Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to commend His Excellency, Ambasador Acharya of Nepal for the initiative to organize this timely event and thank him very much for the invitation to brief you on current and upcoming activities of my office, especially on the preparations for the Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries.
With a year into the target date of 2010, it is clear that LDCs are unlikely to meet most of the goals and targets of the Brussels Programme of Action for LDCs for this decade. Therefore, the Fourth UN Conference on the LDCs has come to command such intense interest and attention, not only of policy-makers, but also of international organizations. Without trying to prejudge the outcome of the Fourth UN Conference on LDCs, I believe that the post-Brussels Programme of Action for LDCs should also look beyond traditional partners and bring to bear a much broader and deeper set of forces to address the myriad of development challenges bedeviling the LDCs.
Allow me to update you on the progress in the preparation for the Conference.
As you may recall, the United Nations General Assembly in its Resolution 63/227 designated my Office as the focal point for the fourth United Nations Conference on LDCs, to mobilize and coordinate UN system-wide support to the preparation and organization of the Conference.
Several steps have also been taken for the organization of national and regional reviews, including a workshop of National Focal Points in July. My Office is working with UNDP Resident Coordinators in supporting LDCs in the preparation and organization of country-reviews. As you are aware, country and regional reviews are important inputs to the Conference. In this regard, I urge all the LDCs to prepare comprehensive country reports on the implementation of the BPOA, highlighting achievements, challenges, lessons learnt as well as what you think should be the priorities for the next Programme of Action for LDCs. The deadline for submission of the LDC country reports is fast approaching: December 31st! Thus I would like to urge the all delegations of LDC to convey the importance of the country level preparations to their capitals and provide my office with information about challenges and progress made.
Preparations for regional review meetings are progressing. The first High-level Asia-Pacific Policy Dialogue on the Brussels Programme of Action for Asian and Pacific LDCs including Yemen is organized by ESCAP and will take place in January 2010, hosted by Bangladesh.
The regional review meeting for Africa and Haiti will take place around March 2010, convened by ECA. The outcomes of these meetings will be presented at the respective commissions’ session for further discussions by member Governments. My office – and myself personally – are actively involved in the preparations of these meetings.
Just last week the second Interagency Consultative Group meeting took place in Geneva with participants from around 30 agencies. In order to raise the visibility of the Conference and to draw the world’s attention to the challenges facing LDCs a list of pre-conference events that will be sponsored by the UN agencies on priority themes of relevance to LDCs was finalized. It covers a broad range of topics including trade facilitation and resource mobilization, South-South Cooperation, productive capacity development, climate change, food security, education and health, gender equality, migration, and governance.
The pre-conference events and other preparatory processes will accord us the opportunity not only to raise awareness of the Conference; but more importantly to focus the attention of the international community on the acute vulnerabilities of LDCs, which are recognized as the most vulnerable entities of the international community. It is my hope that LDCs will actively participate in these events.
I am happy to announce that the first pre-conference organised by UNIDO and co-sponsored by OHRLLS will already take place beginning of December in Vienna. The topic is the Impact of the Global Economic Crisis on LDCs’ Productive Capacities and Trade Prospects: Threats and Opportunities.
You would agree with me that civil society’s involvement is vital to the success of the Conference. In this regard, my Office has already consulted widely with NGO and civil society representatives, both in-country as well as at the international level. The purpose of this was to extend our assurance that we expect their involvement and quality input into the debate in the lead-up to the Conference. Following a series of these discussions, a structure for the civil society track was proposed, which allows ample opportunity for their engagement. We will continue discussions with civil society representatives during the coming days to further progress this aspect of the preparations.
We are also working with the Inter-Parliamentary Union to mobilize parliamentary support to the national reviews. In this regard, we have just published a joint guide on “mobilizing parliamentary support for the Brussels Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries”.
Let us work together to ensure that LDC IV will deliver on sustainable development in the broadest sense for the Least Developed Countries.
Thank you for your attention.