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Estonia Supports the Reduction of Poverty in Least Developed Countries

10.05.2011

No. 163-E

Today at the United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said that only continuous and well thought-out support for countries with small incomes, weak human resources, and vulnerable economies will help to improve their situation.

Paet stated that according to the UN Human Development Index there are 48 less-developed countries, which are home to 12% of the world’s population. “These countries need ongoing support in their battle against poverty, starvation and disease. At the same time, they themselves must want to get out of the ranks of the least developed countries,” he said. “Since 1971, three countries have made their way off the list of least developed nations – Botswana, Cape Verde, and the Maldives. But a number of mostly African and Asian countries are still on the list,” Paet added.

Foreign Minister Paet stated that Estonia is helping the least developed countries with its resources for humanitarian aid and development co-operation. “Some examples of Estonia’s contributions are development co-operation projects geared towards health care, education, women and children, and the promotion of democracy in Afghanistan, supporting humanitarian aid and education programmes in Haiti, development co-operation with Zambia in the IT sector, and the humanitarian mission of Estonian surgeons in Gambia,” said the Estonian foreign minister. He added that 45% of Estonia’s humanitarian aid last year went to the least developed countries.

The Estonian foreign minister stated that 60 percent of the world’s refugees come from the least developed countries. “The situation of the people in these countries can only be improved through economic growth, sustainable development, and integration into the global economy. We must also not forget how important rule of law, respect for human rights, and strengthening democracy are in this process,” Paet noted.

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