UN summit for poorest nations begins

Swiss development experts are hoping to boost corporate responsibility and trade involvement at a United Nations conference on aiding the world’s poorest countries.

This content was published on May 9, 2011 - 10:33 and agencies

The UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries opened on Monday in Istanbul. Before its close on Friday, it aims to approve a new action plan to improve the situation for the 48 least developed countries, 33 of which are in Africa.

The conference will first review the results of the last action plan drawn up in 2001. The meeting is being co-chaired by Swiss former cabinet minister Joseph Deiss, the 2011 president of the UN General Assembly. 

The Swiss delegation includes staff from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Seco).

Seco and UN agencies are launching a support programme to increase the integration of the least developed countries in global trade. SDC will take part in events run by the UN Global Compact Initiative, a network including companies working to strengthen their human rights and  environmental protection record.

Switzerland said its presence at the event was proof of its “desire to increase the involvement of private players in development cooperation”.

Least developed countries are experiencing extreme poverty and structural weaknesses. 

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