Excellencies
Distinguished colleagues
Ladies and Gentlemen,
 
I extend a warm welcome to you all.
 
I am particularly thankful to each and every one of you for being here with us this morning in a rather short notice. 
 
The Fourth UN Conference on the least developed countries was a significant development event of this decade. The Conference was attended by more than 8,900 accredited participants including 36 Heads of State or Government, 200 parliamentarians, including 10 speakers, 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. The Conference has adopted by acclamation the Istanbul Declaration and Istanbul Programme of Action for the least developed countries for the decade 2011-2020.
 
I would like to express my deep gratitude to the Government and the People of Turkey for their excellent arrangements and support which led to a successful conclusion of the Conference. Ambassador Apakan and his team have done an excellent job for the success of the conference. 
 
I also commend Ambassador Viinanen of Finland, Ambassador Apakan of Turkey and Ambassador Bame of Ethiopia for their highly efficient steering of the intergovernmental consultations that led to a timely conclusion of the negotiations.
 
I thank Ambassador Achariya and his team for their strenuous and passionate engagement in coordinating the LDC group activities for the Conference and negotiating on behalf of G77 and China.
 
I would like to express our appreciation to all other Members for their wholehearted support, engagement and contribution, without which such a realization would not have been possible.
 
I would also like to commend the UN system organizations, including funds and programmes, specialized agencies, Bretton Woods Institutions; as well as other international and regional multilateral organizations for their extraordinary support to the Conference and its entire preparatory process, both substantively and logistically.
 
I am fully confident that all stakeholders would equally remain engaged in the implementation and follow-up process. With a view to ensuring such an engagement in a coordinated manner, we will have to develop a comprehensive roadmap for the implementation, follow-up and monitoring of the Istanbul Programme of Action for the least developed countries for the decade 2011-2020, which is the most important and imminent task ahead of us.
 
I would now like to say few words about the overall purpose and format of the meeting. As I mentioned in my letter of 2 June 2011 sent to all of you, the main purpose of the meeting is as follows:
(i)      Consultation on strategy for the implementation of the goals and targets as well as commitments of the Istanbul Programme of Action;
(ii)      Sharing on how respective agencies would contribute to the implementation of the Istanbul Programme of Action individually and collectively;
(iii)     Discussion and finalization of the roadmap for the implementation of the Programme of Action;
 
As you may have seen in the programme, we will have a brief presentation on each of the sub-themes. This will be followed by interactive discussions. I would request all the presenters to limit their presentation within 7 Minutes to leave more space for interactive discussions. The participants are not required to limit their comments on the presentations or the sub-items identified under each topic, they can comment on any other decisions or ideas contained in the Istanbul Programme of Action, if it is felt important.
 
I would however, humbly request all the presenters and participants not to have discussions on the substance of the issues, which we already have done in detailed at our pre-conference events and during the Conference. We rather need to focus on how to implement the goals and targets and commitments made in the Istanbul Programme of Action. So, please focus your comments and suggestions on the way forward in terms of implementation of the Istanbul Programme of Action.
 
With these few words, I would like to invite Ambassador Gyan Chandra Acharya, Permanent Representative of Nepal and Chair of LDCs to make his remarks.