New program of action could create "substantial change" in lives of people of LDCs: Nepal envoy

15:05, May 18, 2011      

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Gyan Chandra Acharya, permanent representative of Nepal to the UN said in the United Nations Tuesday that the recently concluded conference for the world's least developed countries (LDCs) in Istanbul has resulted in an important outcome document.

"We believe that the full and effective implementation of this comprehensive action program will result in a substantial change in the lives of the people," said Acharya, who is currently the chair of the Global Coordination Bureau of the LDCs.

"I believe that this conference has rightly put the issue of the LDCs high on the international agenda and also has stressed the imperative need for giving a strategy focus to the concerns and expectations of the LDCs as the most vulnerable group of the international community," he said.

Acharya's statements came as he briefed reporters on the 4th UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC IV), held in Istanbul from May 9-13.

LDC IV brought heads of state and government as well as a variety of stakeholders together to discuss the LDCs and to unite political will behind the Istanbul Program of Action, a new ten-year plan to assist LDCs with development.

The Istanbul Program of Action was formulated with an earlier program of action in mind, the Brussels Program of Action, which set out a strategy for the development of LDCs from 2001 to 2010.

"We reviewed the progress and we found that while progress has been made in many of the LDCs, it was not sufficient to substantially change the lives of the people and there was a clear need for more vigorous and coherent national efforts and international support for the LDCs," said Acharya.

The new plan of action obligates both LDCs themselves as well as more developed countries to contribute to bettering the 48 LDCs. "

It is a kind of a mutual compact between the LDCs and development partners and it is of a comprehensive nature that takes into account the overall development challenges of the LDCs," said Acharya, "We have agreed that development is first and foremost responsibility of the LDCs themselves but it is not possible without strong international support and cooperation."

Acharya noted that productive sector is key to the development of the LDCs."Building productive capacity in the LDCs together with infrastructure and agriculture is key to the diversification, it is also key to deal with the challenges of a structural nature in the LDCs.

That is why there is a clear commitment on enhancing financial and technical support by the development partners in this sector."

He also pointed to the importance of focus in the Istanbul Program of Action on building the resilience of LDCs to external shocks, including economic and financial crises, as well as climate change.

As far as official development assistance (ODA) is concerned, Acharya said that the new plan compels donor countries to deliver on aid promises by 2015 and enhance ODA requirements after that point in time.

The Istanbul Program of Action, Acharya explained, also focuses on increasing foreign direct investment (FDI) to boost the economies of the LDCs.

"There is the establishment of stronger support mechanisms to promote foreign direct investment to LDCs through setting up new initiatives and partnership programs by providing incentives to the business community to invest in LDCs," he said.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and other UN officials have set the goal of "graduating" half of the countries currently labeled LDCs out of the category by 2020.

"What we have agreed is to establish a working group in the UN that will help facilitate this process when it comes to the LDCs," he explained.

There will also be a comprehensive midterm review of progress made on the Istanbul Program of Action in 2015 on national, regional, and international levels, according to Acharya.

Source: Xinhua
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