Conference reviews progress in world's Least Developed Countries

Many of the world's Least Developed Countries (LDCs) have yet to meet an economic growth target critical for them to graduate from the category, a senior UN official has said.

Gyan Chandra Acharya was speaking in Antalya, Turkey, on Saturday at a UN conference to review progress on the 2011 Istanbul Programme of Action (IPOA).

Mr Acharya heads the UN office that monitors how the 48 LDCs are implementing the strategy, which outlines objectives to enable half of them to graduate by 2020.

They include achieving an annual economic growth rate of at least seven per cent.

Reem Abaza reports from Turkey.

Mr Acharya said only 12 out of the 48 LDCs had reached the seven per cent target.

Average growth was closer to five per cent.

"Our idea of holding this conference at the global level is to really accelerate the process. If we're already meeting them, how do we sustain it.  If we're not meeting them, how do we really make it much faster than what it has been in the last five years. This is a conference to really provide a further impetus to the implementation of the IPOA."

Mr Acharya stressed the importance of having strong national leadership on the ground and strong international support measures.

Later in the day, Gauri Pradhan, the International Coordinator of LDC Watch, handed over the civil society outcome document.

He expressed hope that it will be recognized in the official process of the midterm review.

Mr Pradhan said the document focuses on the synergy and coherence between the Istanbul Programme of Action (IPOA) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The 17 SDGs aim to create a more equitable future for all people and the planet.

"The civil society representatives from the different parts of the world, from the LDCs, we have been very strongly and consultatively discussing under different issues. Particularly, we're trying to reflect the outcome documents and give our perspective, the civil society perspective, collecting voices from the grassroots level and from the local level."

Mr Pradhan's organization, LDC Watch, works on the local and national levels in different countries.

It was involved in the regional and international processes leading to the conference.

Reem Abaza, Antalya, Turkey.



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