The United Nations Economic and Social Council will hold a meeting next week to examine what help the world is giving to the 50 poorest nations to lift them out of poverty and instability.
On Tuesday at UN Headquarters in New York, the Council will review progress made in helping the so-called least-developed countries (LDCs) since an action plan was drawn up at an international conference on the issue held in Brussels in 2001.
José Antonio Ocampo, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, will open Tuesday's meeting, which will be chaired by Council President Marjatta Rasi of Finland.
The Brussels action plan includes a set of seven specific commitments made by the LDCs and their development partners. These relate to governance, trade and sustainable development, as well as the mobilization of financial resources. Tuesday's meeting aims to pave the way for a meaningful dialogue on the issue during a ministerial segment of the Council's regular annual session scheduled for later this year.
The majority of LDCs - home to 600 million people - are in Africa, while others include war-ravaged Afghanistan, a number of Pacific island nations such as Tuvalu, and Timor-Leste, which only gained independence in 2002.