High-ranking political dignitaries from around the world will meet at a UN conference for the fourth time since 1981 in order to seek ways to improve the situation in the Least Developed Countries (LDC). Representatives from the private sector and civil society will take part in the conference, which will be held in Istanbul from 9-13 May. Switzerland is represented by a delegation, headed by the SDC Director-General, Martin Dahinden, which includes staff from the SDC and SECO. By attending, Switzerland is confirming its commitment to the world’s poorest countries and is also expressing its desire to increase the involvement of private players in development cooperation.
As part of the conference, the SECO and UN specialized agencies are launching a support programme to increase the integration of the least developed countries into global trade. Moreover, the Swiss delegation will take part in a number of different events of the UN Global Compact Initiative, which is supported by the SDC. This network includes companies from different countries that are committed to gearing their activities to the principles of human rights, labour standards, environmental protection and combating corruption.
According to the United Nations’ definition, there are currently 48 LDCs. 33 are in Africa, 14 in the Asia-Pacific region and one country, Haiti, is in the Latin America-Caribbean region. These countries are characterised not only by their extreme poverty but also by the structural weakness of their economic, institutional and human resources. An action plan to reduce poverty and fight hunger was approved at the third UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries, in Brussels in 2001. The goal of this year's conference, at which Joseph Deiss will be Co-President, is to review the results of the last ten years and to approve an action plan for the next ten years.
Address for enquiries:
Tel.: (+41) 031 322 31 53
Fax: (+41) 031 324 90 47