UN Forms Experts' Group to Assist World's Poorest Countries

    European Commission President Jacques Delors. Delors will co-chair the Group of Eminent Persons with former Mali President Alpha Oumar Konare. Photo by: EC

    Ahead of a major international forum scheduled next year on least developed countries, the U.N. is tapping the expertise of 10 notable international development personalities in order to assist the world’s poorest countries meet development targets.

    The Group of Eminent Persons was appointed Aug. 25 by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and comprises 10 people chosen for their “high international stature, expertise and strong commitment to global development,” Ban’s spokesperson explained.

    The group is tasked to build political commitment and public awareness in support of the world’s 49 least developed countries in key areas including trade, investments, technology transfer, climate change adaptation and official development assistance, the U.N. News Center says.

    It will be co-chaired by former Mali President Alpha Oumar Konare and former European Commission President Jacques Delors. Members include the following:

    - Fazle Hassan Abed, founder and chairperson of the Bangladesh Rehabilitation Assistance Committee.

    - Nancy Birdsall, founding president of the Center for Global Development- Kemal Dervis, vice president and director of global economy and development at the Brookings Institution and a former administrator of the UN Development Program

    - James Wolfensohn, chairman and chief executive officer of Wolfensohn & Co. and former World Bank president.

    - Hiromasa Yonekura, chairman of Sumitomo Chemical Co. Ltd.

    - Louis Michel, member of European Parliament and former European commissioner for development and humanitarian aid.- Louis Kasekende, deputy governor of the Bank of Uganda and former executive director at the World Bank.- Richard Jolly, honorary professor of the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex.

    The Group of Eminent Persons was formed in preparation for the Fourth U.N. Conference on the Least Developed Countries, which will be held May 30-June 3, 2010, in Istanbul, Turkey.

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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.