What is LDC IV?

The Least Developed Countries (LDCs), a group of 49 countries recognized by the United Nations (UN) as “the poorest and weakest segment” of the international community, require special support from the international community to overcome poverty and achieve sustainable development. Since 1981, the UN has organized three Conferences on the LDCs in order to streamline support from the international community and to mobilize the appropriate resources. LDC-III (Brussels, 2001) resulted in the Brussels Programme of Action (BPoA) for the LDCs for the Decade 2001-2010, which will soon come to an end.

In order to assess the results of the BPoA and adopt new measures and strategies for the sustainable development of the LDCs into 2020, the UN General Assembly decided to convene the Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC-IV) in Istanbul, Turkey from 9 to 13 May 2011.

Why is it being convened?

The Conference is being convened to provide the opportunity for Heads of State and Government, together with representatives of international organizations, civil society, academia and the private sector to comprehensively assess the implementation of the Brussels Programme of Action (BPoA); share best practices and lessons learnt; identify implementation obstacles and constraints as well as new challenges and opportunities for LDCs; mobilize additional international support; and further establish new or renewed partnerships.

This is particularly relevant as international development cooperation – as well as development policies and practices – have not brought the results hoped for. In 1971, only 24 countries had been identified as least developed by the UN. Today, there are 49, meaning that the number of LDCs has doubled within a time span of four decades. A more sustainable and inclusive development model is necessary to support those countries that are already faced with issues such as weak economic structures, geographical and environmental constraints, high debts, food insecurity, trade imbalances, and human rights violations.

How can I participate?

In preparation for LDC-IV, various activities will be organized at national, regional and international level. These activities in particular aim to provide a space for dialogue among all stakeholders (governments, international organizations, civil society organizations, academia, the private sector and media). Key principles are inclusiveness and transparency.

Although multi-stakeholder dialogue will have a central focus, the Conference will among others have a civil society track with activities by civil society organizations, including NGOs, academia, media and foundations, organized in cooperation with the United Nations. This track recognizes civil society’s vital role in representing and giving voice to the needs and aspirations of ordinary people in the LDCs, as well as in holding LDC governments and their development partners accountable for the commitments they have made.


e-Roundup – Istanbul Plan of Action for the LDCs: 2011-2020

The Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC‐IV) was held in Istanbul, Turkey, from 9 to 13 May 2011, and culminated in the adoption of the Istanbul Declaration and the Istanbul Programme of Action (IPoA). Moreover, well over 400 representatives of civil society participated in the Civil Society Forum (7-13 May) which culminated in the adoption of a Civil (...) [More...]

LDC-IV concludes in Istanbul

The Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC-IV) came to a close on 13 May in Istanbul, Turkey, with the adoption of the Istanbul Programme of Action (IPoA) and the Istanbul Political Declaration, setting a clear target “to halve the number of least developed countries in the next (...) [More...]

Civil Society disappointed with LDC-IV outcome

At the closing of the Civil Society Forum, which was held on the sidelines of the Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC-IV), representatives of civil society organizations from across the globe, presented the Istanbul Declaration. The Declaration voices the disappointment experienced by civil society as many of their recommendation to advance the LDCs are not (...) [More...]

Demand for water and sanitation justice at LDC-IV Conference

End Water Poverty, a global campaign coalition of over 180 NGOs and grassroots organizations including Oxfam, Save the Children, Tearfund and CARE, presented a "civil society manifesto" at the LDC-IV Conference. The manifesto “Act now to end the sanitation and water crisis in the Least Developed Countries,” makes an urgent call to the leaders attending the Conference to take bold (...) [More...]