Allow me to begin by congratulating you and the members of your bureau upon your well-deserved elections. We are convinced that your able stewardship will lead to a successful conclusion of the session of the Second Committee.
I wish to thank you for giving me the opportunity to introduce the reports of the Secretary-General submitted under agenda item 23 (a) entitled “groups of countries in special situations: follow-up to the Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries”.
The report of the Secretary-General under the heading “ten-year appraisal and review of the implementation of the Brussels Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2001-2010”, contained in documents A/66/66-E/2011/78, is submitted in compliance with General Assembly resolution 65/171 and Economic and Social Council resolution 2010/27. This report served as an important basis in charting out the priorities of the Istanbul Programme of Action. Therefore, let me not dwell on this report in details.
I would now turn to the report of the Secretary-General entitled “Outcome of the Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries”, contained in document A/66/134. This report is submitted pursuant to the General Assembly resolution 65/171. The report focuses on the main elements of the outcome document and maps out the way forward for the implementation of the Istanbul Programme of Action.
As you are aware, the Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries was held in Istanbul from 9 to13 May 2011. The Conference adopted the Istanbul Declaration and Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2011-2020.
The Istanbul Programme of Action is a culmination of the outcomes of 19 pre-conference events as well as contributions came from other processes and events. We pursued a bottom-up approach, starting with country-level preparations feeding into regional and global-level processes. I am happy to inform you that all relevant stakeholders including Governments, UN entities and other international organizations, parliamentarians, civil society and private sector representatives were actively engaged in the entire preparatory process and the Conference itself.
The Secretary-General appointed a group of nine Eminent Persons in 2010 which came up with a comprehensive report entitled “Compact for Inclusive Growth and Prosperity’. This report sets out a framework for priority actions for LDCs to ensure their structural transformation.
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.
At the Conference, the Parliamentary Forum stressed that there was a need for greater accountability by all partners, with LDCs taking the full ownership and leadership of their development programmes.
The Civil Society Forum covered a wide-range of developmental challenges faced by LDCs. They underlined that the current development paradigm should be revisited, moving away from the present market-driven agenda towards implementing people-centered development policies.
The private sector track marked an important milestone for the UN as it was for the first time that the private sector was fully involved into the programmes of a major UN Conference. The private sector track had three interlocking components: the High-level Meeting on Investment and Partnerships; the Global Business Partnership Forum; and the Trade Fair.
The Istanbul Programme of Action represents a shared vision and common aspiration of LDCs and their development partners based on commitments, accountability and partnership. The outcome document recognizes that LDCs, as the most vulnerable group of countries need effective national policies, enhanced global support and appropriate mechanisms at all levels for the achievement of the Programme of Action.
The Istanbul Programme of Action has defined the “partnership of LDCs” that includes traditional donor countries; United Nations System, including Bretton Woods Institutions and other multilateral financial and development institutions; developing countries, within the framework of South-South cooperation; private sector, civil society and foundations.
The new Programme of Action brings about a qualitative shift in the development strategy for LDCs for the next decade. The eight priority areas of the Istanbul Programme of Action cover major areas of importance to LDCs development in a comprehensive manner. The agreed agenda consists of a significant rebalancing of priorities between productive sectors and social sectors. The highlights of the eight priority areas are as follows:
Firstly: The main focus of the Istanbul Programme of Action is on building a critical mass of viable and competitive productive capacity in agriculture, manufacturing and services; diversification; infrastructure development, enhanced investment and structural transformation. The Programme of Action provides strong emphasis on technological innovation and technology transfer to LDCs. The PoA calls for undertaking on a priority basis by 2013 a joint gap and capacity analysis with the aim of establishing a Technology Bank and Science, Technology and Innovation supporting mechanism, dedicated to LDCs.
Secondly: Revitalizing and diversifying agricultural production in LDCs. The Programme of Action accords special emphasis on food and nutritional security and rural development.
Thirdly: LDCs and their development partners have set an ambitious goal of doubling the share of the least developed countries’ exports in the global exports by 2020. They have also agreed to realize timely implementation of duty-free quota-free market access, on a lasting basis, for all least developed countries consistent with the Hong Kong Ministerial Declaration.
