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

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital 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.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid