Participate: Mid-Term Review of the Istanbul Programme of Action for LDCs

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The High-level Mid-Term Review of the Istanbul Programme of Action for Least Developed Countries (LDCs) is currently underway in Antalya, Turkey from 27-29 May 2016.

Programme, official documents, and news

For the programme, official documents, and news about the Mid-Term Review, please visit:

The statement by Mr. Gauri Pradhan, International Coordinator of LDC Watch, during the opening session of the Midterm Review on 27 May is available here:

Civil Society Forum of the Mid-Term Review

The Civil Society Forum of the Mid-Term Review took place from 26-28 May at the conference site.

For the programme and location of the Civil Society Forum, please visit:

Please see the summary article of the first day of the Civil Society Forum here:

The Civil Society Declaration prepared by participants in the Civil Society Forum is available here:

UN Reports

UN ESCAP: "From the Istanbul Programme of Action to Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development"

UN Women: "Gender Equality and the Istanbul Programme of Action"

UNESCO: "Sustainable Development in the Least Developed Countries, Towards 2030"


Non-governmental organizations were able to apply to participate in the Midterm Review as follows:

- Non-governmental organizations that are in consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and non-governmental organizations that were accredited to the Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC-IV) in 2011 wishing to attend the Mid-Term Review could register through 20 May 2016.

- Non-governmental organizations that are not accredited to ECOSOC and that were not accredited to LDC-IV were able to apply for special accreditation through t29 April 2016.


The Istanbul Programme of Action (IPoA)[1] adopted at the Fourth UN Conference on Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in Istanbul, Turkey in May 2011, constitutes an ambitious policy agenda agreed by the international community to address the challenges faced by the LDCs, based on the fundamental tenets of mutual accountability and enhanced international cooperation.

The overarching goal of the IPoA is to overcome the structural challenges faced by the LDCs in order to eradicate poverty, achieve internationally agreed development goals and enable graduation from the LDC category. As the midpoint of the decade-long programme of action draws near, the UN General Assembly decided to hold the comprehensive high-level Mid-Term Review of the implementation of the Istanbul Programme of Action, which will take place from 27 to 29 May, 2016, in Antalya, Turkey (see resolution A/RES/69/231 on the “Follow-up to the Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries”). Participation shall be at the highest possible political level.

The High-Level Mid-Term review, which shall result in an inter-governmentally negotiated outcome,  will undertake an assessment of the implementation of the IPoA by the LDCs and their development partners. It will share best practices and lessons learned and identify obstacles, constraints and actions and initiatives needed to overcome them, as well as new challenges and emerging issues faced by the most vulnerable countries on earth.

The High-Level Mid-Term Review is the first major UN Conference after the adoption of the SDGs and provides a unique opportunity to address the special needs of the LDCs as they are the most vulnerable countries. Leaving no one behind, as called by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, will require lifting more than 400 million people out of extreme poverty by 2030 in the LDCs.

Reducing the vulnerability of the LDCs to economic shocks, closing the large investment gaps in infrastructure, transport, access to eenrgy, and information and communication technologies or addressing their marginalization in international trade call for strong and decided action by partners at all levels and by the LDCs themselves. The Midterm Review constitutes an opportunity to forge a true global partnership for sustainable development in the LDCs and explore synergies between the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the COP-21 agreements to accelerate implementation of the Istanbul Programme of Action and ensuring that no one is left behind.

What are the Least Developed Countries?

The Least Developed Countries (LDCs) comprise more than 900 million people (about 12 per cent of the world population), but account for less than 2 percent of the world Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and about 1 percent of global trade in goods.

Their level of socio-economic development is characterized by low and unequally distributed income and scarcity of domestic financial resources, and insufficient human and institutional capacities. They often suffer from governance crisis, political instability and, in some cases, internal and external conflicts. Their agrarian economies are affected by a vicious cycle of low productivity and low investment. They rely on the export of few primary commodities as major source of export and fiscal earnings, which makes them vulnerable to external terms-of-trade shocks. Only a handful has diversified into the manufacturing sector, though with a limited range of products in labor-intensive industries, i.e. textiles and clothing. These constraints are responsible for insufficient domestic resource mobilization, low economic management capacity, weaknesses in programme design and implementation, chronic external deficits, high debt burdens and heavy dependence on external financing that have kept LDCs in a poverty trap.

Aid represents the largest source of international public finance for the LDCs. Their marginalization in the global economy is exacerbated by their geographical handicaps, including small size, remoteness, isolation from major international markets and prohibitive transaction costs for trade.

The LDCs are disproportionally affected by multiple crises, such as high and volatile food and energy prices and also to the adverse impact of climate change, to which their contribution represented a negligible share of global CO2 emissions.

The category of LDCs was officially established in 1971 by the UN General Assembly with a view to attracting special international support for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged members of the UN family. The current list of LDCs includes 48 countries (the newest member is South Sudan); 34 in Africa, 13 in Asia and the Pacific and 1 in Latin America.

[1] Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2011-2020: