Meeting of the group of Least Developed Countries
France welcomes the success of the Istanbul conference, the adoption of the political declaration and the Istanbul Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries. Now that the first G20 ministerial meeting on development has just finished, France stresses the convergence between the work on the Least Developed Countries and that done in the G20 framework, because the ministerial declaration adopted on 26 September contains a reference to the Istanbul Programme of Action and concentrates on two priorities:
infrastructure and food security, which are also highly relevant priorities for the Least Developed Countries.
Regarding the implementation of the Istanbul Programme of Action, France is giving special attention to the category of Least Developed Countries and concentrating her official development assistance resources on 14 priority countries, 13 of which are Least Developed Countries. We have made a commitment to dedicate 0.15% of our gross national product to the Least Developed Countries, in line with the goal in the Istanbul Programme of Action. In 2009, our aid amounted to 0.15% of our gross national product, and the initial indications for 2010 are encouraging, because they indicate a 27% increase in our bilateral aid to the Least Developed Countries.
Still on the implementation of the Istanbul Programme of Action, France shares the consensus beginning to emerge that this Programme of Action’s recommendations should be integrated into the large international summits, particularly the  United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in the Rio+20 framework.
In conclusion, on the essential issue of graduation, France believes this is the flagship aim of the Istanbul Programme of Action and is very ambitious because it means 24 countries are embarking on the graduation process by 2020. We believe the countries proposed for graduation by the ECOSOC committee must indeed leave the Least Developed Countries category within a reasonable period.
Finally, in the framework of the Working Group on Smooth Transition, France will give priority to focusing on the period following graduation, in order to ensure that departure from the Least Developed Countries category is sustainable. (…)./.