The least developed countries, representing the poorest group of developing countries, face unique economic, social and environmental vulnerabilities. The commitment of CEB to least developed countries and to the implementation of the Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2011-2020 (Istanbul Programme of Action) followed from the Board’s endorsement of a statement of support to the Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries, held from 9 to 13 May 2011 in Istanbul, Turkey. Subsequently, the High-level Committee on Programmes agreed to consider progress made by the United Nations system in mainstreaming the Istanbul Programme of Action at the five-year review mark.

In its resolution 67/220, the General Assembly invited the Secretary-General to appropriately integrate the work of the Inter-Agency Consultative Group for least developed countries led by the Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States 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. At its first regular session of 2013, the Board requested the High-level Committee on Programmes to work with the Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States and the Inter-Agency Consultative Group to develop ideas for furthering the implementation of the Istanbul Programme of Action.

At its twenty-sixth session, held in October 2013, the High-level Committee on Programmes endorsed a proposal submitted by the Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States related to the United Nations system-wide implementation of the Istanbul Programme of Action in the form of a toolkit. The proposal contained a series of actions to assist organizations that have not yet been able to mainstream the Istanbul Programme of Action in their work programmes. The Committee will hold a substantive discussion on the issue at its thirtieth session in 2015.