Let me start by thanking you for all the excellent work you are doing for the preparation of the Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries. I have been following the preparatory processes very closely and I too made a visit to Turkey myself in April last year to initiate the preparatory process with the host country.
I am pleased with the progress we have made up to now and have been receiving regular reports from Mr. Erdenebileg, Acting Executive Secretary, who has been working with you throughout this process. But as we are now coming close to the conference date, I called this meeting so that I can meet with all the people working on the organisational aspects of the conference and also hear from you about any critical decisions that still need to be taken.
This is a very important conference for the entire United Nations system. The Secretary-General has made it one of his priorities for this year and he will personally be attending. The Deputy-Secretary-General will also be attending and will preside over the closing ceremony. In addition, we are expecting up to 60 heads of States and governments, many other dignitaries, including government ministers, chief executives of global corporations, and others. In total, 8,000 participants are expected.
The conference will be working to adopt a new development programme for the world’s poorest and most vulnerable countries with a combined population exceeding 880 million people. Most of their populations live on less than a dollar a day and face profound challenges to their health and well-being. These countries are at the very centre of the most pressing global development challenges. This the very noble work that the UN is engaged in.
Servicing a conference of this magnitude is a very big task that requires a lot of work and coordination between our departments. The conference facilities and logistics arrangements are particularly important. The difference between success and failure may depend on whether the delegates have well planned, secure and adequate conference facilities, or whether they receive their DSA on time, or whether they have all the documents well prepared and translated in their languages.
All these critical issues are in your hands. And with only six weeks to go, we will have to redouble our efforts to ensure that we identify and cater for every eventuality. My office and I will provide you with all the support we can. I am looking forward to hearing from you on the state of preparations and of any outstanding matters that require urgent decisions.
Thank you very much.