The Mid-term Review of the Istanbul Programme of Action (IPoA) for Least Developed Countries (LDCs) for the Decade 2011-2020 has closed with a call for greater support to the world's more vulnerable countries.
The review focused on the 48 LDCs and their progress over the past five years, and on finding ways to accelerate their sustainable development.
The conference resulted in a political declaration that had been negotiated among UN Member States in the months leading up to the review.
29 May 2016: The Mid-term Review of the Istanbul Programme of Action (IPoA) for Least Developed Countries (LDCs) for the Decade 2011-2020 has closed with a call for greater support to the world’s more vulnerable countries. The review focused on the 48 LDCs and their progress over the past five years, and on finding ways to accelerate their sustainable development. The conference resulted in a political declaration that had been negotiated among UN Member States in the months leading up to the review.
The review conference took place from 27-29 May 2016, in Antalya, Turkey, and was co-organized by the Government of Turkey and the UN Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (OHRLLS).
The meeting reaffirmed a commitment to fulfill the pledge made by development partners to allocate 0.2% of their gross national income to LDCs. It also: called for using initiatives and programmes that provide LDCs with access to duty-free and quota-free markets and offering them favorable conditions under which exports qualify for preferential treatment; decided to undertake a study considering ways in which LDCs can manage and withstand shocks, such as natural disasters, health pandemics and economic volatility; and supported increasing the UN system’s role in supporting LDCs to attract foreign direct investment (FDI).
A number of initiatives were announced, including the appointment of a governing council for the Technology Bank for LDCs, which will support access to and the better utilization of science, technology and innovation. In addition, the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) signed a Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen their joint work on policy research and analysis, technical cooperation and capacity building in order to increase their support for LDCs from the earliest stages of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) implementation.
Conference Secretary-General Gyan Chandra Acharya, UN High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, emphasized the need to build links between the IPoA and global development frameworks in order to accelerate progress in the next five years. UN General Assembly (UNGA) President Mogens Lykketoft said the meeting’s outcome demonstrates that LDCs and development partners are committed to taking action to advance structural transformation across all LDCs and ensure graduation from LDC status for at least half of the 48 countries. He noted an increase in the number of countries fulfilling criteria that will lead towards graduation.
Helen Clark, Administrator, UN Development Programme (UNDP), noted that: 51% of LDC populations live in extreme poverty; 18 million school-age children do not attend school; and LDC exports account for only 1.1% of the global total, despite having 12.5% of the world’s population. Delivering a message on behalf of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, she called for: greater efforts to raise domestic resources through capacity building, private sector development, international tax cooperation, and better institutional and policy interventions; and access to technology for LDCs, through, inter alia, the Technology Bank for LDCs, which is expected to be fully operational by 2017.
Governments adopted a political declaration that details actions that need to be taken to build productive capacity in agriculture, manufacturing and services, and regarding developing infrastructure, increasing access to energy including renewables, developing the private sector and promoting gender equality and empowerment. It addresses the need to partner with civil society, the private sector, development partners and others to generate the resources and skills needed to strengthen human development, develop local infrastructure and scaling up of resources from domestic sources, official development assistance (ODA), South-South Cooperation and beyond. The Declaration also recommendations for: productive capacity; infrastructure and energy; agriculture, food security and nutrition and rural development; economy, trade and investment; good governance at all levels and human development; gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls; financing for development (FfD); science, technology and innovation (STI); and resilience building.
According to the UN, Botswana, Cape Verde, Maldives and Samoa have graduated from LDC status; with Samoa being the only one to do so since 2011, the beginning of the IPoA decate. Equatorial Guinea, Vanuatu and Angola are scheduled to graduate, and seven others had met the criteria by March 2015: Bhutan, Kiribati, Nepal, Sao Tome and Principe, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste and Tuvalu. [UN Press Release, Conference Opening] [UN Press Release, Outcomes] [UN Meeting Summary] [Remarks of UNGA President] [Remarks of UN Secretary-General] [OHRLLS Press Release, Conclusion of Conference] [OHRLLS Press Release, Conference Opening] [Draft Political Declaration] [UNCTAD Press Release] [IPoA Review Website] [IISD RS Story on Draft Declaration] [IISD RS Guest Article on LDCs and Sustainable Development]