Statement by Ambassador Amjad Hussain B. Sial, Deputy Permanent Representative of Pakistan At the First Session of the Intergovernmental Preparatory Committee For the Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries New York, 11 January 2011

Mr. Chairman,

My delegation would like to congratulate you and other members of the Bureau on your election. We are confident that under your able leadership, this preparatory process will positively contribute to a successful Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries.

I would also like to convey our appreciation for the efforts and work done by Secretary General of the Fourth United Nations Conference on the LDCs, Ambassador Cheick Sidi Diarra and his team.

We wish to align ourselves with the statement made by the distinguished Permanent Representative of Yemen on behalf of the Group of 77 and China. I also wish to express our full support to the views expressed by the distinguished Permanent Representative of Nepal on behalf of the LDCs.

Mr. Chairman,

This preparatory process provides us an opportunity to undertake a comprehensive review of the situation in which the LDCs find themselves today. Since the last United Nations Conference on LDCs in Brussels in 2001, the LDCs have made some gains in improving their socio-economic conditions. Many LDCs, however, still face formidable challenges in their efforts to improve socio-economic conditions of their people.

Many of the LDCs still have a long way to go with regard to achieving internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals. In addition to the traditional challenges to development as well as the unique and particular problems of the LDCs, new difficulties on the road to socio-economic development have, however, also emerged. The threats from ever deteriorating climate conditions, growing food insecurity, rising energy prices and increasing water scarcity have further aggravated the development problems in the LDCs.

The task before us is to reflect on what has worked in the past and identify the obstacles that have prevented the full realization of the Brussels Plan of Action in order to craft a focused, clear and doable development strategy for the LDCs. In this regard we must accord careful attention to the development priorities identified by the LDCs in the programme of action they have proposed. It is also essential that any development strategy for the LDCs is led and driven by the LDCs themselves.

The new action plan for development of LDCs must focus on sustained and sustainable economic growth. It should support national efforts of the LDCs to build and maintain institutional capacity to undertake development. It must enhance and develop their productive capacities. The LDCs remain predominantly dependent on agriculture sector. The new action plan must, therefore, aim at enhancing agricultural productivity and promoting agro-industry.

Mr. Chairman,

The LDCs in the past decades have not benefitted from the enhanced market access. Despite debt relief offered in the past, debt situation of the LDCs remains challenging. It is, therefore, extremely important that we must address inadequacies in the existing frameworks. An early conclusion of Doha Development Round and devising mechanisms to manage debt burden of the LDCs will support their development efforts.

The LDCs need support of the international community. In the past, there, however, were significant gaps between the commitments made by the development partners to address the development challenges faced by the LDCs and the actual delivery on those pledges. Strong support of the international community, particularly development partners, as well as adequate and predictable financial flows, including meeting the ODA targets shall be the main elements of the new action plan for the development of LDCs. The new action plan needs to be so designed that maximum flexibility and policy space are available to the LDCs to undertake their development programmes.

We are confident that the Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries will play a critical role in restoring the momentum of development in the LDCs and provide a roadmap for future actions to advance the development needs and concerns of the LDCs. We commend the generous offer of Turkey to host the Conference.

Pakistan remains committed to helping LDCs within our limited resources to overcome the formidable obstacles and pursue their development goals.

In conclusion, I may say that we must come up with a clear, focused and doable plan of action at Istanbul Conference. It is a very timely opportunity for governments, parliamentarians, civil society members and private sector to express their strong support for the development of LDCs. Pakistan stands ready to actively participate in this preparatory process and contribute positively to a successful outcome of the Fourth LDC Conference.

I thank you.