A United Nations-backed conference aimed at accelerating an ambitious development plan for the world’s 32 landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) concluded today in Zambia with a global ‘Call to Action’ intended to streamline their path towards sustainable, inclusive and economic progress.
The three-day high-level meeting, held in Livingstone, builds on the successes of the Vienna Programme of Action (VPoA), in which Member States outlined a 10-year blueprint for the development of LLDCs based on overcoming challenges related to “landlockedness, remoteness and geographical disadvantages,” according to a press release issued by the UN Office for Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries, and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS).
“The Livingstone meeting was critical in highlighting the importance of the effective implementation of the VPoA in partnership with transit countries and development partners,” the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, Gyan Chandra Acharya, stated.
“Enhanced and strengthened multi-stakeholder partnership will be indispensable for turning landlocked countries into landlinked countries,” Mr. Acharya added. “This is what came out strongly in the high-level meeting.”
The VPoA, adopted by the Second UN Conference on LLDCs last November, contains six clearly defined priorities and encapsulates a unified stance by the international community on a broad array of crucial issues – from concrete steps toward the structural transformation of LLDC economies and infrastructure development, to improving international trade and bolstering regional integration and cooperation.
In addition, the document is action-oriented, as it clearly spells out tangible actions to be taken by LLDCs, transit countries and development partners in each of the six priority areas identified together with clear national, regional and global level implementation, monitoring and review.
To that point, the Livingstone Call to Action urges Member States to pursue “several concrete measures to catalyse the implementation of the six priorities,” including the adoption of steps to enhance the structural economic transformation in the LLDCs and improving their share of international trade through policy measures.
The latter recommendation is particularly resonant, said UN-OHRLLS, given that the LLDCs’ share of international trade in 2014 stood at a meagre 1.2 per cent.
Celebrating the Call to Action as a “clear” call for implementation of development goals for the LLDCs, the Chair of the Group of LLDCs, Yamfwa Mukanga, urged the international community to ramp up efforts to ensure that the momentum of the VPoA is maintained in the coming months.
“As the post-2015 UN development agenda is about to be adopted,” said Mr. Mukanga, “the international community at large should ensure that the challenges of LLDCs are taken on board and that solutions are found.”