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An Interaction Programme on UNLDC IV.

The Fourth United Nations Conference on Least Developed Countries (UNLDC IV) is scheduled for 9-13 May in Istanbul, Turkey. Nepal, being the Chair of the LDC group, is coordinating the preparatory processes in the run up to UNLDC IV. In that context, seizing the opportunity of the presence of Permanent Representative of Nepal to the WTO and Permanent Mission to the United Nations Office at Geneva, H.E. Dr. Dinesh Bhattarai, in Kathmandu, SAWTEE organized an interaction programme on 30 March 2011 in Kathmandu. Dr. Dilli Raj Khanal, Former Member of Parliament, and Former Member, National Planning Commission, Government of Nepal, also presented his thoughts in the programme that was chaired by Dr. Posh Raj Pandey, Executive Chairman, SAWTEE. The main objective of the programme was to interact with stakeholders regarding the preparatory processes for UNLDC IV and Nepal’s leadership role in the process.

The 48 LDCs comprise about one-fourth of the UN membership and 12 percent of the world population. Therefore, a successful outcome of UNLDC IV is extremely important to make a positive impact on these countries. A successful outcome will also have positive spillovers in the form of enhanced security and stability to the wider international community.

The previous programmes of actions agreed by the UNLDC conferences have fallen short of implementation. The number of LDCs almost doubling from 25 in 1971 to 48 today is a testament to this. The Brussels Programme of Action (BPoA) had 165 actions to be taken by the LDCs and178 actions to be taken by development partners. One reason for the poor implementation of the BPoA is the setting of such large numbers of actions to be taken by both sides. Therefore, the upcoming Istanbul Programme of Action should set realistic goals with time bound targets for its effective implementation.

Some of the issues that should be given priority in UNLDC IV include:

  • Eradication of poverty and graduation of LDCs
  • Food challenges and increased investment in agriculture
  • Market diversification for LDCs
  • Increasing the trade potential of LDCs
  • Duty-free and quota-free market access for LDCs
  • Unmet official development assistance (ODA) commitments

 

Moreover, problems facing land-locked least-developed countries should be given special consideration.