Honorable Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Nepal

Honorable Ministers

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am deeply honoured to be able to attend this Ministerial Meeting. I am happy to note that most of you present here had the opportunity to attend the Fourth United Nations Conference on the least developed countries. You are also the main architect of the Istanbul Declaration and the Istanbul Programme of Action. I would therefore refrain from giving detailed illustration of what is contained in the new Programme of Action. I would rather focus on the way forward for the implementation of the Programme of Action.

As you would kindly agree, Istanbul Programme of Action comes out to be a comprehensive, ambitious and result-oriented outcome document. It contains 47 goals, 16 joint actions, 126 actions by LDCs and 102 actions by the development partners. The responsibilities of various actors are clearly delineated. The most important task ahead is the implementation. We therefore attach special emphasis on the implementation, follow-up and monitoring processes. 

Immediately after the Conference, my office had started working on the implementation strategy. My office had organized a brainstorming meeting on 28 June 2011 which was attended by more than 70 delegates, representing most of the UN agencies including Bretton Woods Institutions, WTO, OECD and some key Member States. We have developed a comprehensive Road Map based on the inputs received from the participants during the meeting as well as afterwards.

We are expecting that the Road Map will serve as a guiding principle for LDCs and their development partners. This will also ensure a coordinated, coherent and timely implementation of the new Programme of Action. The Road Map elucidates the specific role of various actors in a targeted and time-bound manner.

As you would kindly recall, we undertook extensive preparation under five exclusive but mutually reinforcing tracks, namely inter-governmental forums, UN System and other international organizations, Parliaments, Civil Society and Private Sector. We are engaging all five tracks for the implementation of the Programme of Action. The Road Map clearly identifies what actions would be undertaken by each of the five clusters.

The inter-governmental track will comprise activities at national, regional and global levels. The first and foremost task under this chapter would be mainstreaming the Programme of Action by LDCs in their national development strategies and by the development partners in their respective development cooperation strategies. I would urge upon you to ensure the mainstreaming of the Programme of Action in your national budget as well as long-term development strategies. 

My office is working on a specific project with a view to providing particular guidelines and technical support to LDCs and to building capacity of their national focal points for implementation of the Programme of Action. We are also going to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the UNDP in its capacity as the Chair of the UNDG with a view to securing full support of the UNDG as well as UN country team for mainstreaming and implementation of the Programme of Action. 

At the regional level, the United Nations regional commissions and agencies would undertake biennial reviews of the implementation of the Programme of Action in cooperation with sub-regional and regional development banks and intergovernmental organizations.

At the global level, both the General Assembly and the ECOSOC will monitor the implementation of the Programme of Action on an annual basis. The Annual Ministerial Review and the Development Cooperation Forum of ECOSOC will also review the implementation of the Istanbul Programme of Action, as appropriate. The Annual Ministerial Review of ECOSOC in 2015 will be fully dedicated to review the Istanbul Programme of Action.

The Istanbul Programme of Action emphasizes the importance of mutual accountability between LDCs and their development partners. We will ensure this accountability through the report of the Secretary-General as well as through the annual review by the General Assembly and ECOSOC. We are also planning to use some existing mechanisms to ensure mutual accountability including through peer review between LDCs and their development partners.

Under the organizational track, The United Nations funds and programmes and other multilateral organizations, including the Bretton Woods Institutions will contribute to the implementation of the Programme of Action including by integrating it into their work programmes. Some of them have already taken decisions to mainstream the Istanbul Programme of Action. ECOSOC resolution on LDCs this year has strongly invited others to do the same.

My office will make sure that all existing coordination mechanisms within the United Nations System take up the Istanbul Programme of Action in their work programme. We have already made presentation at the Executive Committee on Economic and Social Affairs (EC-ESA) and the High-level Committee on Programmes (HLCP) of the Chief Executives Board, featuring the outcome and the follow-up processes of the Istanbul Programme of Action. Before the Conference, Secretary-General’s High-level Policy Committee issued a strong message in support of the Conference as well as the implementation of its outcome. We will further beef up the Inter-Agency Consultative Group Mechanism that includes all UN entities, BWIs, WTO and other relevant international and regional financial organizations. 

