India to host ministers from LDC countries

February 15th, 2011 - 7:23 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Feb 15 (IANS) With the campaign for the UN Security Council expansion gathering momentum, India is expected to announce a slew of concessions for the Least Developed Countries from Africa and Asia when it hosts a two-day LDC ministerial conference starting Friday. The conference will be held in cooperation with the UN Office of the High Representative for Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States.

The conference will be attended by foreign ministers from over 40 countries and their permanent representatives to the UN and is being held ahead of the fourth conference on LDCs in Istanbul, Turkey, May 9-13.

With the Maldives graduating from LDC in 2010, there are 48 LDCs, which include 33 from Africa and 14 from Asia and Haiti from Latin America.

During the last United Nations review in 2009, the UN defined LDCs as those countries which have a three-year average estimate of gross national income (GNI) per capita of less than $905. Countries with populations over 75 million are excluded.

India is expected to announce duty and quota-free access for more LDC countries and unveil soft loans for a variety of reconstruction projects in the LDC countries.

The conference takes place at a time when India is a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council and is pushing hard for the expansion of the council in both permanent and non-permanent categories.

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