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Despite uneven progress, Least Developed Countries have much upon which to build, Secretary-General tells High-Level Midterm Review Conference

Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message, delivered by Helen Clark, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, to the opening of the Comprehensive High-Level Midterm Review of the Istanbul Programme of Action, in Antalya, Turkey, on 27 May:

I am pleased to convey my greetings to all those gathered for the Comprehensive High-Level Midterm Review of the Istanbul Programme of Action.  I thank the Government and people of Turkey for hosting this important gathering.  I am confident that your engagement in Antalya will help accelerate the implementation of the Istanbul Programme of Action.  This includes reaching the ambitious objective to enable half of the least developed countries (LDCs) to meet the graduation criteria.

LDCs have made headway in reducing poverty, promoting human development and building infrastructure, including that of information and communications technologies.  However, that progress has been uneven.  LDCs face particularly severe constraints and vulnerabilities and remain at the centre of global development cooperation.

As we look ahead, we have much to build upon.  Last year, the international community adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, and the Paris Agreement on climate change.  I am encouraged that these landmark global agreements, collectively, took into account many of the challenges faced by LDCs.  The World Humanitarian Summit further reinforced our efforts.

A revitalized global partnership means donor countries must meet the agreed commitment to allocate at least 0.20 per cent of their gross national income (GNI) to official development assistance (ODA) to support LDCs.  But even if commitments are fully met, ODA will not be enough.  There must be greater efforts to raise domestic resources through capacity-building, private sector development, international tax cooperation and better institutional and policy interventions.  Public-private partnerships, north-south, south-south and triangular cooperation will all play a part.

Trade is also critical and recent World Trade Organization decisions on trade facilitation and improved market access must be implemented swiftly to allow for export diversification and reduce the impact of ever more volatile commodity prices.

Access to technology is equally important for LDCs.  I have established the Governing Council of the Technology Bank, which will work on the Charter of the Technology Bank for LDCs.  We look forward to the work of the Governing Council and the full operationalization of the Technology Bank by 2017.

I trust that this Midterm Review will provide a venue for Member States, the private sector, civil society and other stakeholders to reaffirm and revitalize their commitment of solidarity and partnerships for LDCs.  For our part, the United Nations system is committed to work in a coherent fashion to support your efforts.  Together, let us commit to meet the transformative and ambitious goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and leave no one behind.

I wish you a successful meeting.

Source: UN Meetings Coverage and Press Releases

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