While placing development at the centre of domestic policy has led to significant policy improvements in some least developed countries (LDCs), numerous challenges continue to face the group as a whole. Overcoming these will require further policy reform, but also effective external assistance and cooperation with international partners, including UNCTAD, the Ministers said.
In a declaration adopted at yesterday’s meeting on the eve of UNCTAD XIII, LDC Ministers called for a new international support architecture that would help build productive capacities in LDCs, diversify their economies, and make them less vulnerable to external shocks. An essential part of this architecture is the active role of the “development state”, long advocated by UNCTAD.
Foreign direct investment must not be confined to the extractive sector, the declaration stresses, but should also flow into agriculture and services. It should be accompanied by comprehensive knowledge and technology transfer that promotes innovation, builds the skills of the workforce and creates more and better paying jobs.
The declaration urges UNCTAD to continue its support to LDCs through research and policy analysis, technical assistance and consensus building. It invites UNCTAD to advise LDCs on overcoming the policy challenges, and working towards the accomplishment of the Millennium Development Goals.
The declaration calls throughout for the acceleration of the implementation of the Istanbul Plan of Action (IPoA) for LDCs, adopted at last year’s LDC IV conference in Istanbul, Turkey. The IPoA will be further discussed in a special high-level event on 24 April, during UNCTAD XIII.