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Haiti - Economy : Remarks of Ban Ki-moon at the 4th Conference on LDCs
The group of LDCs, economically vulnerable, with big social problems, is composed of 48 countries (33 in Africa, 14 in Asia, plus Haiti). This UN conference is held every ten years. France hosted the first two in 1981 and 1990, and Brussels the third in 2001.
The goal of the negotiators of the 48 States listed in the category of Least Developed Countries (LDCs), is to obtain from the rest of the international community new measures allowing them to build and develop infrastructure. To succeed, LDCs must make progress on economic reform, governance and resource mobilization at national level.
"The priority for the new programme of action is to build strong economies that can withstand external shocks," Mr. Ban told a summit of the leaders from 48 States in Istanbul on the eve on the opening of the Fourth UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in the Turkish city.
Mr. Ban called for the building of productive capacity and the expanding of opportunities for decent employment for men and women in LDCs.
"It means guaranteeing space for civil society and the private sector to operate. It means expanding the provision of essential services – education, health, infrastructure and social safety nets, especially for nutrition security."
"To achieve this you will need the engagement of a wide range of partners traditional donors, emerging economies and the world of business," said the Secretary-General, urging the leaders "not to allow the new atmosphere of global austerity to undermine progress."
He acknowledged that the goal of reducing LDCs from 48 at present to 24 over the next decade is ambitious, but realistic, provided that those countries maintain their commitment to implementing the programme of action that will emerge from Istanbul.
Acknowledging that developed countries are also facing challenges similar to those bedevilling poorer nations, including climate change and soaring food prices, Mr. Ban said that the main issue was that LDCs have limited capacity and resources to address those global problems. Assistance from developed countries to developing ones was not charity but the "politically correct and morally correct" thing to do, the Secretary-General said.
"Developed countries should understand that this is going to be a great opportunity for them to live together [with others] harmoniously," he added.
In his speech to the LDCs leaders' summit, Mr. Ban said enterprises from around the world will, during the five-day conference, be networking, exchanging ideas and establishing relations that can form an enduring basis for cooperation and opportunity. "We hope they will go away from Istanbul with the message that doing business in the LDCs is not charity but a wise and profitable endeavour"
"But even when we leave Istanbul with a comprehensive programme of action, there will be no time to relax. The promises made here in Istanbul must become promises kept".
"You have been representing the aspirations of the people of our planet's 48 least developed countries during the national, regional and preparatory processes. Your voices have been heard and your ideas are reflected in the draft outcome document of this Conference that will be finalized during the next coming five days," Mr. Ban told representatives from non-governmental organisations and civil society groups.
Speaking at a session of the LDCs parliamentarians forum, the Secretary-General emphasized that his appeal to the conference will be for more commitment, especially in the key areas of building productive capacity aid and trade debt relief and foreign direct investment technology transfer and climate change adaptation and mitigation.
"Securing and implementing this commitment will fall, in large part, with you – the world's parliamentarians," he said.
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