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Developing Countries Demand World's Attention to Anti-poverty Needs

Leaders from some developing countries, the least developed countries (LDCs) in particular, demanded on Friday the world's attention to their economic plight and anti-poverty needs.

"The least developed countries like Nepal are faced with special predicament in their development efforts. We are trapped in a vicious circle of poverty," Nepal's Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal "Prachanda" told the UN General Assembly.

For many historical reasons, the LDGs have low economic growth, low productivity, underdeveloped industries and traditional agriculture, he said.

Low level of social indicators and less opportunities have made conflict and crisis continue to be prevalent in these countries, he said.

"Because of the peculiar nature of the LDCs and their high level of vulnerabilities, I strongly urge that the issues of LDCs should be looked at by the United Nations separately and with special and focused programs," he stressed.

"There should be ensured dedicated support and cooperation if we want to make our world just and inclusive that the United Nations so proudly espouses," the premier said.

The Bahamas' Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham demanded "effective, permanent representation" of developing countries, particularly small developing countries, in international economic, trade and financial institutions.

Those include the Bretton Woods Institutions and the World Trade Organization (WTO), as well as other bodies like the Financial Stability Forum and the Basle Committee, Ingraham said.

"The case of small developing countries must be addressed in the context of international systems that are fair, equitable, objective, open and inclusive," Ingraham said.

Bhutan's Prime Minister Jigmi Thinley said that poverty does not arise from the shortage of resources, but from the fact that "we do not have the will to share and the care to distribute."

"Only yesterday, I was wondering how many tons of food and medicine must go off the shelves of Manhattan stores into the incinerator at the end of each day as they become stale or cross their date of expiry," he said.

"On the other hand, even to this day, few developed countries have fulfilled their pledge to share less than one percent of their GNP with the developing countries," he noted.

"Likewise, the pharmaceutical companies have convincing arguments against lowering cost of medicines," Thinley added.

On behalf of the LDCs, Bangladesh's Prime Minister Fakhruddin Ahmed appealed for the creation of a Global Food Bank to deal with the food crisis.

"The crisis will revisit us, perhaps in greater intensity and frequency, unless we put in place both short and long-term measures to prevent its recurrence," he said.

As an LDC representative, Bangladesh has urged UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to "look into the possibility of creating a Global Food Bank," he noted.

"We suggested that the Food Bank could allow countries facing ashort-term shortfall in production to borrow food grains on preferential terms," he said. "Once they overcame the shortfall, these countries could return the quantum to the Food Bank."

"We could also explore the possibility of determining special drawing rights for each country, using criteria such as population, level of poverty and annual variation in their level of food production," he said.

Samoa's Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi said that even small economies isolated from major world markets like his island country cannot escape from the immediate negative impacts and long-term consequences of global crises.

The Samoa leader complained of the "indifference" of some "leader nations" towards small and economically weak states.

"Paradoxically, the only time these struggling states get noticed is when they totter on the brink if not well on the way to becoming failed states," he said. "By then the cost in salvage action and remedial programs would be enormous."

"The willingness therefore of leader nations to listen and to try and understand early the problems of states struggling to sustain good governance and economic management would go a long way to creating effective partnerships and deploy scarce resource efficiently and in the process engenders goodwill and trust," he added.

"Barbados believes that those responsible for the crisis, and who also created, controlled, and manipulated the global financial system for their own advantage, cannot be trusted to heal it," Prime Minister David Thompson told the assembly.

"Developing countries must demonstrate leadership in the search for a lasting solution to the global financial crisis and insist that any exercise to institute reforms must strictly adhere to the principles of openness, transparency and inclusiveness, with the United Nations taking the lead," said the Barbados leader.

Indian Prime Minster Manmohan Singh called on rich countries to fulfill their commitments to helping developing countries implement the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

"Poverty, ignorance and disease still afflict millions of people," he said. "Unfortunately, solemn commitments made for transfer of financial resources from the developed to the developing world have remained largely unfulfilled."

"The commitment of developed countries to move to the long-set target of 0.7 percent of Gross National Income as ODA needs to be honored as a matter of priority," Singh said.

(Xinhua News Agency September 27, 2008)

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