FOURTH UNITED NATIONS CONFERENCE ON THE
LEAST DEVOLOPED COUNTRIES
(13 MAY 2011, ISTANBUL )
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Following a week of intensive work, debates and meetings, we have finally reached the end of our deliberations. I am extremely pleased to announce that we have achieved a successful conclusion of the Conference.
On behalf of the Government of Turkey and on my own behalf, I would like to extend most sincere thanks and appreciations to His Excellency Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations, and to all the Staff of the United Nations Secretariat, His Excellency Joseph Deiss, President of the General Assembly, Ambassador Sheikh Sidi Diara, the High Representative of the LDCs, the distinguished Heads of State and Government, Ministers, Heads of Delegations, Parliamentarians, Inter-Governmental and Non-Governmental Organizations, civil society representatives, the intellectuals, private sector and the Host Committee, for their hard work and tireless efforts.
It has been such a great honor for me to be the Chair of United Nations’ Fourth Conference on the LDCs.
The Conference constitutes a significant step forward in addressing the problems confronted by the Least Developed Countries and represents the political will and determination of the Heads of State and Government of the member states, the leaders of the International Community and other stake holders.
We have been able to draw up the parameters of a renewed and strengthened global partnership to find lasting solutions to the complex challenges of the LDCs in the next decade.
From the outset, Turkey has committed itself not only to host the Conference but also to contribute to its substance by taking active part in the preparatory process and the negotiations of the outcome documents.
Turkey has delivered to the best of its ability to achieve a successful conclusion.
There is no doubt that, we have been able to arrive where we are at by virtue of a long preparatory process. Within the last two years, several regional and thematic meetings at various levels were held. We have participated and made contributions to the Dhaka, Addis Ababa, New York, Geneva, Vienna, Lisbon, Caen, Istanbul and New Delhi meetings. I have personally attended the New Delhi Ministerial Meeting on “Harnessing the Positive Contribution of South-South Cooperation for the Development of LDCs” in February this year. All these meetings have paved the way for this outcome.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am also delighted with the level of attendance at the Conference. A total of 8,931 people have been accredited to the Conference. We believe that, together with many off-site activities, the number of participants have exceeded 10.000. 36 Heads of State and Government, 96 Ministers and 66 Presidents of International Organizations attended the Conference.
This is a great turnout! I congratulate and thank all of you! Such a high-number of attendance is a testament to the priority and dedication the international community has given to the LDCs.
We have also received extensive press coverage and social media coverage highlighting the key issues addressed during the conference. In this regard, I acknowledge the invaluable contributions of the civil society and the media in sensitizing the international public opinion to the challenges faced by the LDCs.
I am proud to announce that as a result of all these a comprehensive Istanbul Program of Action has been agreed upon.
The Istanbul Program of Action is a detailed document that contains actions to be taken up and delivered by 2020 both by the Least Developed Countries and the development partners to achieve sustained and equitable growth by the LDCs. Targeting the 48 LDCs with a total population of nearly 900 million people, the Istanbul Program of Action primarily aims to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger.
I would like to recall here a famous hadith. I quote “He who sleeps on a full stomach whilst his neighbor goes hungry is not one of us.
Hence, in guiding its development, Turkey has taken upon itself the responsibility of putting LDC related topics high on the agenda of the international community and of contributing to the efforts for finding solutions to the pressing problems of the LDCs until 2020.
We are glad that the document along with the Istanbul declaration confirms and further strengthens the commitments of the international community and the development partners to the LDCs. It sets out a cooperation framework and the responsibilities of the UN system, including the international institutions, developed countries as the development partners, developing countries within the context of South-South Cooperation and LDCs themselves.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The LDCs are important members of the international community. Their sustainable development is vital to the world peace and stability. Drawing its strength from the global solidarity and partnership, the Istanbul Program of Action will serve as a guiding document for development.
