New York, 28 September, 2018 – In a high-level meeting of Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs) at the UN General Assembly today, country representatives and high level UN panelists called for increased international support to help countries that lack territorial access to seas in their paths towards sustainable development.
“[Such] countries face complex challenges in their road to achieve the 2030 Agenda, including costs for infrastructure and access to internet, which are considerably higher, said UN Under-Secretary General and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, Fekita K. Utoikamanu.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Paraguay Luis Castiglioni, chairing the session, called for increased support from transit countries, to support LLDCs’ international commerce, saying this was a crucial step to leave no one behind.
“UNDP is fully invested in working with partner countries, including the LLDCs, in finding pathways towards sustainable development, to eradicate poverty, reduce inequality and protect the environment for future generations, ¨said UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner at the event, organized by the Government of Paraguay.
In collaboration with other UN agencies and international organizations since 2016, UNDP has facilitated engagement with at least 12 LLDCs to mainstream the SDGs in national development policies, action plans and budgets; identifying integrated policy approaches susceptible to accelerate progress across the SDGs; discussing innovative financial mechanisms to mobilize resources to invest in sustainable development; and reviewing data and capacity of national statistical systems for the review and follow up of the 2030 Agenda, among others.
The UNDP Administrator also congratulated the LLDC Governments for the establishment of the International think-tank for the LLDCs as a full- fledged international organization. He said UNDP is proud to have been associated with the initiative since its inception and is sure that the think tank will produce analytical work and provide a platform for concerted action by the LLDCs in the international fora and in cooperation with the UN to address their particular development challenges and contribute to the progress of the Vienna Programme of Action.
About LLDCs - Exports and imports of LLDCs are required to transit through at least one neighboring State, and often have to change the mode of transport frequently.
This substantially increases the cost of trade for LLDCs and is a key factor in preventing their effective integration into the global trading system.
The geographical challenges of LLDCs are often compounded by weak transit-transport infrastructure, inefficient customs operations, and over-dependence on the exports of primary commodities.
In recognition of the special development needs of LLDCs, the international community adopted the Vienna Programme of Action (VPoA)for these countries for the decade 2014-2024. The overarching goal of the VPoA is to help the LLDCs achieve sustainable and inclusive growth and to eradicate poverty.
At present, 32 countries belong to the Group of landlocked developing countries (LLDCs): 16 are located in Africa, 12 in Asia, 2 in Latin America (Bolivia and Paraguay) and 2 in Central and Eastern Europe (see map from the UN Conference on Trade and Development). These countries have a combined population of over 450 million people, with over 75 percent of them living in rural areas.