Achieving the Istanbul Programme of Action by 2020

Achieving the Istanbul Programme of Action by 2020

Tracking Progress, Accelerating Transformations You do not have access to this content

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LDC IV Monitor
21 Sep 2016
9781848599420 (PDF)

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Achieving the Istanbul Programme of Action by 2020: Tracking Progress, Accelerating Transformations is the second contribution from the LDC IV Monitor – an independent partnership set up to assess the outcome of the Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (UN LDC IV) with a view to accelerating the delivery of the Istanbul Programme of Action (IPoA).

The volume highlights recent critical achievements and missed opportunities for the LDCs in the context of an unfavourable global economic environment and inadequate delivery of global commitments. Along with this, it focuses on four specific themes: structural transformation and export diversification in the LDCs; prospects of graduation of countries from the LDC group; implications of the 2030 Agenda in view of LDC concerns; and new challenges facing LDCs in their pursuit for achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Monitor’s earlier contributions included a set of two reports tracking the state of implementation of the IPoA - a volume on Analytical Perspectives and a Synthesis Report which captured the broad messages and key recommendations.

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  • Foreword by Under-Secretary-General Gyan C Acharya, Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, UNOHRLLS

    The 2016 report of the LDC IV Monitor, the second in a series, comes at a critical time for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs): the staging of a High-level Midterm Review of their Programme of Action, which was adopted in 2011 in Istanbul, Turkey.

  • Foreword by Commonwealth SecretaryGeneral, The Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC

    The Commonwealth Secretariat has long been a pioneer in providing long-term capacity-building support for its developing country members. We have consistently been in the forefront of advocacy on behalf of our Least Developed Country (LDC) members for a more inclusive and responsive international trade and development support architecture.

  • Preface from the Chair

    The publication, titled Achieving the Istanbul Programme of Action by 2020: Tracking Progress, Accelerating Transformations, is the second instalment of the LDC IV Monitor for tracking progress on implementation of the Istanbul Programme of Action (IPoA). It is a set of scholarly papers that addresses the multidimensional outlook for LDCs and analyses their progress on different development criteria before the midterm review of the IPoA in May 2016.

  • Abbreviations and acronyms
  • Executive Summary

    Since 1971, the UN has recognised the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) as a group of economies with inherent characteristics that create particular economic vulnerabilities and disadvantages. This has led to the international community’s articulating specific support measures to ameliorate the situation in the world’s poorest countries. Despite these efforts, the number of LDCs has increased from the original list of 24 to 48 currently.

  • Structural Economic Transformation and Export Diversification in the Least Developed Countries

    In response to some of the shortcomings of the Brussels Programme of Action (BPoA), the Istanbul Programme of Action (IPoA) includes a greater number of explicit targets. However, while trade and growth targets feature prominently, those related to structural economic transformation (SET) are rather more implicit than explicit. In order to overcome these shortcomings, Basnett et al. (2013) assigned indicators to the high-level objectives of IPoA related to the achievement of SET. Therefore in addition to monitoring progress vis-à-vis the explicit trade and growth targets of IPoA, this chapter revisits the SET-related targets identified by Basnett et al. (2013).

  • Prospects of Graduation for Least Developed Countries: What Structural Change?

    This chapter analyses the graduation trends and the prospects of graduation for the least developed countries (LDCs), updated before the Mid-Term Review of the Istanbul Programme of Action (IPoA). A major aim of the 2011 IPoA adopted at the Fourth UN Conference on the LDCs is ‘enabling half the number of least developed countries to meet the criteria for graduation by 2020’ (UN, 2011). Several official UN documents have referred to or reiterated this goal. Even though it was considered not fully realistic at the time of the Istanbul Conference, it is evidence of a change in international attitudes towards graduation.

  • Implication of the 2030 Agenda for the Istanbul Programme of Action

    A strong argument can be made that the 2030 Agenda, captured in the 17 goals and 169 targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), provides an important opportunity to realise the work plan set out in the Istanbul Programme of Action (IPoA), by way of drawing synergies and establishing coherence between these two aspirational documents. Indeed, it is not an exaggeration to state that least developed countries (LDCs)—the most vulnerable among the developing countries—are likely to emerge as the battleground for implementation of the SDGs. As it happens, 2016 marks the beginning of the SDGs as well as the midpoint of the period of implementation of IPoA, which was geared towards helping the LDCs undertake a transformational journey over the period 2011–2020 (UN, 2011). Similarly, when the implementation period for IPoA approaches the finishing line in 2020, it will also likely be time for the first review of implementation of the SDGs. Also, the end period of the Programme of Action of the possible LDC V coincides with the end of the implementation period of the SDGs: 2030.

  • Obstacles to Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals: Emerging Global Challenges and the Performance of the Least Developed Countries

    The least developed countries (LDCs) are defined as low-income developing countries suffering from severe structural obstacles to sustainable development (UNDESA, 2015a). Indicators of such obstacles include a low level of human assets and high vulnerability to economic and environmental shocks. Nearly half the population of the 48 LDCs—some 400 million people—remain in extreme poverty, compared with less than a quarter in any other developing country (UNCTAD, 2015). The headline commitment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is to eradicate global poverty by 2030. Improving the prospects of the LDCs will play a crucial role in this.

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