United Nations, 19 September 2006: Assisting Least Developed Countries (LDCs) to reach the Millennium Development Goals and to strengthen their capacity to participate in world trade emerged as major objectives of the donor countries at the General Assembly’s assessment of global efforts to end poverty in the world’s most vulnerable countries.
The meeting to review the implementation of the Programme of Action for the LDCs adopted five years ago in Brussels ended today with a declaration by LDCs and their development partners recommitting themselves to meeting the special development needs of the LDCs.
Norway announced its decision to take special responsibility for realizing at least one of the Millennium Development Goals and called upon other countries to join the initiative.
“….We are going to take a lead role in achieving Millennium Goal number 4: To help reduce child mortality by two thirds by the year 2015. It is a Herculean task. But it is possible,” Norway’s Prime Minister, Jens Stoltenberg, said.
According to the report of the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the implementation of the Programme of Action for LDCs over the last five years, LDCs are the least likely to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
Prime Minister Stoltenberg said that the first step towards achieving the fourth Millennium Development Goal would be the provision of vaccines for all children of the world.
Dr. Benita Ferrero-Waldner, the European Commissioner for External Relations, called for the implementation of the aid for trade package and the new Integrated Framework for Trade Related Technical Assistance, as well as the Hong Kong agreement on duty-free, quota-free market access for LDCs.
Echoing the European Union, Canada called for the speedy resumption of the world trade talks “as the best way to promote trade as a tool for development in the LDCs.” The Deputy Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations, Henri-Paul Normandin, reiterated Canada’s support for aid-for-trade initiatives and the Integrated Framework for Trade Related Technical Assistance. He called for the improvement of aid effectiveness “to get the best possible bang for the development buck.” He emphasized that progress in reducing poverty in the LDCs also depended on developing the right governance structures to facilitate private sector development and sufficient respect for human rights as well as democracy.
Japan announced that it has already initiated domestic procedures to provide duty-free and quota free market access to “essentially all” products originating from LDCs as early as 2007.
Regretting the suspension of the world trade talks, the Deputy Director-General, Economic Affairs Bureau in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, Hideki Ito, said “Japan is determined….to do whatever it can to restart the negotiations and intends to move steadily forward with the implementation of the Development Initiative for Trade, regardless of the results of the results of the Doha Round.”
Citing the flexible approach to development assistance taken by its Millennium Challenge Corporation, the United States said that there are no one-size fits all recipes for development.
“Country ownership, capacity-building, just and inclusive governance, effective institutions and rule of law, open markets, trade and productive investment, environmental sustainability and mobilization of financial resources must all be part of the mix,” said John Hewko, the Vice President of Operations for the Millennium Challenge Corporation.
The Millennium Challenge Corporation is presently engaged in 23 countries, 12 of them Least Developed Countries.