New Delhi, Feb 19 (IANS) A day after India announced a $500-million aid package for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), the global community was Saturday urged to show its political commitment in addressing extreme poverty and other developmental challenges of such nations.
Issuing a joint statement at the end of the two-day India-Least Developed Countries ministerial conference, the two sides said “key development challenges of the LDCs” were extreme poverty, productive capacity through structural transformation, economic growth, participation in international trade and resilience against vulnerabilities.
The joint statement called upon the international community to “express its highest political commitment in support of the Istanbul Programme of Action and to the successful and ambitious outcome of the 4th UN-LDC conference”.
The Istanbul conference to be hosted by Turkey May 9-13 this year will be the fourth in the series of the UN-LDC conferences held so far. The first two in 1981 and 1991 were held in Paris and the third was in Brussels in 2001.
The conferences are organised by the UN for developmental initiatives in the LDCs and the actions required at international levels to respond to challenges effectively.
The Delhi conference, organised to underline India’s commitment to South-South cooperation, asserted that “the interconnected and globalised world has made it essential for the international community to accord its highest priority to the cause of LDCs to ensure global peace, security and prosperity.”
The statement said that the upcoming “Istanbul conference must galvanize global action in support of the development needs of LDCs, whose progress would bring greater global growth and opportunities for all. The LDCs’ perspective must be taken into account while making decisions on global economic governance”.
Underlining its commitment to South-South cooperation, India Friday announced $500 million aid for a host of projects in Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and offered to share its developmental experience with them.
External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna, while inaugurating the two-day ministerial conferenceFriday, announced a raft of additional contributions for LDCs, including another five scholarships every year under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation Programme for each LDC and a special fund of $5 million over the next five years for the follow up to UN LDC Four to be held in Istanbul in May.
Around 35 ministers and 40 Permanent Representatives to the UN from the LDCs participated in the conference.
During the last United Nations review in 2009, the UN defined LDCs as those countries which have a three-year average estimate of gross national income (GNI) per capita of less than $905. Countries with populations over 75 million are excluded.
India enjoys a multi-dimensional relationship with LDCs and has been in the forefront of assisting their development through generous lines of credit and other forms of assistance. Over the decades, the foreign direct investment from India to LDC countries has increased dramatically, and is estimated to be around $35 billion.
India has provided 4.3 billion lines of credit to LDCs over the years.