Fourthly: The IPoA calls for reducing commodity dependence in LDCs including through the diversification of their export base.
Fifthly: In the area of human and social development, the Programme of Action makes strong commitments towards attaining the MDGs by 2015 and making further significant progress beyond 2015.
Sixthly: The continued vulnerability of LDCs to economic shocks and natural disasters as well as the effects of climate change require a renewed focus on resilience in LDCs. Development partners committed to support national facilities for crisis mitigation and resilience in LDCs.
Seventhly: IPoA accords special emphasis on mobilizing financial resources for development and capacity-building. LDCs are committed to creating conducive domestic environment while donors reconfirmed their commitments to ensure the fulfilment of all ODA commitments to LDCs, and have agreed to review their ODA commitments in 2015. Development partners have also agreed to adopt investment promotion regimes such as insurance, guarantees and preferential financing programmes, such as export credits, risk management tools, co-financing, venture capital and other lending instruments and private enterprise funds for investment in LDCs.
Eighthly and finally: Ensuring good governance at all levels that includes democracy, respect for all human rights, transparency and accountability and equitable governance at the international level.
Countries of the South have made commitment to support the effective implementation of the Programme of Action, within the framework of South-South cooperation.
The IPoA contains a separate section on graduation and smooth transition with a view to providing incentives for countries graduating from LDC status through ensuring a smooth transition. Measures in this respect consist of establishing an ad-hoc working group by the General Assembly to further study and strengthen the smooth transition process.
The Programme of Action contains comprehensive follow-up and monitoring measures at national, regional and global levels, which should be mutually complementary and reinforcing.
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. Since, the Istanbul Programme of Action has mandated the OHRLLS to fully mobilize and coordinate all parts of the United Nations system; my office organized a brainstorming meeting engaging UN agencies including Bretton Woods Institutions, WTO, OECD and some Member States. We have developed a comprehensive Road Map based on the inputs received from the participants during the meeting as well as afterwards.
In the Road Map, we made an attempt to mobilize active and constructive engagement of all the development partners of LDCs. We have illustrated the specific role of various actors in a targeted and time-bound manner.
The inter-governmental mechanism will undertake activities related to the implementation, follow-up and monitoring of the Programme of Action at the national, regional and global levels. The first and foremost task would be the mainstreaming of the Programme of Action by LDCs in their national development strategies and by the development partners in their respective development cooperation strategies.
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 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 undertaken decisions to mainstream the Istanbul Programme of Action, such as UNDP, UNFPA, UNOPS, UNICEF, UN-WOMEN, UNCTAD and WIPO. ECOSOC resolution on LDCs this year has strongly invited all others to do the same. Various agencies are also organizing special events to ensure implementation of the IPoA. For instance, WMO is organizing a capacity building workshop in Benin for the national focal points of African LDCs, later this month. UNIDO is organizing an LDC Ministerial Meeting in Vienna in November on the theme entitled “LDCs structural transformation and UNIDO’s support in the context of the Istanbul Programme of Action”. In compliance with the mandate of the Istanbul Programe of Action, my office will ensure necessary coordination and coherence of the activities undertaken by various agencies.
For the parliamentarians, we are developing a joint IPU/UN-OHRLLS project to promote parliamentary engagement in the implementation of the Istanbul Programme of Action.
We are charting a strategy to strengthen the engagement of the civil society and its organizations in the implementation process of the Istanbul Programme of Action.
For the private sector, we are planning to develop a platform for their continued engagement in the implementation, follow-up, monitoring and review of the Istanbul Programme of Action. The Private Sector Steering Committee has also agreed to form a Business Advisory Council for LDCs.
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. We are organizing a side-event in Busan specially dedicated to LDCs.
In conclusion, I would urge upon all stakeholders to act promptly and decisively. With our dedicated and concerted efforts, it is possible to achieve the overarching goal of the Istanbul Programme of Action to enable half the number of LDCs reach the stage of graduation by 2020. Let us work together to achieve this goal.
I thank you all for your kind attention.