I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Nordic countries – Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.
In the Fourth UN Conference on LDCs in Istanbul in May we renewed our global partnership in favour of the development of LDCs, the most vulnerable group of countries. In line with this commitment, LDCs need to be given high priority by the international community, including the UN system.
The Nordic countries are longstanding development partners for the LDCs, providing significant amounts of ODA to LDCs and being fully committed to duty free quota free market access for the LDCs.
In Istanbul we adopted a strong Programme of Action with a number of concrete elements and deliverables. Now we have to focus on the effective implementation of this Programme of Action.
Istanbul brought positive developments on which to build:
- The partnership has been widened to include the UN system and international financial institutions; an explicit link has been established between the Istanbul Programme of Action and South-South Cooperation; and the role of civil society and the private sector has been recognized.
- The development partners stand committed to the top priorities of the LDC, notably development of productive capacity and agriculture and food security.
- The development partners are committed to support the LDCs in order to achieve the MDGs by 2015 and to make further significant progress by the end of the decade. The Programme of Action also clearly recognizes that gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls are central to achieving better development outcomes
- Donor countries reaffirmed their ODA commitments to LDCs. They also agreed that they should review their commitments in 2015 and consider enhancing further resources for LDCs.
- The Programme of Action foresees the creation of an ad hoc GA Working Group on graduation and smooth transition.
The Nordic countries are committed to support LDCs in their efforts to reach the objectives they have set for themselves in Istanbul, notably their graduation out of the LDC status.
In full respect of the principle of national ownership and leadership, the LDCs should lead their own development processes. The Nordic countries are, on our part, determined to play an active and supporting role through our bilateral programmes with LDCs and through other channels, including the multilaterals and the EU. Together with our partner countries, we will focus our policies where they bring the most value added and ensure the highest and long lasting impact and accountability of aid.
We also consider it very important that the voice of LDCs is heard in the upcoming global processes, including Rio+20 and the Fourth High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan later this year.
Finally, we would like to highlight the importance of partnership of all actors. Donors, other partner countries, IFIs and UN agencies must all work together to make sure the LDCs can be fully supported in reaching their goals.