Senior UN official urges attention to least developed landlocked and small island

The Programme of Action for the LDCs adopted at a conference in Brussels in May 2001 “provides a real opportunity” for promoting economic growth and sustainable development, Anwarul K. Chowdhury, UN Under-Secretary General and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, told the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Trade and Development Board in Geneva on Friday. “It is time now for the LDCs and [their] development partners, including UN system organizations,” to gear up for full and effective implementation, he said.Pointing to the urgent need for action, Mr. Chowdhury cited an UNCTAD report warning that the number of people living on less than $1 a day in the least developed countries will reach 420 million by 2015 if the current trends continue. “These figures show the enormous challenge ahead,” he said. The High Representative pledged to respond in a number of key areas, including focusing on country-level implementation, working with all the relevant entities of the UN family and multilateral organizations, and collaborating with civil society and the private sector “so that they contribute as full development partners.” Pointing out that LDCs have restricted access to trade, he called for helping those countries “with capacity building and technical cooperation in order for them to succeed in regional and global integration.” He also noted the special concerns of landlocked developing countries and urged support for measures to alleviate their plight, including efforts to promote effective inter-State transportation systems and expand transport infrastructure.Small island developing States, he noted, are increasingly constrained by such factors as sea level rise caused by global warming. “It is important to build genuine partnership among small island developing States and their development partners at global and regional levels” to implement international commitments aimed at helping “these particularly disadvantaged countries,” he said.

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