News / Europe

Turkey Hosts UN Summit on World's Least Developing Nations

A general view of the 4th United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries in Istanbul, May 9, 2011
A general view of the 4th United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries in Istanbul, May 9, 2011

"I declare open the 4th United Nations conference on the least developed countries," said Turkish President Abdullah Gul as he opened the five-day meeting.

President Gul addressed the opening session with a bleak picture, saying that despite billions of dollars in aid the global picture has failed to improve since the first meeting in Paris in 1971.  

"There were 25 least developed countries in 1971. Today, number of those countries increased to 48. This situation is not sustainable," said Gul. "Although the least developed countries account for 13 percent of the world's population, they receive only one percent of the global economy's output."  

Since the United Nations introduced the category of least developed countries, only Botswana, Cape Verde and Maldives have developed enough to be removed from the list. Qualification for the list includes a per-capita annual income of less than $750, and an increase to more than $900 for graduation. Other factors considered include malnutrition, child mortality and education levels.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is seen during a meeting at the 4th United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries in Istanbul, May 9, 2011
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is seen during a meeting at the 4th United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries in Istanbul, May 9, 2011

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also addressed the conference and warned of dual threats of rising food and energy prices disproportionally hitting the poorest nations. He also was critical of the developed countries for their failure to honor their commitments.

"We have received a lot of very generous pledges in the past, therefore accountability will be very important. And now the United Nations will monitor the progress report as well as this delivery of their commitment," he said.

But the organizers of the conference say there are some signs that offer hope, pointing out that in recent years, many of the countries have started to record "relative high growth rates."  Secretary Ban called for greater international investment, saying it is not charity, but is the chance of helping to sustain global economic growth.  

The private sector has been given a more prominent role than in previous meetings. One of the main themes of the conference is focusing on building greater support among the LDC countries, in what is called south-to-south cooperation.  Stress also is being put on building more ties with emerging economies.  

The choice of an emerging economy to host the U.N. meeting for the first time is extremely important, according to World Bank Managing Director Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

"It is absolutely significant that Turkey and emerging countries host these events. The emerging markets are rising, the poorer countries are looking to them, because it was not so long ago that they themselves were struggling with poverty," Okonjo-Iweala said.

Okonjo-Iweala added that "many of the emerging markets' countries still continue to have significant numbers of poor people living in them."

"So you can see the poorer countries can relate to them.  So it is very significant that one of them like Turkey offers to host a country like this because it has lot to share with the poor countries," said Okonjo-Iweala.

Turkey is paying for the conference, as well as expenses of many of those attending, all part of its growing commitment to support international development. Analysts say it is something Turkey can increasingly afford, having tripled its gross domestic product since 2001.  

Last year, Ankara donated $1 billion in aid.  That is less than one percent of the country's GDP, a 10-fold increase in less than a decade. In hosting the U.N. meeting, observers say Turkey wants to position itself as a bridge between the developed and least developed countries in the world.

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Photogallery Early Nigeria Results Show Buhari Leading; Tampering Concerns Mount

One local group monitoring polls is concerned politicians might use security agencies to 'fiddle with the election collation process' at state level More

UN: 7,300 Civilians Killed in Boko Haram Insurgency

A senior UN humanitarian official tells the United Nations Security Council 1,000 people have been killed this year More

Turkish President Warns Iran About Trying to Dominate Middle East

Warning comes amid growing concerns inside Turkey that it will be sucked into a sectarian conflict with its neighbor More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More