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

    Video For Many US Veterans, the Vietnam War Continues

    More than 40 years after it ended, war in Vietnam and America’s role in it continue to provoke bitter debate, especially among those who fought in it

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    100 immigrants graduated Friday as US citizens in New York, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in cities across country

    Family's Fight Pays Off With Arlington Cemetery Burial Rights for WASPs

    Policy that allowed the Women Airforce Service Pilots veterans to receive burial rites at Arlington had been revoked in 2015

    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.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora