20 September 2006

Global Review of 2001 Brussels Programme of Action Concludes at Headquarters; Declares Renewed Commitment to World's 50 Poorest Countries

Participants Reaffirm Countries' Primary Responsibility for Own Development, with Concrete Support of World Community, in Spirit of "Shared Responsibility"

NEW YORK, 19 September (UN Headquarters) -- The General Assembly today concluded its midterm comprehensive global review of the implementation of the Brussels Programme of Action for Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2001-2010, adopting a Declaration by which participants recommitted themselves to meeting the special needs of the 50 United Nations-identified least developed countries.

By the Declaration, adopted by consensus, participants reaffirmed that the primary responsibility for development rested with the least developed countries, with the concrete support of the international community in a spirit of "shared responsibility".

Noting that, while progress had been made through the Programme, the overall socio-economic situation in least developed countries remained precarious, participants welcomed the 8 June declaration by the Group of Least Developed Countries adopted in Benin, known as the "Cotonou Strategy", as an initiative owned and led by least developed countries.  They further welcomed measures to promote South-South cooperation and called for more resources and efforts towards capacity-building and development.

The text was introduced by Norway's representative, who noted that the document had been the outcome of the Preparatory Meeting of Experts, which had met at Headquarters from 5 to 7 September.  The report of that Meeting had been issued as an official document (document A/61/323).

In her closing remarks, General Assembly President Sheika Haya Rashed Al Khalifa (Bahrain) said the review process and this High-Level Meeting had given the international community a deeper understanding of the issues facing least developed countries.  While heartening to view the community's resolve to build stronger partnerships as it moved towards the seven commitments of the Brussels Programme of Action, she said challenges remained and time was of the essence.  If current trends persisted, most of the least developed countries would not reach the objectives of the Brussels Programme of Action or the Millennium Development Goals.  She urged the international community to redouble its efforts to deliver a dramatic change in the lives of the globe's poorest and most vulnerable people.

Speaking on behalf of the President of Benin and Chairman of the Group of Least Developed Countries, that country's representative said a rigorous analysis of the 2001 Brussels Programme of Action had been carried out.  The adopted Declaration would provide guidance and balance for implementation of the Brussels Programme of Action.  The Group of Least Developed Countries had adopted the "Cotonou Strategy", which set out progress achieved and obstacles encountered in implementing the Programme of Action and made recommendations to achieve its goals within the agreed time frame.  He invited all stakeholders to step up their efforts to create a dignified and prosperous humanity, free from hunger and misery.

The Assembly's debate on the midterm review of the Brussels Programme took place yesterday, with six Heads of States and Government, one Vice-President and 28 Ministers contributing and a total of 75 delegates participation (see Press Release GA/10497 ).

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