The Paris Conference on Least Developed Countries, 1981

  • Thomas G. Weiss
  • A. Jennings


In contrast to the general malaise in multilateral economic diplomacy, growing consensus has emerged that much more significant efforts must be made on behalf of the poorest members of the international economy.1 The UN system has expanded its activities to ameliorate the especially precarious situation and development prospects of the 36 least developed countries (LDCs) which in 1980 had a population of 283 million. or 13 per cent of the population of all developing countries.2 These efforts took a decisive turn in Paris from 1 to 14 September 1981 when the UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries adopted the Substantial New Programme of Action (SNPA).3 Domestic policy reform and international support measures are intended to eliminate their extreme poverty and transform their economies over the next ten years. Did the Paris Conference accentuate or counter the present paralysis in multilateral development diplomacy? The present chapter examines the preparations for this conference as well as its decision-making procedures with a view to making an evaluation of its value as an instrument of multilateral diplomacy.


United Nations Development Programme Donor Country Senior Official Contact Group Review Meeting 
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Notes and References

  1. 4.
    Andre Champmarin, ‘Les PMA dans les negociations internationales: la tentation du neo-colonialisme multilateral’, in G. Mignot with Pierre Jacquet and Jacques Loup (eds), Les Pays les plus pauvres: quelle cooperation pour quel developpment? (Paris: Institut francais des relations internationales, 1981) p. 196.Google Scholar
  2. 10.
    A. F. Ewing, ‘UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries’, Journal of World Trade Law, vol. 16, no. 2 (March–April 1982) 171.Google Scholar
  3. 19.
    H. Nicolson, Diplomacy, 3rd edn (Oxford University Press, 1963) p. 25.Google Scholar
  4. 21.
    There is a considerable literature on the limits of aid including: J. Galtung, P. O’Brien and R. Preiswerk, Self-Reliance: A Strategy for Development (London: Villiers Publications, 1980);Google Scholar
  5. P. Bauer and B. Yamey, ‘The Political Economy of Foreign Aid’, Lloyds Bank Review (October 1981) pp. 1–15;Google Scholar
  6. John Healey and Charles Clift, ‘The Development Rationale for Aid — Re-examined’, ODI Review, no. 2 (1980) 14–18.Google Scholar
  7. 22.
    G. Ohlin, ‘Negotiating International Order’, in M. Gersovitz et al. (eds), The Theory and Experience of Economic Development (London: Allen & Unwin, 1982) pp. 215–18.Google Scholar
  8. 26.
    A discussion of these developments, as well as the overall context of UNCTAD, where group politics have been perfected, can be found in R. L. Rothstein, Global Bargaining: UNCTAD and the Quest for a New International Economic Order (Princeton University Press, 1979). For a discussion of the internal and external politics surrounding UNCTAD’s foundation and its group system as an alternative to the domination by the North in other international organisations, seeGoogle Scholar
  9. Branislov Gosivic, UNCTAD: Compromise and Conflict (Leiden: A. W. Sijthoff, 1972);Google Scholar
  10. Diego Cordovez, UNCTAD and Development Diplomacy: From Confrontation to Strategy (London: Journal of World Trade Law, 1970); andGoogle Scholar
  11. Kamal Hagras, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development: A Case Study in UN Diplomacy (New York: Praeger, 1965).Google Scholar
  12. 27.
    M. ul Haq, ‘Negotiating the Future’, Foreign Affairs, vol. 59, no. 2 (1980/81) 398–417.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© G. R. Berridge and A. Jennings 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas G. Weiss
  • A. Jennings

There are no affiliations available

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