Mid Term Review of LDC conference ends on a high

Head of Vanuatu delegation to MTR of IPoA meeting in Antalya, Turkey, MP Jerome Ludvaune speaking at the meeting.

By Jonas Cullwick

The comprehensive high-level Mid Term Review of the Implementation of the Istanbul Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries (LDC) concluded in the Turkish city of Antalya Sunday afternoon.

The LDCs constitute the poorest and most vulnerable group of countries where progress towards the Millennium Development Goals and other internationally agreed development goals was slowest and they required context-specific approaches, including targeted national policies and international support.

Speaking at a press conference following the end of the meeting, the Foreign Ministry Deputy Under-secretary for Economic Affairs of Spain, Ambassador Ayse Sinirliogu says the discussions at the four-day sessions were a success.

She says there was strong commitment by all the countries in this LDC category to improve the level of economic, social and vulnerability situations to allow them to graduate out of the LDCs.

Ambassador Sinirliogu who also chaired the conference said she was happy with participation of both the LDCs and their development partners.

There are now 48 countries of the world categorized by the United Nations as LDCs with South Sudan, the newest member. They all participated at the conference including their development partners who include the European Union, the United States of America, France, Great Britain and Morocco the newest member.

“This meeting was held to take stock of the progress in the IPoA for countries to graduate out of the LDC. It looked at what to do next to get countries to work toward graduation out of the LDCs by the next four years.

“The meeting was an opportunity for the countries concerned to reaffirm their commitment to the LDCs.”

In the 26-page declaration of the meeting, approved by all the parties, it calls for strong commitment by the international community to give special attention to LDCs in the implementation of the 2020 Agenda, for graduation.

The meeting congratulated those countries that have graduated from the least developed country status and welcomed the fact that many of the LDCs are meeting the criteria for graduation and many others have expressed their aspirations to graduation.

“We note with concern that since, the least developed country category was established in 1971, only four countries have officially graduated.

“Based on current trends, concerted and revitalized efforts will be required to enable half of the least developed countries to meet the criteria for graduating by 2020 as foreseen in the Istanbul Programme of Action.”

Gyan Chandra Acharya, Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States says Vanuatu is one of the four countries in the Pacific region, that are committed to graduation by 2020.The other countries are Solomon Islands, Kiribati and Tuvalu.

Vanuatu’s head of delegation to the MTR of the IPof A, MP for Malekula Jerome Ludvaune, who is also Special Envoy to the LDC, explains that Vanuatu has no choice, it must graduate in 2020 because it has met two of the three criteria for graduation – which are on the economy and income indicator and the social indicator.

“The third indicator, which is on vulnerability, we cannot do much about it because a recent report shows that Vanuatu is top of the world’s most disaster-prone countries.

“But the United Nations General Assembly in 2013 has approved Vanuatu’s graduation, but Cyclone Pam came and graduation was postponed due to the effects of the disaster on the country. Now it must graduate in 2020,” MP Ludvaune said.

The MP added that the Vanuatu government must now pass a transition policy, or master plan, or road map by April 2017 for the country to follow to graduate in 2020 because it cannot postpone graduation anymore.

The Vanuatu delegation to the meeting included Vanuatu’s Ambassador to the UN in New York, Odo Tevi, and Vanuatu Counselor at the Brussel’s Embassy, Noah Kouback.

There were over 2000 delegates at the 4-day meeting from the 48 LDCs and their development partners.

Jonas Cullwick, a former General Manager of VBTC is now a Senior Journalist with the Daily Post. Contact: jonas@dailypost.vu. Cell # 678 5460922

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