Companies Seek Stronger Role in Advancing World’s Poorest Nations

New Private Sector Track at UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries underscores growing importance of business contribution to development
May 9, 2011 11:00 AM ET

(3BL Media / theCSRfeed) Istanbul - 9 May 2011 - Over 650 business leaders from around the world are gathering in Istanbul this week to address their role in advancing the world’s least developed countries (LDCs), a group of 48 nations marked by extreme poverty and high economic vulnerability.

The meeting of executives, unprecedented in scope and size, is part of the Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC-IV), held every ten years to assess the state of the world’s poorest economies and to define an appropriate course of action at both the international and national levels. The inclusion of a Private Sector Track in addition to the usual government negotiations follows calls for stronger business engagement in the LDCs, which still receive less than two percent of global investment flows.   The five-day business event, coordinated by the United Nations Global Compact in partnership with the Office of High Representative for Least Developed Countries (OHRLLS), the Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists of Turkey (TUSKON) and the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB), will be formally opened today by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğanand UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during a High-Level Meeting on Investment and Partnerships. Over the course of five days, business leaders will share experiences and solutions and discuss challenges as well as opportunities in the context of LDC development. Issues on the agenda include ways to stimulate and increase foreign direct investment in LDCs; south-south cooperation; public-private partnerships; and good governance, among others.   As an integral part of the event, the Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists of Turkey (TUSKON) is hosting a Trade Fair to showcase export and other commercial opportunities in the LDCs, featuring nearly 140 LDC vendors.   “Despite recent progress in some countries, more than 660 million people continue to live in poverty, largely disconnected from global markets and economic opportunity,” said Georg Kell, Executive Director of the UN Global Compact. “By bringing the voice of business to this LDC conference we hope that more governments will improve the environment for business to grow. And by showcasing market-led solutions we hope to inspire more partnerships which have the power to improve the lives of people everywhere.”   UNGC13679