Lovald, who also served as the chairman of the Preparatory Meeting of Experts on LDCs ahead of the 61st General Assembly sessions now under way, spoke with IPS, as did Edouard Aho-Glele, Benin's Minister Counsellor to the UN and chairman of the Group of LDCs.
have showed leadership in this process and I would like to commend them for their very thorough review, including the elaboration of the Cotonou Strategy for the further implementation of the BPoA. ============== If today's trends continue, the world's 50 LDCs
have no chance of meeting the eight MDGs, Benin's Aho-Glele
, chairman of the Group of LDCs, told IPS.IPS
: Over the next 10 years the number of people living in abject poverty in the LDCs
are expected to rise from 370 million to over 470 million, amounting to nearly half the populations of these countries.While other developing countries are making strides forward, the LDCs
are sinking deeper into poverty.Is there any chance for the LDCs
to achieve the MDGs, particularly cutting extreme poverty in half?AHO-GLELE
: If the current trends of implementing the LDCs Brussels plan continues, we don't have a chance.But we hope that by taking necessary corrective measures we could overcome obstacles and accelerate implementation of the Programme of Action and reach the targets.IPS
: According to the Secretary General's latest report on LDCs
, unilateral tariff cuts by developed and developing nations have been of "limited benefit."At the December World Trade Organisation ministerial meeting, rich countries agreed to abolish export subsidies on cotton in 2006 and to allow duty- and quota-free imports of cotton from LDCs
.This is a step forward, but it is "tempered by the fact that there was no agreement on eliminating the subsidies on domestic production."Do vulnerable economies like LDCs need special treatment within the global trading system?AHO-GLELE
: Sure.It has been agreed on.
: Yes.We have put in place a programme to address our weaknesses and we don't care how the assistance comes.As long as we are addressing our needs, we will accept aid.IPS
: How can civil society, the private sector and non-governmental organisations be mobilised to focus attention on the plight of the LDCs?AHO-GLELE
: When we adopted the BPoA we recognised the tremendous role of civil society in its implementation.The way civil society can be engaged is primarily at the national level.We have set up national committees for the implementation of the BPoA, and civil society participates in those.At a global level, there is a global partnership that we are building and this falls under the advocacy role that the Office of the High Representative for LDCs
has to play to bring together civil society and the private sector to support LDCs
in the implementation of the Brussels plan.IPS
: How is civil society being involved in Benin's
: We regularly organise meetings where we invite civil society to play a role.They are very active in Benin
.They are involved in developing the actual projects and programmes on the ground.IPS
: The majority of the populations of LDCs live in rural areas.In Benin
, is special attention being paid to reducing rural poverty through agricultural and rural development?AHO-GLELE
: Yes.We have been devoting a lot of attention to rural development.