Countries participating in the Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC-IV) have agreed on an 50-page document, dubbed the İstanbul Action Plan, despite difficult debates over the aid regime.
The 50-page document, titled the “Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2011-2020,” obtained by Today's Zaman, provides a roadmap for the LDCs in the next 10 years and was set to be made public later on Friday at the closure of the LCD-IV held in İstanbul from May 9 to 13, after Today's Zaman went into print.
The most assertive objective outlined within the action plan appears to be enabling half the number of LDCs to meet the criteria for graduation by 2020. The concept of LDCs originated in the late 1960s and the first group of LDCs was listed by the UN in its resolution 2768 XXVI of Nov. 18, 1971. A country is classified as an LCD if it meets three criteria.
LDC criteria are reviewed every three years by the Committee for Development Policy (CDP) of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Countries may “graduate” out of the LDC classification when indicators exceed these criteria. The United Nations Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN OHRLLS) coordinates UN support and provides advocacy services for LDCs.
Countries with this status are faced with great challenges caused by the structural weaknesses in their development processes. The UN envisages that the international community has a special approach to these countries and supports them without expecting anything in return. In total there are 48 LDCs in the world, 33 of them being in Africa, 14 in the Asia-Pacific region and one in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The purpose of the fourth UN conference on the LDCs was to assess the results of the 10-year action plan for the LDCs adopted at the third UN LDC conference in Brussels, Belgium, in 2001, and adopt new measures and strategies for the sustainable development of the LDCs into the next decade.
The first and second UN Conferences on the LDCs took place in Paris in 1980 and 1991, the third in Brussels in 2001. The fourth hosted by Turkey this year has been the biggest development movement worldwide in 2011.
Since 1971, when international efforts towards assisting development in LDCs began, only Botswana, Cape Verde and Maldives graduated from this status. During the past decade, when the EU was in charge of supervising the implementation of the last conference’s goals, only two countries, Maldives in January 2011 and Cape Verde in 2007, “graduated” from the status of LDC.
Excerpts from İstanbul Action Plan
Below are excerpts from the Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2011-2020, which was set to be adopted at the LDC-IV.
The overarching goal of the Programme of Action for the decade 2011 – 2020 is to overcome the structural challenges faced by the least developed countries in order to eradicate poverty, achieve internationally agreed development goals and enable graduation from the least developed country category.
Guided by the overarching goal, national policies of least developed countries and international support measures during the decade will focus on the following specific objectives with the aim of enabling half the number of least developed countries to meet the criteria for graduation by 2020:
Achieve sustained, equitable and inclusive economic growth in least developed countries, to at least at the level of 7 percent per annum, by strengthening their productive capacity in all sectors through structural transformation and overcoming their marginalization through their effective integration into the global economy, including through regional integration;
Build human capacities by fostering sustained, equitable and inclusive human and social development, gender equality and the empowerment of women; reduce the vulnerability of least developed countries to economic, natural and environmental shocks and disasters, as well as climate change, and enhance their ability to meet these and other challenges through strengthening their resilience;
Ensure enhanced financial resources and their effective use for least developed countries’ development, including through domestic resource mobilization, official development assistance (ODA), external debt relief, foreign direct investment and remittances;
Enhance good governance at all levels, by strengthening democratic processes, institutions and the rule of law; increasing efficiency, coherence, transparency and participation; protecting and promoting human rights; and reducing corruption, and strengthen least developed country governments’ capacity to play an effective role in their economic and social development.