The 50 pages document seeks to address wider concerns and covers areas such as investment, technology, tourism, education,health, agriculture, climate change and food security more extensively. It underlines the importance of regional cooperation and integration and also highlights the role of women in the development.
The core elements of the Istanbul Program of Action are more ODA commitments, enhanced access to trade, improvement of the productive capacities of the LDCs and promotion of investments towards this aim.
I am convinced that the Istanbul Program of Action will create a new momentum for an “accelerated”, “sustained”, “inclusive” and “equitable” economic development in LDCs.
In this regard, Turkey is committed, ready and willing to do its part in assisting in the development process of the LDCs. As the host country, Turkey will be making available a total of 200 million USD annually to LDCs, starting in 2012. This will be used for technical cooperation projects and programs as well as scholarships. This commitment builds on our country’s tradition of supporting humanitarian projects – a tradition which I am particularly proud of. Turkey’s current investments in the LDCs near 2 billion USD. Our aim is to increase this level of direct investment to the LDCs, particularly from our private sector, to a total of 5 billion USD by 2015 – and even strive for increasing this amount to 10 billion USD by 2020.
Furthermore, Turkey is prepared to host an “International Science, Technology and Innovation Center” and an “International Agriculture Center” dedicated to the LDCs. The focus of these two Centers represent highly important areas within the Program of Action and beyond the hosting, our nation is committed to provide additional support in terms of financing and human resources. You will find the details of Turkey’s Economic and Technical Cooperation Package for the LDCs as announced by the Prime Minister of Turkey distributed on your desks.
The Brussels Program of Action has been criticized for not yielding the desired results and for lack of efficient monitoring. In the Istanbul Program of Action, a special emphasis is being made on monitoring the implementation and the delivery the commitments.
Therefore, ownership of the post-Conference phase by all stakeholders is essential. We expect that the member states, parliaments, civil society, private sector, intellectuals all assume an active role in monitoring the implementation of the Istanbul Program of Action and the delivery of the results against the commitments made over the past week.
Turkey, on its part will contribute to this process by token of 5 million USD that it will allocate for the monitoring of the implementation of the Istanbul Program of Action. Furthermore, we are also ready to host a Mid-Term Review Conference of the Istanbul Program of Action, Istanbul, in 2015.
The Istanbul Conference has been different from all previous conferences by comprising several dimensions. For the first time, within the framework of the private sector track, a high level meeting on investment and partnership, a business forum and a trade fair were organized. Moreover, it has gained a very different dimension with the involvement of the civil society and the intellectual’s forums. Turkey recommended such sessions form part of the conference, to draw upon the different experiences across the sectors.
Turkey as a developing country has many success stories and experiences to share with the LDCs. It is because of this, that we believe we have much to offer to the LDCs, our knowledge, experience and learning. By doing so, we do not seek any political or economic gains. As a nation bridging East and West, North and South, we are determined to work for the global common good and economic justice for all. We feel this as a responsibility that our unique location bestows upon us.
Therefore, as the host country of the Conference, one of our priorities has been to evoke the collective conscience of the international community, towards the plight of the masses living in the LDCs.
As President Gül has stated in his opening remarks, a world that tolerates extreme inequalities is not a world built upon shared values and objectives. Thus, we need to work together to build a more dignified future for the people of the LDCs.
‘Nelson Mandela once said: "If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart." In line with this, I want to propose a new name for the LDCs… one which is more forward looking and promising than the current nomenclature. Let us move away from categorizing nations by their current shortcomings. Instead, let us be part of a process that builds hope and aspiration that is grounded in achievable potential. Rather than Least Developed Countries, I propose henceforth we refer to these nations as ‘Future Developing Countries’, which better recognizes the win-win situation that creates a better, brighter future for us all.
We believe a brighter future is possible.
And Turkey will do everything in its power to make it reality. Istanbul will then be remembered as the place where the misfortune of 900 million people has taken a positive turn.