6 September 2006

Preparatory Meeting for Review of 2001 Action Programme for Least Developed Countries Opens at Headquarters

NEW YORK, 5 September (UN Headquarters) -- The Preparatory Meeting of Experts for the High-Level Meeting on the midterm review of the implementation of the Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2001-2010 began this morning at Headquarters by electing three officers.

Elected by acclamation were Michel Kafando (Burkina Faso), Andriy Nikitov and Raja Nushirwan Zainal Abidin (Malaysia), who is also Rapporteur of the three-day Meeting.  The Meeting also adopted its agenda and organization of work.

Johan Løvald (Norway), Chairman of the Meeting, said its task was to assess the progress made in addressing the challenges facing the least developed countries, and to reaffirm the goals and objectives agreed in Brussels in 2001.  The Meeting was also an occasion to share experiences and lessons learned, as well as to agree on initiatives to overcome various challenges.

Anwarul K. Chowdhury, Under-Secretary-General and High Representative of the Secretary-General for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, said the least developed countries had had a good preparatory process for the Meeting, including regional and global gatherings to prepare the outcome document.  National and regional reports, as well as regional outcome documents, were available online at .

Benin's representative spoke on behalf of the "Group of 77" developing countries and China and Finland's representative spoke on behalf of the European Union.

The Meeting then broke into three working groups, chaired respectively by Ukraine, Venezuela and Burkina Faso, focusing on the seven commitments adopted in the Brussels Programme of Action.

Working Group I will deal with Commitment 1 -- fostering a people-centred policy framework; Commitment 2 -- good governance at national and international levels; and Commitment 3 -- building human and institutional capacities.  Working Group II will work on Commitment 4 -- building productive capacities to make globalization work for least developed countries; Commitment 5 -- enhancing the role of trade in development; Commitment 6 -- reducing vulnerability and protecting the environment; and Commitment 7 -- mobilizing financial resources.

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