Background

It was recalled that at its previous session, the Committee had taken up preparations for the Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries, to be held in Istanbul, Turkey, from 9 to 13 May 2011. The representative of the Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States had proposed that CEB support the Conference through a global initiative and partnership to support and build productive capacities for least developed countries. This would not be a new mechanism, but rather a tailoring and sharpening of the relevant ongoing work within the United Nations system. Necessary steps would be the mapping of existing initiatives and the identification of possible gaps. To this end, Committee members had agreed to provide to the Office information in writing about their mandates, programmes and perspectives concerning the Conference, as well as a possible global initiative and partnership for productive capacity-building.

Discussion

The Committee thanked the representative of the Office of the High Representative for her briefing. In the discussion that ensued, a number of specific issues were raised in relation to the proposed CEB statement, including with regard to the timing, content and coverage of the document and its expected audience.

Following an exchange of views, the Chair proposed that CEB consider issuing two statements, one in advance of the Conference and another following its outcome that would spell out how the United Nations system would support the implementation of the programme of action. The representative of the Office explained that the statement would be targeted at Member States and the broad international community. She also clarified, in response to a number of concerns raised, that the notion of the Global Initiative and Partnership for Productive Capacity-Building was aimed at reinforcing the synergies among organizations of the system, and certainly not at duplicating ongoing efforts.

Action

The Chair designated a small group, composed of representatives of the International Fund for Agricultural Development, UNIDO, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the World Trade Organization and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, the Vice-Chair of the Committee and other interested members, to work with the Office of the High Representative in redrafting the proposed CEB statement for approval by the Board at its spring 2011 session (annex III to the present report contains the final statement, issued on 2 May 2011).