The ongoing 69th annual session of the UN Economic and Social Council for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) in Bangkok, convened a session today 25 April on the Biennial Review of the Istanbul Programme of Action. The ESCAP comprises of 53 member states in the Asia-Pacific region including 9 associate members who are not a member of the UN. All of the Asia-Pacific LDCs except Yemen are members of the ESCAP.
 
Click here for the LDC Watch statement which specifically highlights our concerns on the TRIPS (trade related aspects of intellectual property rights) agreement waiver extension granted to LDCs under the WTO, which expires on 1 July 2013. WTO rules legally obliges members to further grant the extension period to LDCs upon a duly motivated request by LDCs which they have already submitted to the TRIPS Council in November 2012. LDCs have requested for the transition period to last until they cease to be a LDC and without any conditionalities attached, their key concern being on the "no roll back" clause. However, the developed partners - mainly the US and the EU - are not in agreement to grant the LDCs this legal right so our current campaign and advocacy is focusing on this very important issue which puts the interests of the LDCs at this stake. This is also a follow up to the lobby letter addressed to the WTO members endorsed by LDC Watch members, amongst other national, regional and global civil society networks who are supporting this cause.
 
In the statement we have also flagged the issue about developed partners meeting their renewed aid commitment of 0.15-0.20 per cent of GNI to LDCs by 2015. And, we have urged to provide civil society their policy space in the implementation of the IPoA as well as other internationally agreed development goals including on the current process of the Post-2015 agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
 
In the statement we have also flagged the issue about developed partners meeting their renewed aid commitment of 0.15-0.20 per cent of GNI to LDCs by 2015. And, we have urged to provide civil society their policy space in the implementation of the IPoA as well as other internationally agreed development goals including on the current process of the Post-2015 agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
 

Full text of the Statement:
 
STATEMENT BY INTERNATIONAL CO-ORDINATOR DR. AJUN KARKI AT THE BIENNIAL REVIEW OF THE ISTANBUL PROGRAMME OF ACTION ESCAP 69th SESSION, SENIOR OFFICIALS SEGMENT, 25-27APRIL 2013
 
Mr. President, Under Secretary General and Secretary General’s High Representative Mr. Gyan C. Acharya, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
 
Thank you very much for this opportunity to speak on behalf of LDC Watch. I would like to bring on board LDC peoples’ perspectives to the biennial review of the Istanbul Programme of Action. 
 
Two years, since the adoption of the IPoA, we believe that the implementation of the Programme has not made considerable progress. The overarching goal of the IPoA to overcome the structural challenges faced by the LDCs in order to enable, at least half of them, to graduate within the decade remains a far cry. 
 
Excellencies,
 
We are particularly concerned about lack of implementation of actions committed by developed partners especially related to policy coherence for development. In this context, I would like to highlight our current campaign and advocacy on the most urgent issue of TRIPS waiver granted to LDCs and whose extension period is expiring on the 1st of July. Although the WTO rules legally obliges the LDCs to be granted the extension period upon a duly motivated request by the LDCs which they have already made in November last year, this obligation is being contested by our partners. This very important issue of TRIPS waiver has a large bearing on improving the trade target of the LDCs. We, therefore, would like to draw attention of members on this very critical and most urgent issue and further urge them to defend the interests of the LDCs with developed partners. The TRIPS waiver extension is a legal obligation which therefore, needs to be granted by developed partners without any conditionalities attached.
 
Our other concern is of full implementation of committed ODA flows to LDCs. The IPoA renews the aid commitment of 0.15-0.20 per cent of GNI by 2015. We urge developed partners to meet their renewed commitment as without adequate resources, the development challenges of LDCs cannot be fully addressed.
 
Mr. President and Excellencies,
 
Finally, we request UN ESCAP, OHRLLS and UN DESA for creating enabling environment for active and effective civil society participation in the implementation of the IPoA, Almaty Programme of Action: Addressing the Special Needs of Landlocked Developing Countries within a New Global Framework for Transit Transport Cooperation for Landlocked and Transit Developing Countries and Barbados Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States. Clearly, in our role as both partner and pressure group in our own right, our campaigns and advocacy is purely linked towards defending and ensuring the rights of our countries and our peoples who are most marginalised and vulnerable on the development radar. We, therefore, call upon our governments, development partners, the UN systems and all other key stakeholders to genuinely encourage and engage civil society in the planning, policy-making and implementation of the IPoA at all levels – /national, regional and international – so that we engage in a truly co-ordinated and coherent partnership for development.
 
We look forward to strengthening our partnership and engagement especially, given the ongoing deliberations on the Post-2015 development agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which must place LDCs at its very core as without LDCs, there can be no sustainable development, No SDGs without LDCs!
 
Thank you for your attention.
 
25 April 2013