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Despite past efforts, poorest countries still marginalized, "LDC" coordinator says

Despite past efforts, poorest countries still marginalized, "LDC" coordinator says

Despite two previous United Nations conferences to tackle the problems facing the world's poorest States, the "least developed countries" continue to be marginalized with regard to development, the coordinator of the group of least developed countries (LDCs) at the UN told reporters in New York yesterday.

Speaking at a press conference on the Third UN Conference on Least Developed Countries, which will be held in Brussels, Belgium from 14 to 20 May, Anwarul Karim Chowdhury, Bangladesh's top representative at the UN, said that the lack of success was because the previous conferences had not had "any worthwhile implementation". The upcoming event would be a chance to make a difference.

For the past 20 years, LDCs have been developing their own measures to address development and have prepared well for the Conference. They are approaching the event in a "positive, cooperative and pro-active" manner, said Ambassador Chowdhury.

The draft programme of action for LDCs for the next decade would be the most elaborate commitment ever to be shaped in any UN conference on the subject, the Ambassador said, adding, "we have decided to do our best to make this commitment, and we hope that our development partners will be bold and courageous enough to reciprocate."

LDCs are the poorest countries in the world, and are designated as such by the General Assembly on the basis of a per capita annual gross domestic product of less than $800, weak human resources, and a low level of economic diversification.

The combined population of the 49 LDCs is 610.5 million -- equivalent to 10.5 per cent of world population. In the UN's development efforts, they receive particular attention since their needs are even greater than those of other developing countries.

The Third UN Conference on LDCs, which is being hosted by the European Union, will place an emphasis on achieving concrete results, through a series of interactive events and the elaboration of a results-based programme of action.