The Eighth Inter-Agency Consultative Group (IACG) Meeting of the United Nations System and international organizations on the implementation of the Istanbul Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2011-2020 (IPoA) was held in Geneva on Tuesday, 2 July 2013. The agenda for the meeting centered on the priorities of Least Developed Countries (LDCs), including for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the post-2015 development agenda. Nearly 30 participants, representing 18 organizations, attended the meeting.
The purpose of the meeting was to assess progress and chart the way forward for the Working Groups of the IACG, namely i) the Inter-Agency Working Group on Crisis Mitigation and Resilience Building, ii) the Inter-Agency Working Group on Resource Mobilization in Support of the Implementation of the IPoA, iii) and the Inter-Agency Working Group on Agriculture, Food Security and Nutrition and Rural Development in LDCs. A Programme of Work for the newly created Inter-Agency Working Group on Human and Social Development is still evolving and there were no activities to report.
Participants included DSD/DESA, UNCDF, WIPO, IFAD, WHO, WMO, FAO, UNOPS, ITC, WFP, UNEP, UNICEF, UNDP, WTO, IPU, UNCTAD, UNESCO and UN-OHRLLS.
Mr. Gyan Chandra Acharya, Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS (UN-OHRLLS) welcomed participants, noting with appreciation that at least 16 UN entities had committed to integrate the provisions of the IPOA in their work programmes, and many agencies had allocated 50 percent of their budgets to LDCs. He highlighted the main messages of the Secretary General’s report on the Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2011-2020 (A/68/88-E/2013/81), observing that the deteriorating global economic environment is affecting LDCs through declining FDI and ODA flows. It recommends that member States prioritize LDCs in order to accelerate the progress in attaining the MDGs in LDCs by 2015; reflect IPoA priority areas in the post-2015 development agenda; give specific attention to productive capacity building, which is essential to growth, structural transformation, and creation of decent jobs; build appropriate adaptation and resilience capacities and mitigate the effects of climate change; and strengthen South-South cooperation and triangular cooperation in all areas of the IPoA, with more institutionalized collaborative efforts.
In the interactive discussion, the Mr. Marc Bichler, UNCDF Executive Secretary, reported on UNCDF support for six of the eight 8 IPOA areas, including a sectoral focus on inclusive finance and microfinance, which is at the service of individuals through micro-finance institutions and supports access to financial services for over eight million microfinance institutions in the LDCs; and development finance, which is at the service of local governments and communities through UNCDF programmes that benefit over 400 local governments. He noted that after reducing financial risks for investment capital using base contributions from member States, the private sector becomes more willing to invest and scale-up such efforts, so the work “preparing the ground” is effectively de-risking the field for others to invest.