World leaders reaffirm commitment to landlocked developing countries

 World leaders have reaffirmed commitment to helping advance the world’s 32 landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) through a political declaration adopted by an ongoing United Nations (UN) meeting addressing these nations’ special needs and challenges.

The Political Declaration of the High-level Midterm Review on the Implementation of the Vienna Programme of Action (VPOA) for LLDCs for the Decade 2014-2024 was adopted Thursday at the General Assembly plenary meeting.  

By the political declaration’s terms, the heads of state and government, ministers and high representatives, reaffirmed their commitment to the full, effective and timely implementation of the VPOA.

They also proposed durable, transparent, accountable and effective partnerships between LLDCs, transit countries and their development partners.

In November 2014, the 2nd UN Conference on LLDCs held in Vienna adopted the VPOA, which aims to achieve inclusive and sustainable economic growth and reduce poverty for LLDCs and ensure the integration of LLDCs into the global economy.

In Thursday’s declaration, world leaders noted that, since 2014, many LLDCs have placed structural economic transformation at the centre of national development plans. 

They have “adopted strategies for diversification and upgrading of their economies, industrialisation, export promotion and private sector development,” the declaration recognised.

However, it said, these countries have made limited progress towards achieving structural transformation, with limited manufacturing and industrial capacity to create high-value-added products, and the economies of some landlocked developing countries even show signs of de-industrialisation.

Leaders observed that LLDCs and transit countries should consider promoting a corridor approach to improving trade and transit transport, calling upon these countries to reduce travel time along the corridors, promote regional connectivity and maximise associated economic opportunities.

They also urged these countries to develop regionally integrated, sustainable, climate- and disaster-resilient transport infrastructure.

Further, they called upon development partners and multilateral development banks to support landlocked developing countries in strengthening trade financing.

Leaders encouraged landlocked developing countries to continue making improvements in the regulatory environment for business, in particular for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, in his opening remarks to the meeting, said that in adopting the declaration, states must help turn LLDCs into land-linked places of prosperity and opportunity.  

“We need the right policy mix, increased investment, reliable transit infrastructure, efficient customs operations and improved access and use of technology,” he said.


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