India to host LDCs ministerial conference

New Delhi, Feb 16 (ANI): External Affairs Minister SM Krishna will inaugurate the India-Least Developed Countries (LDCs) ministerial conference beginning here on Friday.

The two-days conference will be held in cooperation with the UN Office of the High Representative for Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States.

The objective of the conference is to provide inputs to the fourth UN-LDC conference to be hosted by Turkey in Istanbul during 9-13 May 2011. The Istanbul conference is 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 conference will provide an opportunity to Government of India to hear from the Foreign Ministers, Ministers and Permanent Representatives of the LDCs about their approach to the 4th UN-LDC Conference, an event that takes place once every ten years.

Some 35 Foreign Ministers and Ministers and 40 Permanent Representatives to the UN from the LDCs are expected to attend the conference. The Foreign Minister of Turkey, who will be the host of UN LDC IV, will also be present.

The participating Ministers will call on the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, at his Seven Race Course Residence on Friday morning.

Apart from the LDCs, the conference will see participation of Finland, Australia, Slovenia, Hungary, Croatia, Georgia, European Union, China, United States, Germany, China and Hungary as observers.

The fourth UN-LDC conference would be an opportunity for the members of the international community to reiterate their highest commitment to the cause of LDCs and to announce new measures in support of the Istanbul Program of Action for the LDCs.

At present, there are 48 Least Developed Countries: 33 in Africa, 14 in the Asia/Pacific region and one in Latin America and Caribbean. Since the creation of the LDC category in 1971, only three countries have graduated out of the Group: Botswana (1994), Cape Verde (2007) and Maldives (2011).

The India-LDC conference would also be an occasion for Government of India to share with the LDCs the nature and state of our development cooperation with them.

The contribution of the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) Program, Duty Free Quota Free Scheme, Africa E-connectivity Project, Lines of Credit and other development assistance initiatives in addressing the special needs of LDCs would be discussed. (ANI)

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