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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on April 23rd, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

UN MEETING EXPLORES HOW TO BOOST ECONOMIES OF LANDLOCKED DEVELOPED COUNTRIES

Experts from Asia and Europe have gathered at a United Nations-backed meeting which opened today in Bangkok to discuss progress made in efforts to link landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) in the Asia-Pacific region to sea ports.

The two-day talks will centre around assessing developments since the adoption of the UN’s Almaty Programme of Action in 2003, which is the first global action plan negotiated at the ministerial level that provides a framework for cooperation between landlocked and the transit access developing countries, promising reductions in red tape and transportation costs and time.

The meeting has been organized by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), along with the UN Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) and the UN Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS).

Presentations will be made by LLDC Member States of ESCAP – Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bhutan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Mongolia, Nepal, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan – and by transit countries, including China, Iran and Russia.



Also kicking off in Bangkok today is a meeting of 40 representatives from the Asia-Pacific region to confer on how to boost employment in the Pacific islands.

The Special Body on Pacific Island Developing Countries of ESCAP meets every two years, and the current gathering will take place from 22-23 April.

Participants will talk about policies – including transport infrastructure and promoting entrepreneurship and private sector growth – to spur economic growth, which is key in creating jobs.

They will also discuss how the UN can support efforts towards sustainable development in the region.

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POOREST COUNTRIES HAVE YET TO BENEFIT FROM TRADE LIBERALIZATION – UN OFFICIAL

Landlocked and least developed countries (LDCs) have been further marginalized as a result of trade liberalization, which has led to increased growth in many parts of the world, a senior United Nations official has said.

Addressing the 12th UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), taking place in Accra, Ghana, Cheick Sidi Diarra lamented the fact that many of these countries have experienced a further loss of their market share as a result of trade liberalization.

Mr. Diarra, the UN’s High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, noted that globalization, which is supposed to lead to economic growth and reduce poverty, has served to deepen the disparities between and within countries.

To further integrate LDCs into the world economy, he called for domestic policies that support technological progress and innovation, as well as employment creation and upgrading of physical infrastructure. This must be accompanied by the creation of an enabling global environment, he added.

Landlocked developing countries are particularly marginalized in the international trading system, Mr. Diarra pointed out, owing to their remoteness from major world markets and excessive transit transport costs.

The High Representative said that addressing this situation requires the establishment of viable transit transport systems and the building up of export capacity.

He also expressed support for the Aid-for-Trade (AFT) initiative – launched at the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) 2005 Hong Kong Ministerial Conference – which aims to scale up international financial assistance for building up trade capacity in developing countries.

Mr. Diarra hoped the Accra gathering would help focus attention on the urgent need for greater support for the LDCs and landlocked developing countries in the area of international trade.


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