| May 28, 2017
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On Mid-Term Review eve, civil society sends a reminder

On Mid-Term Review eve, civil society sends a reminder
ANTALYA, (TURKEY), May 27: In what may be described as an expression of commitment and a reminder to address the concerns of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), various civil society organizations participating in Midterm Review of the Istanbul Program of Action (2016) have drawn the attention of all stakeholders to work together for LDCs.

Civil Society Forum of Least Developed Countries raised this issue in a program held in this exotic Turkish town. Delivering the keynote speech, Gyan Chandra Acharya, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, highlighted need for private sector, civil society and governments to work together to implement the goals of Istanbul Program of Action (2011). "This is not something that a single entity can do," he said. "All stakeholders have responsibility towards helping to realize those goals."
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs to Turkey, Ali Nazi Koru said that civil society organizations are crucial partners of LDCs in their efforts to achieve sustainable development. "We are strongly committed to do our share in supporting development efforts of LDCs," Koru said. But he also called for true cooperation and commitment from all sides and warned that without it all pledges might be limited to paperwork. "You can have a framework which looks good on paper. But if you cannot properly implement it, it will stay on paper forever," cautioned the Turkish Minister. Turkey is one of the generous contributors to LDCs. Its Official Development Assistance (ODA) for LDCs is US$ 3.9 billion apart from its annual assistance of US$ 200 under Economic and Technical Cooperation Package.

Gauri Pradhan, International Coordinator of LDC Watch, a global network of civil society organizations in the UN-defined Least Developed Countries, said midterm review should focus on realizing Paris Climate Agreement-2015 and 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) but he also reminded that it will be difficult without first addressing the concerns of LDCs. "We won't be able to meet SDG goals without first addressing issues and concerns of LDCs," he said.

Civil society stalwarts who have gathered here from various countries expressed commitment to leave no stone unturned for the development and prosperity of LDCs. They have also called for unity among all stakeholders. "Divided we could fail, but together we can break any dividing wall," said Huguette Bokpe Gnacadja, member of Civil Committee of LDC Watch. "We may be slow workers but we will not stop, and we are determined never to walk back," she added.

The Mid-term Review of Istanbul Program of Action (IPoA) will kick off here Thursday and will conclude on May 29. The program will monitor implementation status of Istanbul Declaration and Istanbul Program of Action (2011) which among other things had expressed commitment towards reducing poverty and marginalization of LDCs and raise their status to middle income countries through a systematic graduation process.

Photo Courtesy: LDC Watch