En route to the UN LDC IV Conference..............
The UNCTAD regional Workshop on Productive Capacities, Economic Growth and Poverty Reduction in Asian and the Pacific Least Development Countries: en route to the UN LDC IV Conference, was organised in Kathmandu from 22–24 March.
Bharat Mohan Adhikari, Deputy Prime Minister and also Nepal´s Minister for Commerce and Supplies stated, “further progress is needed from the international community in tackling the effects of climate change and food security in the Least Developed Countries (LDCs)”.
The Deputy Prime Minister and the UNCTAD Secretary-General Supachai Panitchpakdi both stressed on the importance of the upcoming Fourth United Nations Conference on Least Developed Countries (LDC-IV), which will take place 9-13 May in Istanbul, Turkey.
The opening of the workshop on 22 March was chaired by Purushottam Ojha, Secretary of the Ministry of Commerce and Supplies. “We need to emphasize on the need to address the knowledge and infrastructure gaps that the LDCs face in the forthcoming LDC IV Conference,” stated Ojha.
Nepal is currently the Chair of the Least Developed Countries— a United Nations group of 49 under-developed nations. Speaking during the inauguration, UNDP Country Director Shoko Noda stated, “We need a much greater sense of urgency amongst all those responsible to get our countries out of it. Only effective economic policies that create employment, increase agricultural productivity and reduce dependence on commodities can ensure that growth and when it comes— it will translate into poverty reduction.”
Charles Gore, UNCTAD Special Coordinator for cross-sectoral issues of the organisation´s division for Africa LDCs and special programmes, during the closing session of the workshop stated, “LDCs should adopt a form of good governance which delivers economic development outcomes. In particular they should seek to promote improvement of their productive capacities and achieve greater economic diversification - what UNCTAD calls development governance." He also noted that LDCs need to increase agricultural productivity.
The number of people living in extreme poverty in the LDCs has continued to increase throughout the last 30 years, even during the period of economic boom. The LDCs are also off track to meet many Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) targets such as access to safe drinking water and sanitation facilities and reducing infant, child, and maternal mortality. Recent global crises (Food, Fuel and Finance), the climate change and natural disaster factors as well as ongoing conflicts in many LDCs have made the challenge to reach the MDGs more complex.
There are 14 LDCs in the Asia-Pacific region: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Kiribati, Lao People´s Democratic Republic, Myanmar, Nepal, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Yemen.