Development problems plaguing the world’s poorest countries (LDCs) will occupy the minds of the Group of Eminent Persons appointed by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon earlier this week as they examine obstacles to economic progress and recommend new paradigms for transforming low-income economies.
“The Group of Eminent Persons will give visibility to the problems of LDCs [least developed countries],” Cheick Sidi Diarra, the United Nations High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, told the UN News Centre.
The group will also examine the effectiveness of the 2001 Brussels Programme of Action, which outlined measures by both industrialized nations and the 49 LDCs themselves to reduce poverty and achieve sustainable development.
The programme had identified specific commitments on good governance, enhancing the role of trade in development, reducing vulnerability to natural disasters, protecting the environment, mobilizing financial resources, and speedy implementation of steps to reduce the debt burden on poor countries.
“The Group of Eminent Persons will make the final assessment of the programme of action, see whether it had an impact and identify the challenges,” Mr. Diarra said.
The group will also look into the Brussels Programme of Action in relation new global challenges, including climate change and the food and energy crises.
They are also expected to look into how LDCs, many of which depend on the export of primary commodities, can benefit from adding value to their exports and diversifying their economies, Mr. Diarra said.
The group will also make suggestions on how the low-income countries can be further supported in their efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the eight basic social development targets which States have set out to attain by 2015.
Their recommendations will be presented to the 4th UN conference on LDCs, which is scheduled to take place in Istanbul, Turkey, between 30 May and 3 June next year.
The group is co-chaired by Alpha Oumar Konaré, former president of Mali, and Jacques Delors, former president of the European Commission.
Other members are Sir Fazle Hassan Abed, the founder and chairperson of BRAC, the Bangladesh Rehabilitation Assistance Committee; Nancy Birdsall, the founding president of the Center for Global Development; Kemal Dervis, vice president and director of Global Economy and Development at Brookings Institution, and a former head of the UN Development Programme (UNDP); and James Wolfensohn, chairman and CEO of Wolfensohn & Company and former President of the World Bank.
Hiromasa Yonekura, chairman of Sumitomo Chemical Company Ltd.; Louis Michel, a member of European Parliament and formerly the European commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid; Louis A. Kasekende, Deputy Governor of the Bank of Uganda and formerly executive director at the World Bank; and Sir Richard Jolly, Honorary Professor of the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex, are also members.