Reading activity 08/05/2011

The Fourth United Nations Conference on Least Developed Countries (LDCs)

Task 1

Check out the list of LDCs here

Task 2

Read to find the following information about the conference.

- Date and duration

- Issues affecting LDCs

Task 3
Google these abbreviations.




The Conference

The United Nations General Assembly, in its resolutions 63/227 and 64/213 decided to convene the Fourth UN Conference on the LDCs, which will be held in Istanbul, Turkey, in May/June 2011 for the duration of five days. It also launched a process of national, regional and global reviews of the Brussels Programme implementation that will feed into the preparation of a new development framework for the LDCs expected to be adopted at the Conference.

OHRLLS, as the focal point of such preparatory process, is working closely with the host country and has launched a process to mobilize the entire United Nations System, relevant international and regional organizations as well as Member States, with a view to deliver on a comprehensive, action-oriented and meaningful outcome of the Conference, including concrete deliverables.

The preparations for the Conference provide an opportunity for in-depth reflection on the continued vulnerabilities faced by the LDCs. An assessment will be made of the progress made so far by the LDCs, the obstacles and constraints encountered and the actions and initiatives needed to overcome them. This important process is taking place against the background of a very different economic and political landscape from the one prevailing a decade ago. Emerging economies have increased their share in global trade, foreign direct investment flows and migration and the LDCs have established increasingly significant economic relations with them. Significant structural changes have taken place on the international stage, more recently with the emergence of the G-20 leaders’ summits which formally comprise many countries of the South.

The face of development cooperation is also changing. While aid from OECD/DAC countries is still predominant, especially to the LDCs, a growing number of developing country partners for trade and investment, and sources of finance, are emerging to help LDCs meet their development aspirations. This is especially needed in the wake of the multiple global crises, food, energy, financial and economic, as well as climate change, that have had a specific, negative impact on LDCs’ economic and social development and threaten to roll back much of the hard-fought advances made. The food crisis has hit the most vulnerable people the hardest, particularly those living in LDCs; LDCs have also particularly suffered from the impacts of the global financial crisis and the resulting global economic recession; and the drastic effects of climate change are already being experienced by many LDCs.

The national and regional reviews of the Brussels Programme have underscored the urgent need for an enhanced global partnership in support of the LDCs, with focused attention to the areas of: (a) strengthening productive capacities to build resilience and reduce LDCs’ vulnerability to external shocks; (b) promoting agricultural development to reduce hunger and ensure food security; (c) strengthening financial resource mobilization and targeting aid to productive sectors; (d) improving access to export markets; (e) developing infrastructure; (f) managing climate change and ensuring a new green deal for LDCs; (g) ensuring universal access to essential services and accelerating progress towards the MDGs.

With the increased challenges that the LDCs are confronting, it is more important than ever to ensure that the Fourth UN LDC Conference, and its preparations, involve a wide range of stakeholders, not least from the LDCs themselves.

Task 4

Watch UN webcast: 'Remarks by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries.'


On board QE2 cruise liner moored in Dubai

3 May 2011 Last updated at 13:46 GMT

QE2 enthusiast Rob Lightbody has filmed inside the former Cunard liner which has been moored at a dockside in Dubai since leaving its former home port of Southampton.

It is thought to be the first footage shot inside the famous liner since 2008 when United Arab Emirates real estate developer Nakheel bought the ship for $100m.

Following the global economic downturn, the plans to convert the ship into a floating 200-room luxury hotel and entertainment centre off Dubai's manmade islands came to nothing.

A captain and a skeleton crew of 38 remain onboard to paint and maintain the ship. It is thought unlikely the former Cunard flagship - which carried almost 2.5 million passengers and completed over 800 Atlantic crossings - could now sail under its own power.

a. Look up any new terms.

b. Watch this video.

c. Watch Doha debate: Dubai is a bad idea?

d. Your Opinion: Are you for or against the motion? Give Reasons.


22 February 2011 Last updated at 15:04 GMT

Arab protests pose energy threat
By Damian Kahya

Business reporter, BBC News

With the oil-rich Arab world facing a protracted period of popular revolt and political uncertainty, investors in the energy sector are now planning for the costly and totally unpredictable.

1. Read the article here.

2. Which word in the text is similar in meaning to:

a. rebellion / revolution / uprising / upheaval / insurgency / insurrection
/ mutiny / riot

b. doubt / indecision / hesitation / vagueness / ambiguity / insecurity / improbability 
c. draw out / prolong / extend / spin out / drag out / stretch out / expand / lengthen /
delay / stretch


2. Read the following passage from BBC news.

Abu Dhabi's bid to be a pioneer of clean energy

Abu Dhabi plays host to the World Future Energy Summit this week, bringing together climate change experts and investors from around the globe.

Despite sitting on one tenth of the world's oil, the emirate is trying to promote itself as a pioneer for of clean energy.

Its biggest project is Masdar, a sustainable, zero-carbon city that is attracting investment in the renewable energy sector to the region.

Abu Dhabi may have the financial clout to invest in alternative forms of energy but will its plans pay off in the long run?

Katy Watson reports from Abu Dhabi.

2. Look up these terms.

a) bid     
b) renewable energy
c) climate change
d) sustainable, zero-carbon city
e) alternative forms of energy  
f) pay off

3. Which word in the text is opposite in meaning to:

- conventional

4. Watch this video on the same topic.

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