Statement by H.E. Ambassador Ertuğrul Apakan, Permanent Representative of the Mission of Turkey to the United Nations, at the Africa Regional Preparatory Meeting on the Review of the Implementation of the Brussels Program of Action

Ertuğrul Apakan 08.03.2010
Mr. Executive Secretary,
Mr. High Representative,
Excellencies,
Distinguished Colleagues,

It gives me great honor and pleasure to be here today, in my capacity as the representative of the host country for the Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries, on the occasion of the Africa Regional Preparatory Meeting on the Review of the Implementation of the Brussels Program of Action. Let me first of all express, on behalf of my Government, our sincere thanks for extending Turkey the invitation to attend this important meeting. As host country of the Fourth Conference, we are committed to being fully and actively engaged in the preparatory process, and to making the 4th Conference a success not only in terms of its organization but also in terms of its outcome for the LDC's and the United Nations.

2010 marks an important year in the development agenda of the United Nations. In September this year, we are going to review the progress made towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. The high-level meeting at the UN Headquarters will provide us with the opportunity to comprehensively review successes, best practices and lessons learned, as well as obstacles and gaps, challenges and opportunities. In this regard, the meeting would be an opportune moment to accelerate and enhance required efforts and concrete action for the achievement of MDGs by 2015. Needless to say, this meeting will be an important milestone in the run-up to the Fourth Conference.

Even as the repercussions of the multiple crises are still heavily felt in the developing world, particularly in the Least Developed Countries, we stand at a critical juncture in terms of the achievement of the internationally agreed development goals. It is now evident that "business as usual" policies are not sufficient and that we need innovative ways and means of tackling the challenges of sustainable development.

In this context, we need to eradicate poverty, remove the obstacles to market entry, ensure food security, improve resource mobilization, ensure gender equality, mitigate the impact of climate change, and last but not least, in fact most importantly, provide adequate access to essential services such as health, education, water, sanitation, and energy. Furthermore, we should work more diligently on ways to overcome structural weaknesses and to build the necessary human and institutional capacities.

Therefore, concerted action is now needed in order to avert the imminent threat of an economic and social development crisis facing the LDCs and reverse challenging trends to create opportunities for all.

We believe that the Brussels Program of Action has provided a solid strategy to improve the situation of the Least Developed Countries during the last decade and to guide them on a sustainable path for growth and development. However, the international development agenda is now more complex compared to the environment in which the Third Conference was held. The new challenges which we are witnessing now require new responses at the national, regional and global levels. We have, to a large extent, identified the best practices and successes as well as the problems and remaining gaps. And we already know that the LDCs have great potential for cooperation and development. Therefore, what we need now is a new momentum with renewed commitments, reinforced partnerships, and concrete action. We need to revitalize our development agenda by addressing the specific challenges through tangible measures and deliverable commitments. And the LDCs are best placed to know what these should be.

There is now emerging consensus that in moving the LDCs on a path towards sustainable development and growth with the primary objective of poverty eradication, we need to focus on the development of productive capacities, diversification of the export base of LDCs and market opportunities, as well as enhancing the capacities of LDCs in services trade. Assisting the LDCs in their accession to the World Trade Organization is also necessary. Scaling up and improving the quality of development aid, in particular Official Development Assistance, is also of paramount importance. Private investment flows, agricultural and rural development, innovations in science and technology transfer as engines for growth need to be highlighted as well.

In the framework of global partnership, we believe that South-South cooperation is an important strategy in dealing with transnational development challenges. This strengthens vulnerable economies not only through mobilizing financial assistance but also through increasing their capacities on the ground, by extensive economic and technical cooperation on a demand-driven basis and by sharing experiences. Moreover, triangular cooperation will complement this dynamic process.

Nevertheless, it is important to note that while the achievement of development objectives is the collective responsibility of the international community as a whole, including the United Nations system and donors and development partners, national ownership of development programs is the crucial element for success. In this regard, we believe that your national priorities should be the guiding tool in all development efforts because this approach increases the prospect of national ownership and therefore works in a more effective manner to the benefit of the countries concerned. In fact, we can speak from our own experience as an emerging donor country, that the demand-driven approach has been particularly successful in our development assistance efforts. National ownership allows development cooperation to go beyond a mere transfer of financial resources by addressing specific needs and increasing effectiveness of development assistance.

Of course, the contributions of civil society organizations and the private sector need to complement all national, regional and international efforts. As you may already know, Turkey has a vibrant private sector which, we believe, will be an important asset within the context of the Fourth Conference.

Another issue under discussion with respect to development strategies is the inter-linkages between stability, security and development. We believe that this issue, which is particularly important for some African LDCs, merits further elaboration. Turkey is ready to pursue this relationship, in line with its priorities within the broader context of development policies, preventive diplomacy, peace-keeping and peace-building.

It is therefore essential for us at this point to start working on a theme which will reflect the overall perspective of the Fourth Conference, complemented by sub-themes. Our first and foremost objective in this process should be to work towards a comprehensive and mutually reinforcing, results-oriented poverty reduction and sustainable development strategy. A positive outcome in this regard will provide an important contribution to global prosperity, stability and security.

Excellencies,

We believe that the success of the Fourth Conference can only be ensured through the joint, coordinated and collaborative efforts of the LDCs, the host country, development partners and the UN system. The complementary nature of a number of ongoing multilateral processes on the MDGs, Doha Development Agenda, financing for development as well as ECOSOC-led activities must also be considered in a coherent manner as they will provide valuable inputs to the Fourth Conference.

While the United Nations system is the first and foremost forum where we will invigorate our efforts with a view to achieving a fruitful outcome from the Fourth Conference, we believe that other international fora also have a responsibility in addressing the development challenges, in particular those of the LDCs. It is therefore critical that we increase the voice and representation of the LDCs to duly reflect their concerns in such platforms as the G-20 and the Bretton Woods institutions. I would like to assure you that Turkey will continue to make every effort to this end, based on your inputs and suggestions.

I would like to emphasize our Government's firm commitment to make the Fourth Conference on the LDCs a success. Our Government agencies have already started to coordinated work on some innovative ideas and action proposals which would assist the LDCs in enhancing their capacity to stay on a sustainable path of development and growth. In addition to the official meetings in the Conference, well-focused and thematic parallel events with the participation of different stakeholders would not only raise the profile of the Conference itself, but also bring about practical and substantive outcomes for the LDCs.

In this regard, we believe that High Representative H.E. Diarra's planned visit to Turkey in the coming months will be an excellent opportunity to give a further boost to the logistical and substantive preparations in Turkey.

I would like to reiterate that as the host country of the Fourth Conference, we attach utmost importance to the preparatory process. We will be engaged actively in the preparation phase of the Conference, with the participation of our relevant Missions and Embassies, as well as Government officials, parliamentarians, academics, representatives of civil society organizations and the private sector.

In New York, we are undertaking some initiatives in consultation with Nepal, as the Chair of the Global Coordination Bureau of the LDCs and the Office of the High Representative. Needless to say, the preparatory work in New York will be complemented by the contributions of ECA and ESCAP, as well as the Geneva and Vienna based UN agencies, including UNCTAD, UNIDO and the WHO, as well as our relevant missions. The challenges are many and we are, naturally, expecting the support and contribution of all relevant international organizations.

Taking this opportunity, I would like to thank Under-Secretary General and High Representative H.E. Diarra and his Office for their dedication to the cause of LDCs and to the work of the Fourth Conference in particular.

Before concluding, I would also like to thank the Government of Ethiopia and ECA for their warm hospitality.

Thank you.