States pledge at UN to tackle special needs of landlocked poor nations

3 October 2008

The General Assembly today wrapped up a special high-level meeting with Member States renewing the pledge made five years ago to help the world's 31 landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) overcome the problems caused by their lack of territorial access to the sea and their remoteness and isolation from world markets.

In a declaration adopted at the end of the two-day meeting, participants acknowledged that landlocked and transit countries have registered some progress in carrying out the actions agreed in the 2003 Almaty Programme of Action, which set out specific measures to compensate LLDCs for their geographical handicaps with improved market access and trade facilitation.

They also expressed concern that the share of global trade of these countries has remained “small.” According to United Nations figures, although LLDCs represent about 15 per cent of States, their share of world exports has remained well below 1 per cent.

The declaration also calls for a series of future actions by LLDCs, donors, development partners and institutions to accelerate the implementation of the Almaty Programme, including promoting inter-railway cooperation, facilitating road transit and making full use of available technology to enhance trade and transport.

Donors and multilateral institutions are called on to provide landlocked and transit developing countries with the required technical and financial assistance to help them in their efforts to overcome their handicaps.

Participants also welcomed the proposal to set up a global think tank in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, to assist these countries in their efforts to implement the Programme, as well as achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the targets agreed to by world leaders in 2000 to slash poverty, hunger, preventable illness and a host of other socio-economic ills.

“Over the past two days we have been assessing the multi-faceted efforts to ensure that landlocked developing countries have efficient transit transport systems to access international markets,” General Assembly President Miguel D'Escoto said as he closed the event.

Mr. D'Escoto pledged that the Assembly “will use all its authority to ensure that the commitments of donor countries to provide funding and needed technology transfers are honoured.”

The work outlined in the declaration is “ambitious,” he added. “But inspired by our sense of solidarity with the peoples of these landlocked countries and their neighbours, the way is clear and the possibilities endless.”


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