Senior UN official calls for improved trading transport for landlocked countries

29 March 2005

A United Nations advocate for landlocked developing countries called on major multilateral organizations today to establish technical cooperation programmes to solve the transport problems impeding free trade by these countries and develop ways to measure progress in setting up efficient transit systems.

The UN High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, Anwarul K. Chowdhury, was addressing a three-day High-Level Meeting in Kazakhstan on the role of multilateral organizations in implementing the Almaty Programme of Action (APoA) to secure access to the sea for these countries and reduce trade transaction costs.

"Landlocked developing countries continue to face difficult transit problems that reduce their competitiveness in the world market. It diminishes export profits, and inflates the prices of imported inputs for manufacturing," he said. "By making trade expensive, high transport costs can't help but have an enormous impact on the overall economic development of landlocked developing countries."

The organizations for a cooperation programme to come up with solutions would include the World Bank, the World Trade Organization, the World Customs Organization and the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), he said, and the indicators of progress "would be few in number and easy in application."