Opening Remarks by the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister Jhala Nath Khanal at the Meeting of the Heads of State/Governments/Delegations of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in Istanbul, Turkey
8 May 2011
Distinguished fellow Heads of State and Government of LDCs,
His Excellency Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations,
His Excellency Mr. Joseph Deiss, President of the General Assembly
Representatives of the Parliamentary, Civil Society and Private Sector Tracks,
First of all, I would like to extend my sincere thanks to you for coming here to attend this important informal meeting to share our thoughts as we prepare for the formal beginning of the UNLDC conference tomorrow. I am particularly thankful to you all for attending it despite your long journey from home. I would like to make it as brief and as focused as possible.
As the host of the LDC conference, Turkey has been all along with us in our long process of preparation of the meeting. Both in substantive terms and in facilitation, we have seen exemplary commitment of Turkey to the cause of LDCs, for which we are most grateful. This is a clear example of solidarity and empathy.
We are privileged to have with us the UN Secretary General who has always been at the forefront in highlighting the cause of the LDCs as the most vulnerable group within the UN system. We are thankful to you, Mr. Secretary General, for your wholehearted support, advocacy, commitment as well as your leadership role in mobilizing UN system-wide support in favor of LDCs.
I thank the President of the UN General Assembly for pursuing the LDC agenda with clear priority as well as for organizing various thematic debates and important events at the General Assembly. I welcome and thank the representatives of the Parliamentary, Civil Society and Private Sector Tracks for their consistent advocacy of LDC issues and support.
This Conference is taking place at a very difficult time. LDCs do not only face the traditional challenge of structural constraints and low human development, now they have to face complex and multiple challenges of food, fuel and economic crises and their combined impacts. Climate change has further aggravated our situation. The number of the poor in the LDCs remains unreasonably high with a high rate of unemployment, which is a source of instability. Therefore this Conference must come forward with a clear, comprehensive and action-oriented outcome to address the multi-dimensional problems of poverty and hunger. This calls for right mix of national policies as well as targeted and robust international support measures and mechanisms.
The successful conclusion of the high level conference of the MDG last year in New York gives us some hope. We stressed there that there will be no MDGs without LDCs. Our ambition is to enable at least half of us to reach the stage of graduation by the end of the implementation of the next program of action. We believe that we can accomplish this objective through structural transformation. For this, we need sustained and equitable economic growth that depends, inter alia, on productive capacity building with particular emphasis on infrastructure development. Enhanced market access and capacity to trade, investment in productive sectors and in technology and innovation will be critically important to our success.
While development is, first and foremost, our own responsibility, we cannot, however, achieve that without a renewed and strengthened global partnership. The existing international support measures are not enough to address LDCs’ multiple vulnerabilities and structural constraints. Therefore, an enhanced and scaled-up global partnership and solidarity with the LDCs becomes an absolute necessity. We need additionalities in all core areas of resources - ODA, trade, FDI and debt relief. In addition to support from the traditional development partners, we also need enhanced level of support from emerging South, consistent with their capabilities.
Let me stress here that the UN LDC conference takes place only once every ten years and it is the only dedicated conference on 48 LDCs. This conference, therefore, assumes special significance to the LDCs and the world at large. This could be made successful with clear deliverables. International system should be more responsive to the concerns and aspirations of the LDCs. LDCs increased and strengthened participation in multilateral institutions including IFIs as well as other international processes and fora will be essential towards this end.
It is our collective responsibility and therefore we must have stronger outcome to instill hope and expectations. Humanity demands it. Our common self-enlightened interests call for it. Our common security and global peace necessitates it.
Let me stress here that this is also an opportunity for the international community to bring about a change in the lives of the people collectively through an ambitious, forward-looking and result-oriented outcome from Istanbul.
When we agree to have a vision of graduating half of LDCs by 2021, the supportive measures should be commensurate with our vision. This will give a strong message of solidarity and hope to more than 800 million people. All of us should be guided by this approach to make this Conference a success. Thank you.