The global economic crisis that emanated from the financial institutions of the North in 2007/8, quickly developed into a global recession with far-reaching impact. While a great deal has been written and said about the effect of the crisis on more developed countries and the need for greater regulation of the financial sector, its implications on the productive sectors among the world’s 49 Least Developed Countries (LDCs) are far less clear.
The latest conference of the LDC Ministers of Industry and Trade held on 3-4 December 2009 in Vienna, Austria, therefore, discussed the following questions: (i) how these countries have been affected by the crisis and (ii) to what extent they can expect further repercussions in the short and medium term.
To this end UNIDO has commissioned a number of studies which range from a wider, more general study of the global and regional issues involved, to four sector-specific studies covering cotton, fruits and vegetables, fisheries and dairy sectors in eight African and Asian LDCs.
The studies included reviews of existing policies and analyses of their effectiveness in the regional and global contexts. They also identify key growth drivers and provide a related set of policy recommendations.
The Conference also featured a debate on the role of development partners, and possible synergies amongst them, in helping LDCs respond to the effects of the crisis. In particular, as the 2001-2010 timeframe for the Brussels Programme of Action for LDCs is coming to an end, various institutions are gathering their efforts to take stock of progress and to plan ahead for the next global LDCs Conference in 2011 (LDC-IV) with UN-OHRLLS as its focal point.
It is in this context that UN-OHRLLS and UNIDO agreed to co-host the 2009 LDC Ministerial Conference as it is one of the main events in preparation for LDC-IV.