new plan of action will build on the successes of Brussels and focus on building productive capacities in the LDCs. Some other key elements of the programme include:
 
4.Explicit recognition of the important and growing role that South-South Cooperation is already playing in support of LDC development, while recognizing that South-South cooperation is a complement to, and not a substitute for, North-South cooperation.
 
5.Emphasis on the vital importance of knowledge-sharing as the key accelerator of “catch-up” development. The Government of Turkey has offered to set-up an International Innovation Network in Istanbul.
 
6.A reaffirmation of the principle that peace and security, development and human rights are interdependent and mutually reinforcing.
 
7.Increased stress on the critical role that regional and sub-regional cooperation can play in promoting sustained, inclusive and equitable economic growth, especially with investment in infrastructure.
 
Future role of the Eminent Persons
 
8. Istanbul is the beginning of a new process and a new development decade. We will need the Eminent Persons to advocate for the implementation of this programme by national governments and international organisations. We need to monitor such progress and call for corrective measures if there are any gaps in implementation. The LDCs are calling for the graduation of at least half their members by 2021. This is unprecedented. If we are to succeed, we require all your help. The Secretariat will provide all necessary backup and are happy to hear from you on the way forward.