The Division focuses on the poorest and most vulnerable developing countries in the world. Specifically, it aims to increase understanding and awareness of the development problems of Africa and the least developed countries, as well as countries with specific geographical handicaps, notably landlocked developing countries and small island developing states, and to promote action at national, regional and international levels to support their development, enhance their participation in the world economy and achieve internationally agreed development goals.
The Division provides timely, targeted research and analysis of development challenges faced by these countries, designs innovative policy recommendations, delivers tailor-made technical assistance, in particular through the Enhanced Integrated Framework, and supports intergovernmental processes which seek to address their specific problems, such as those embodied in the Istanbul Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries. The Division also draws on, applies and articulates the work of other UNCTAD Divisions in relation to trade, finance, investment, enterprise, technology and logistics in order to maximize its relevance to the target countries and their development partners. Some 80 developing countries fall under the Division's areas of work.