LDCs in world economy: Alice in Wonderland?

May 12, 2011, Istanbul

Chairing an event organized jointly by CUTS and the Commonwealth Secretariat entitled "From Istanbul to 2020: Vision for LDCs", Cyrus Rustomjee, Director Economic Affairs Division at the Commonwealth Secretariat likened LDC pursuit of meaningful integration in the global economy as running faster and faster without getting there like Alice in Wonderland – a situation which must change. This event was held on 11 May as part of the Civil Society Forum at the UN LDC IV in Istanbul, Turkey. The UN organizes this international conference once every four years to develop a Programme of Action to assist the least-developed countries (LDCs).

Speakers at the event included Emily Jones of Oxford Global Governance Programme who presented a comprehensive analysis of the implementation of the Brussels Programme of Action that had been adopted at the UN LDC III held in Brussels in 2001. According to her, the last decade saw some progress but with every step forward there was a step sideways as the international community did not deliver on all its promises to assist the LDCs.

This view was echoed by other speakers including Victor Ogalo of CUTS Africa Centre, Nairobi and Rashid S. Kaukab of CUTS Geneva Resource Centre. According to Rashid S. Kaukab, the next decade will present many challenges as well as opportunities. LDC vision for inclusive and sustainable development should include national commitment and ownership, international partnerships, and inclusive and coordinated process at the national, regional and international levels. Victor Ogalo also presented the main recommendations of an African CSO Forum organized by CUTS in Arusha, Tanzania in November 2010 to provide African CSO inputs to the UN LDC IV.

Love Mtesa, former ambassador of Zambia to the WTO and Adviser CUTS Africa Resource Centre, Lusaka also spoke on the occasion. His was a message of hope and confidence. He asserted that LDCs can turn their disadvantages into opportunities with assistance from the international community. Zambia can take advantage of its landlocked status by becoming land-linked with its 8 neighbouring countries.

For further details, contact Josiane Rufener at geneva@cuts.org.