UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan has called on the international community to fulfill development assistance pledges to the world's poorest countries, reform of trade policies as well as adequate and predictable financial flows.
“The Least Developed Countries (LDCs) need support of the international community,” Amjad B. Sial, Pakistan's deputy permanent representative to the UN, told an Intergovernmental Preparatory Meeting for a Fourth United Nations Conference on Least Developed Countries.
In the past, the Pakistani delegate pointed out that there 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.
He therefore underscored the need for “maximum flexibility and policy space” for the LDCs to undertake their development programmes. The Fourth Conference is to be held from May nine to 13 in Istanbul, Turkey.
Ambassador Sial said that despite the gains that some least developed countries had made in improving socio-economic conditions since the last conference in Brussels in 2011, many still faced formidable challenges and had a long way to go to realize the anti -poverty Millennium Development Goals (MGDs).
In addition to traditional challenges, they faced new socio -economic difficulties caused be deteriorating climate conditions, growing food insecurity, rising energy prices and increasing water scarcity, which had exacerbated development challenges.
He stressed that the Istanbul action programme include the development priorities proposed by least developed countries, which must themselves lead and drive development strategies. It must focus on sustainable economic growth, and should support national efforts to build and maintain the institutional capacity to achieve development, while enhancing and developing their productive capacities.
As those countries were predominantly dependent on agriculture, the action plan must aim to enhance agricultural productivity and promote agro-industry, he said. Noting that least developed countries were yet to benefit from enhanced market access, the Pakistan delegate said their debts also remained a challenge, despite debt relief.
Such inadequacies must be addressed in the existing frameworks, he said, calling for an early conclusion of the Doha Round of World Trade Organization negotiations and for the creation of mechanisms to manage those debt burdens.
The action programme must include strong international support, particularly from development partners, as well as adequate and predictable financial flows.
It must be designed to allow maximum flexibility and policy space for development programmes in least developed countries.