Lakshmi Puri, the representative of the Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, introduced a background note on the Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries, to be held in Istanbul from 30 May to 3 June 2011 (CEB/2010/HLCP-XX/CRP.8). She noted that in many respects, the High-level Plenary Meeting on the Millennium Development Goals and its outcome was a “dress rehearsal” and a microcosm of what the Conference was to be in substantive and political scale and scope.
During the discussion, Committee members voiced their strong support for the Conference, noting the efforts being made by their agencies in specific sectors, including tourism, industrial development, trade, agriculture, infrastructure, intellectual property, health, education, employment and labour, and so on. It was also noted that, although there had been overall growth in the least developed countries over the last decade, this growth had been uneven and had led to increased inequalities within countries. Given declines in remittances and decreases in external capital flows, there was a need to look at new financing modalities, including innovative sources of finance, and to expand the donor base, as well as to have effective follow-up and monitoring mechanisms for the implementation of commitments.
Some members felt that insufficient attention had been given to the social sectors, including education, as well as to gender mainstreaming. It was also stressed that, in order to build productive capacity, it was important to focus on the strengthening of infrastructure and institutional capacities. In addition, special attention was required with respect to the particular needs of post-conflict and fragile States.
Several members noted that various programmes and mechanisms were in place to assist least developed countries in building their productive capacities, and that to avoid any possible duplication with a proposed new initiative, these should first be mapped out and existing gaps identified.
Committee members agreed to provide the Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States information in writing on their mandates, programmes and perspectives with regard to the Conference, as well as to a global initiative and partnership for building productive capacity. The Committee would lay the ground at its next session for a possible CEB statement of support in the lead-up to the Conference.