Least developed countries (LDCs) in the Asia-Pacific region concluded their three-day talks in Siem Reap, Cambodia, with a call for LDCs, development partners and the UN system to meet the commitments of the Istanbul Programe of Action (IPoA), including commitments on mobilizing financial resources for development and capacity building.
6 March 2015: Least developed countries (LDCs) in the Asia-Pacific region concluded three days of talks with a call for LDCs, development partners and the UN system to meet the commitments of the Istanbul Programe of Action (IPoA), including commitments on mobilizing financial resources for development and capacity building. The meeting aimed to provide regional input to preparations for the mid-term review of the IPoA.
The UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), in collaboration with the Government of Cambodia, organized the High-Level Asia-Pacific Dialogue on the Implementation of the Istanbul Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) for the Decade 2011-2020, in Siem Reap, Cambodia, from 4-6 March 2015.
The IPoA presents the international community’s vision and strategy for the sustainable development of LDCs from 2011-2020, and was adopted at the Fourth UN Conference on LDCs in Istanbul, Turkey, in May 2011. The mid-term review will take place in June 2016, in Antalya, Turkey.
Shamshad Akhtar, UN Under-Secretary-General and ESCAP Executive Secretary, called for “real transformation” in the lives of the 113 million people living below the extreme poverty line in the Asia-Pacific region, emphasizing that graduation “is not about ticking the boxes” to move beyond LDC status. In a press release, ESCAP highlighted the need for structural transformation of the region’s economies, with a focus on agricultural productivity, rural development, social protection, and financial inclusion, especially of poor and disadvantaged groups. The Maldives and Samoa have graduated from LDC status, and Kiribati, Tuvalu and Vanuatu are expected to graduate soon. Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), Myanmar and Nepal intend to graduate by the year 2020.
Gyan Chandra Acharya, Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, noted that increased funding is needed for LDCs to implement the SDGs, and mentions a specific target for provision of ODA to LDCs in particular; “a first step would be for donors to fulfill their long-standing commitments to provide the equivalent of 0.15- 0.20 of their GNI as ODA to LDCs and set a concrete timetable before the end of 2015 for reaching that goal.” Acharya also lists the deliverables that he anticipates from the mid-term review: a toolkit to facilitate the mainstreaming of the Istanbul Programme into the work programmes of all UN System organizations; the consolidation of support measures across the spectrum of ODA, domestic resources mobilization, remittances, trade and technology transfer and capacity building; operationalization of the Technology Bank for the LDCs; and the launching of an international investment support mechanism with a view to promoting FDI flows that contribute to LDCs’ productive capacity building and structural transformation.
Delegates reaffirmed commitment to the eight guiding principles for implementation of the IPoA: country ownership and leadership; an integrated approach; genuine partnership; result orientation; peace and security, development and human rights; equity; voice and representation; and balanced consideration of the respective roles of the State and markets.
The meeting outcome document, the Draft Siem Reap-Angkor Outcome, will be presented to the Special Body on LDCs, Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs) and small island developing States (SIDS) at ESCAP’s 71st session in May 2015, for consideration as the basis for the regional mid-term review of the IPoA. [ESCAP Press Release] [Acharya Statement] [OHRLLS Webpage on IPoA Mid-term Review] [ESCAP 71] [UN Press Release] [Statement of High Representative]