In Turkey, World Leaders Tackle Program of Action for Least Developed Countries

World leaders, international organization officials and civil society representatives are meeting May 9-13 in Turkey for the fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries, where they will assess the implementation of the program of action they adopted in 2001 and attempt to reach a new agreement to support the development of the 48 countries classified as LDCs.

The focus of the new agreement will be on building economies strong enough to withstand external shocks, according to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. He emphasized the need to expand job opportunities and productive capacities in LDCs.

Ahead of the conference, Ban urged the international community to boost its efforts to help lift the nearly 1 billion people living in LDCs out of poverty, arguing that investing in these countries is a “classic win-win for all.” He also encouraged LDCs to come up with a single position and send a strong message to the rest of the international community.

Among the world leaders attending the event are European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and European Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs, who are expected to challenge other donors to match the bloc’s pledge to spend up to 0.20 percent of the gross national income for efforts to boost economic and social development in LDCs, according to an EU news release.

Meantime, civil society groups that met at a forum ahead of the main U.N. conference have called for new approaches to development, arguing that existing ones have failed to help the world’s poorest countries.

In a report, the groups outlined several recommendations on how the international community can adjust its strategies, including forgiving all debts owed by poor countries and reviewing existing mandates of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, IPS News reports.

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.