President Chakwera to attend UN least developed countries conference in US

President Lazarus Chakwera is expected to attend the first part of the 5th United Nations (UN) conference for the group of least developed countries (LDCs) to be held in USA.

As chairperson of the LDCs, Chakwera will preside over the launch of the Doha Programme of Action for LDCs scheduled for March 17 at the UN headquarters in New York, USA.

A statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs says on his official visit to the US from March 15-19, the President is expected to attend to other commitments.

On the step: President Chakwera

LDCs are countries that the UN classified as exhibiting the lowest indicators of socioeconomic development with the lowest Human Development Index ratings of all countries in the world.

According to the UN, the concept of LDCs originated in the late 1960s and the first group of LDCs was listed by the UN in its resolution 2768 (XXVI) of 18 November 1971.

The LDC5 website says there have been four UN conferences on LDCs, held every 10 years. The first two were in Paris, in 1981 and 1991; the third was in Brussels in 2001.

The 4th UN Conference was held in Istanbul, Turkey, in May 2011 that was was attended by head of the UN, Ban Ki-Moon and close to 50 prime ministers and heads of state.

The conference endorsed the goal of raising half the existing LDCs out of the LDC category by 2022. As with the Seoul Development Consensus drawn up in 2010, there was a strong emphasis on boosting productive capability and physical infrastructure, with several NGOs not pleased with the emphasis placed on the private sector.

On December 22, 2021, the new comprehensive programme of action for LDCs, the Doha Programme of Action which will be formally adopted by world leaders at the LDC5.

The LDC5 website says: “Through six focus areas that include: eradicating poverty, fostering science, technology and innovation as well as addressing climate change and recovering from CoVID-19, the DPoA sets out ambitious commitments by the international community and LDCs to support this group of vulnerable nations to overcome their unique development challenges.”

A country is classified among the LDCs meets three criteria:

* Poverty — adjustable criterion based on Gross national (GNI) per capita averaged over three years. As of 2018 a country must have GNI per capita less than US$1,025 to be included on the list, and over US$1,230 to graduate from it.

* Human resource — weakness (based on indicators of nutrition, health, education and adult literacy.

* Economic vulnerability — based on instability of agricultural production, instability of exports of goods and services, economic importance of non-traditional activities, merchandise export concentration, handicap of economic smallness, and the percentage of population displaced by natural disasters.

As of December 2020, 46 countries are classified as LDC, while six have been upgraded between 1994 and 2020.

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) recognizes the UN list and says that “measures taken in the framework of the WTO can help LDCs increase their exports to other WTO members and attract investment”.

“In many developing countries, pro-market reforms have encouraged faster growth, diversification of exports, and more effective participation in the multilateral trading system.”

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