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High-level UN meeting to examine progress in implementation of plan to help least developed countries

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Media Advisory : N/01/2010

Bangladesh Prime Minister scheduled to address Dhaka event

Bangkok (UN ESCAP Information Services) - The United Nations is set to convene a meeting next week in Bangladesh to assess and develop a regional position for Asia and the Pacific ahead of a global review next year on progress made in assisting the world's least developed countries (LDCs).

From 18 to 20 January in Dhaka, ministers and senior government officials from15 countries will also seek to identify key issues requiring global and regional cooperation to further advance the objectives of the 2001-2010 Brussels Programme of Action (BPoA). That programme seeks "to make substantial progress toward halving the proportion of people living in extreme poverty and suffering from hunger by 2015 and promote the sustainable development of the LDCs."

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh is slated to inaugurate the meeting, and ministers from eight LDCs are expected to take part in a ministerial-level exchange. Noeleen Heyzer, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), will participate in the meeting along with Cheick Sidi Diarra, UN High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States.

During her visit, Dr. Heyzer is expected to hold talks with Prime Minister Hasina, as well as with President Zillur Rahman, Finance Minister Abul Mal A Muhith and Foreign Minister Dipu Moni. The Executive Secretary's itinerary also includes a visit to the Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralyzed, a rehabilitation facility for injured spinal patients outside Dhaka in Savar.

Discussions at the three-day meeting are expected to cover issues and concerns related to reducing poverty and hunger by promoting sustainable and inclusive development in the LDCs; promoting food security through sustainable agriculture; and enhancing the share of LDCs in global trade, aid and financial flows and promoting their productive capacity. Participants will also look at protecting the environment and reducing the vulnerability of the LDCs to climate change, and developing human and institutional capacities to support inclusive and sustainable development of the LDCs.

The meeting's results will be presented in May to the annual ESCAP Commission session in Incheon, Republic of Korea, for further discussion by member States. Afterwards an assessment of implementation of the BPoA and future priorities at the regional level will be transmitted to the global review in 2011 in Turkey.

The 14 LDCs in the Asia-Pacific region for the purposes of Brussels review include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Kiribati, Lao PDR, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. Yemen, the lone LDC in the Middle East, is also participating in the meeting.

For further information please visit http://www.unescap.org/LDCCU/index.asp or contact:

Mr. Syed Nuruzzaman
Chief, ESCAP Countries with Special Needs Section
Tel: +66-2-288-1669
Email: nuruzzaman.unescap@un.org

Mr. Mitchell Hsieh
UN/ESCAP Information Service
Tel: +66-2 288-1862
Mobile: +66-81 835-8664
E-mail: hsieh@un.org

Headquartered in Bangkok, United Nations ESCAP is the largest of the UN's five Regional Commissions in terms of its membership, population served and area covered. The only inter-governmental forum covering the entire Asia-Pacific region, ESCAP works to promote sustainable and inclusive economic and social progress. More information on ESCAP is available at www.unescap.org