The grouping of 48 Least Developed Countries (LDC) constitutes 25% of the total United Nations membership, and India is set to announce further concessions for the block when it hosts the two day ministerial meeting of the LDC countries from February 18.
While the meet aims at furthering the south to south cooperation, it also helps India get its goodwill dividend in its efforts to get a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council, as the grouping has 33 countries from Africa, 14 in the Asia Pacific region and one in Latin America and Caribbean, Haiti.
“I think it will be only appropriate that we allow the announcement of those additional...contributions to be made at appropriate political level (for the LDC)” said Hardeep Puri, India’s permanent representative to the UN.
Puri said it would be only logical to make such announcements as there will expectation from the countries participating in the conference.
Since 2003, India has had made a cumulative financial assistance of USD 35 billion, including the line of credit, private and public investments in the LDC countries.
Apart from LDCs, Finland, Australia, Slovenia, China, Hungary, Croatia, Georgia, European Union, US, Germany and Hungary will also attend the meeting as observers.
The objective of the Conference is to provide inputs to the 4th UN-LDC Conference to be held in Istanbul in May this year, which is expecting an ambitious outcome, one which would allow at least 50% of the countries to reach the threshold of graduation by 2020. But going by the past record of the grouping, it’s too ambitious a target.
Since the UN established the LDC as a separate category of nations in 1971, just three countries have graduated from the LDC to the grouping of developing countries; Botswana, Cape Verde and Maldives.
The Istanbul Conference is the fourth in the series of the UN-LDC Conferences held so far; the first two in 1981 and 1991 were held in Paris and the third in Brussels in 2001.