EU gives 4.5 million euros to UN conference on LDCs

EU signs deal with UNCTAD giving 4.5 million euros towards cost of Brussels conference on Least Developed Countries

Development Commissioner Poul Nielson signed an agreement with UNCTAD Secretary-General Rubens Ricupero agreeing to provide 4.5 million euros towards the cost of the Third Annual UN Conference on Least Developed Countries. The EU will be hosting the conference at the European Parliament in Brussels from 14 to 20 May 2001.

The primary focus of the conference is on the implementation of international support measures for Least Developed Countries (LDCs), in particular development assistance, debt, investment and trade. It will also investigate which policies will encourage sustainable development in LDCs and their progressive integration into the world economy.

An NGO Forum will run parallel to the UNCTAD conference in Brussels. The organiser's aim is to ensure that the voice of civil society is heard at the conference. A question mark has hung over the NGO forum in recent months. Its primary organiser, the Liaison Committee for Development NGOs (CLONG), has been forced to wind down its operations following a dispute with the Commission over financial mismanagement in other areas of its activities. The future of the NGO Forum has been ensured thanks to a coalition of other NGOs stepping in to replace CLONG.

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