The Least Developed Countries’ (LDCs) category was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1971 and refers today to 46 countries that are diverse in their economic, social and political structures but which face structural challenges and constraints. These halt their productive capacities and make them particularly vulnerable to external shocks. Macroeconomic instabilities, the volatility of the private sector, the narrow production and export bases hinder trade integration, technological advances and job creation, and inhibit economic self-resilience.

These challenges and constraints, together with weak institutional and infrastructural capacities, widespread poverty, rising capital outflows and low investments into research and development (R&D), slow the progress of the LDCs on their path to graduation. The LDCs’ vulnerability is exacerbated by global challenges such as the climate crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic, putting the last decade of development progress at risk of sliding back. The continuing non-negligible negative impacts of COVID-19 on the global economy are highlighting the urgency to support the industrial development of the most vulnerable, promote sustainable livelihoods and job creation and expand fiscal space and social protection.

LDCs account for 82% of the membership of the OACPS. On the eve of the entry-into-force of the Post-Cotonou Partnership Agreement which aims to strengthen the capacity of the European Union (EU) and the Members of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) to jointly address global challenges related to human development, inclusive sustainable economic development and growth, climate change, gender equality and more, the OACPS is pleased to collaborate with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the United Nations Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS) to organise the 9th Ministerial Conference of the Least Developed Countries from 25-26 November 2021.

For more information, see the Conference webpage.

Modalities for participation