Background

The Committee recalled that at its twentieth and twenty-first sessions it had considered means of supporting the Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries, held from 9 to 13 May 2011 in Istanbul. At its spring 2011 session, CEB endorsed a statement of support to the Conference that underscored the system’s commitment to the LDCs and to the implementation of the Istanbul Programme of Action. At its 22nd session in fall 2011, the Committee agreed to consider the progress made by the United Nations system in mainstreaming the Istanbul Programme of Action at the five-year review mark, in 2016.

In December 2012, the General Assembly adopted resolution 67/220, in which the Secretary-General was invited to appropriately integrate the work of the Inter-Agency Consultative Group (IACG) for LDCs led by the Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (OHRLLS) within the framework of the High-level Committee on Programmes in order to ensure necessary coordination and monitoring of the implementation of the Istanbul Programme of Action on a system-wide basis, and to include implementation of the Istanbul Programme of Action as a standing item on the agenda of the Board. Subsequently, CEB, at its first regular session of 2013, requested the Committee to work with OHRLLS and the IACG to develop ideas for furthering the implementation of the Programme of Action for LDCs.

Discussion

In introducing this item, the Vice-Chair expressed appreciation for the leadership role of OHRLLS – as the entity tasked with the mobilization and coordination of all parts of the United Nations system, through the IACG, to facilitate coherent and coordinated implementation of the Istanbul Programme of Action.

Khalil Rahman, Chief, Policy Development and Coordination Service for LDCs, OHRLLS, reported on the functioning of the IACG and on the system’s progress in mainstreaming the Istanbul Programme of Action in the organizations’ respective work programmes. He introduced an issues note containing a set of recommendations for the Committee’s endorsement that responded to the General Assembly resolution.

Members expressed support for the proposals in light of the importance of delivering on the implementation of the Programme of Action for LDCs and further to CEB’s earlier fruitful collaboration in the lead-up to the Fourth Conference. Given its experience in developing the United Nations system-wide action plan on gender equality and the empowerment of women, UN-Women offered to work with OHRLLS to contribute to the development of a toolkit to further mainstream the Istanbul Programme of Action throughout the United Nations system.

During the discussion, it was also observed that LDCs as a group wished to retain space to address their concerns in the post-2015 development paradigm. In this context, it would be important for the United Nations system to ensure this group’s unique needs did not get subsumed or lost in a universal agenda.

Action

The Committee endorsed the following:

a) In conducting its work, the IACG will continue to utilize the analytical, technical and operational capabilities and resources of the High-Level Committee on Programmes;
b) To assist organizations that have not yet been able to mainstream the Istanbul Programme of Action in their work programmes, OHRLLS will develop, with the advice of the High-Level Committee on Programmes and the support of interested organizations, a set of guidelines and best practices as a toolkit for mainstreaming Istanbul Programme of Action for consideration by the Committee at its 27th session;
c) The IACG members will take steps to ensure senior level representation of their respective organizations at the IACG meetings;
d) The IACG will continue efforts to harmonize its agenda with that of the High-level Committee on Programmes. This will contribute to: (i) creating greater synergy between the work of the two bodies; and (ii) ensuring focussed treatment of LDC-related matters in the High-level Committee on Programmes deliberations and reports, as appropriate. Accordingly, the OHRLLS will propose to the IACG to consider at its next session the integration of the Istanbul Programme of Action into the post- 2015 development agenda and to transmit its recommendations to the High-Level Committee on Programmes with a view to help ensuring that the Committee provides appropriate focus on LDCs in its own consideration of the post-2015 agenda;
e) IACG will continue to make available to the High-Level Committee on Programmes its reports, as well as its recommendations on major thematic issues before the Committee and CEB. As necessary, the High-Level Committee on Programmes will consider and reflect these in its reports to CEB to help the Board maintain appropriate spotlight on LDCs in considering these issues;
f) In line with the decision at its 22nd session to consider progress made by the United Nations system in mainstreaming the Istanbul Programme of Action at its five-year mark, the High-level Committee on Programmes will take up this matter prior to the mid-term review (MTR) of the Istanbul Programme of Action, and subsequently consider the role of the United Nations system in light of the outcome of the MTR.