We are in the process of establishing some Task Forces comprising relevant entities and organizations with a view to implementing various decisions contained in the Istanbul Programe of Action. We are also planning to organize partnership forums, under which focussed discussions will take place on specific thematic areas. Relevant agencies will make their presentations on their existing programmes and future work plans dedicated to LDCs, which will be followed by discussions and recommendations.   

Under Parliamentary track, we are developing a joint IPU/UN-OHRLLS project to promote parliamentary engagement in the implementation of the Istanbul Programme of Action. The overall objective of this proposed project is to strengthen the ability of LDC parliaments to design, implement, monitor and follow-up of the Istanbul Programme of Action.

Under Civil Society Track, we are charting a strategy to strengthen the engagement of civil society and its organizations in the implementation process of the Istanbul Programme of Action. We envisage three priority focus of this strategy: First: Providing an enabling international platform for civil society to contribute to policy discussions and strategies for LDCs, Secondly: Promoting and scaling up philanthropy actions and more active fund-raising activities for causes relating to LDCs, and  

Finally: Strengthening institutional capacity within civil society organizations in LDCs by organizing workshops, seminars, and training sessions in collaboration with other agencies

Under Private Sector Track, we are planning to develop a platform for continued engagement of the private sector in the implementation, follow-up, monitoring and review of the Istanbul Programme of Action. At the Wrap-Up Conference Call of the Private Sector Steering Committee, at the end of June, the formation of a Business Advisory Council was agreed. Such a Council would provide valuable advice to OHRLLS on how to ensure mainstreaming of the Private Sector’s concerns into the intergovernmental process and review and could also serve as sounding board and as a collaborative platform for dialogue. Convening a “Global Business Forum” is also in our plan.

Hon’ble Ministers, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen

Some international organizations are yet to recognize LDCs as a special category of country. This Group also does not feature prominently in the G-20 and G-8 processes. My office will continue its advocacy works through the “Sherpa” of the Secretary-General to ensure appropriate reflection of LDC issues in the outcome of the G-20 and G-8 Summits. We will also continue our advocacy to ensure universal recognition of LDC as the most vulnerable group of countries. I would urge upon you to continue your efforts in this regard through inter-governmental process. 

It is also important to prioritize LDC issues in Major International Conferences and Summits in the Economic, Social and related fields such as the Busan High-level Forum on Aid Effectiveness, Rio+20 and COP 17 under UNFCCC.  

There is also lack of awareness about LDCs at the global level. To address this challenge, my office is drafting an advocacy strategy to raise awareness about LDCs and the Istanbul Programme of Action. We intend to exert intensive, focused and sustained campaign in favour of the Istanbul Programe of Action with a view to accelerating its full and effective implementation by all partners.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

A number of important decisions have already been taken in a bid to the implementation of the Istanbul Programme of Action. The General Assembly has endorsed the IPoA on 17 June 2011. The Economic and Social Council has adopted a resolution with a strategic guidance to the Member States, UN System and other international organizations to implement the new Programme of Action.  Executive Boards of UNDP, UNFP and UNOPS, and UN-WOMEN have adopted important decisions on integrating the IPoA in their respective Programmes of work. The UNDP decision, this year, invited the United Nations Development Group (UNDG) to integrate the IPoA into its work plans.

In conclusion, I would like to stress that Istanbul Outcome sets a significant target of graduating half the number of LDCs. This is an ambitious target. However I am hopeful that if all parties fulfill their commitments, this target is achievable. Being the primary owner of the Programme of Action, LDCs should take the lead.

You can rest assured that despite resource constraints, my office will do its best to carry out its mandate in support of the full, effective and timely implementation of the Istanbul Programme of Action.

I thank you all for your kind attention.