The Third United Nations Conference on Least Developed Countries (UNLDC III), held in Brussels in May 2001, adopted the Programme of Action for Least Developed Countries for the decade 2001-2010 (PoA). The PoA aims to significantly improve the human conditions of more than 600 million people in 50 LDCs during the decade.
The United Nations General Assembly will hold a comprehensive Mid-term Review
(MTR) of progress in implementation of the Programme of Action during its 61st session in September 2006. As part of its contribution to the MTR, UNCTAD designed and implemented a project aimed at providing a qualitative assessment of progress in the implementation of the Programme of Action in selected countries.
The work undertaken by UNCTAD, including under this project, reveals considerable variations in the economic performance of LDCs and, progress towards attaining the goals and targets of the PoA. In addition to providing succinct analysis of progress in the implementation of the PoA, the present study draws policy lessons and conclusions from the experiences of the countries covered by the project.
It also puts forward recommendations for the strengthened implementation of actions and commitments of the PoA during the remaining five years. Moreover, the study provides a methodological framework for monitoring and evaluation implementation of the PoA that is sufficiently flexible for application in a range of different contexts.
It argues that assessing the socio-economic impact of internationally adopted programmes of action such as the PoA for LDCs is complex and daunting, partly due to data limitations and,to complex factors influencing growth and development trajectories in LDCs. What proportion of the change in the socio-economic performance indicator can be attributed to policy intervention and what proportion is due to exogenous influences?