From landlocked to land-linked: how the UN is helping some of the world’s poorest countries

UN Photo/Gill Fickling A panoramic view outside Kathmandu, Nepal.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.


How can the international community turn some of the world’s poorest, landlocked countries, into thriving, land-linked nations? On Thursday, at UN Headquarters, Member States will renew commitments they have made, to lift the 32 countries designated as Landlocked Developing Countries, or LLDCs, out of poverty.

The two-day event in New York is officially known as the Midterm Review of the Vienna Programme of Action For Landlocked Countries, a 10-year initiative to improve the economies of the LLDCs, which suffer from, amongst other things, their challenging geography: they are often remote from world markets, lack access to sea ports, and are dependent on conditions in neighbouring countries which are often developing economies themselves.

LLDCs also face high trade and transport costs, as well as limited or low-quality infrastructure challenges. There can be frequent delays at borders, and bottlenecks related to customs procedures and border crossing regulations; productivity constraints; and structural weaknesses. Because of these factors, the level of development of LLDCs is about 20% lower than it would be if they had some kind of sea access.

A ‘pivotal moment’ to improve lives in Landlocked Developing Countries

Ahead of the Conference, UN News asked Fekitamoeloa Katoa ‘Utoikamanu – the United Nations High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States – to explain how the international community can help improve the livelihoods of those living in LLDCs:

“The Midterm Review is the time to review progress, identify gaps and propose innovative solutions to accelerate implementation of the Vienna Programme over the next five years. Actions listed in the Programme include scaled-up and renewed partnerships between LLDCs, transit countries and development partners; strengthened regional integration; increased investments in resilient and sustainable infrastructure development and maintenance; improved trade facilitation; efforts to address internal and external vulnerabilities of the LLDCs; and enhanced technical assistance and capacity building support to LLDCs, to name a few”.

Is the Vienna Programme helping LLDCs to develop?

“Since the adoption of the Vienna Programme of Action, there has been significant development of regional, sub-regional and multilateral initiatives amongst LLDCs and transit countries to support transit transport.

For example, Afghanistan, India and Iran signed a transport and transit corridor agreement in 2016; Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal entered into a Motor Vehicles Agreement in 2015; China, Mongolia and the Russian Federation are implementing a trilateral agreement for building of a trilateral economic corridor; the Eurasian Economic Union, which includes three LLDCs, adopted a new customs code in 2018; and the Agreement on River Transport for the Paraguay-Paraná Waterway was signed by the Latin American LLDCs and transit countries.

The African Continental Free Trade Area, essentially an immense single African market for goods and services which can facilitate the integration of LLDCs into regional value chains and expand their trade capabilities, entered into force in May 2019, and all LLDCs are part of it.

A big success is the ratification of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement by all but one LLDC that are WTO Members: now we must support their implementation of the Agreement.

Some transit transport corridors involving LLDCs – such as the Central Corridor and the Trans-Kalahari Corridor in Africa and the road corridors under the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Programme – have managed to achieve the specific objective of the Vienna Programme of Action to reduce travel time along corridors, with the aim of allowing transit cargo to move a distance of 300 to 400 km every 24 hours”.

What progress is being made with new technologies?

“Many LLDCs are also making progress in various areas, such as access to energy and ICT (information and communication technology) and structurally transforming and diversifying their economies.

Armenia has supported the ICT sector to become one of the leading sectors in its economy, promoting technology innovation and productivity growth. Armenia’s ICT sector has expanded by 20% annually since 2008, reaching record 38% expansion in 2017. Technological centers and free economic zones are being established to further promote the development of high-tech and engineering sectors in Armenia.

Botswana has created very attractive and highly competitive macroeconomic and business environment and is now amongst the top-rated economies in Sub-Saharan Africa, with well-articulated and sophisticated trade and development vision and policies.

Bhutan has tremendously increased the proportion of its population with access to electricity from 41% in 2003 to over 97% in 2017 and has large hydropower potential.”

What else has changed since the adoption of the Programme of Action in 2014?

“The Vienna Programme of Action has a straightforward goal: address the challenges of the landlocked developing countries in a more comprehensive manner than ever before. There is no doubt that we now have greater awareness of the LLDC issues: there is increased visibility, and also the recognition that LLDCs have special needs that have to be addressed at the international level, and in the work of the United Nations.

The 2030 Agenda has a key ambition to leave no one behind: this must include LLDCs.”

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Coronavirus crisis: “Commission will use all the tools at its disposal to make sure the European economy weathers the storm”

UN Middle East Coordinator strongly condemns ‘arrests and violence’ by Hamas security forces during Gaza protests

Nicaragua: MEPs condemn brutal repression and demand elections

Renewal of cross-border aid operation critical to northern Syria: UN relief chief

Ocean Conference has potential to be a ‘global game-changer’

Trump stumbles badly on his Russian openings; Europeans wary of Putin

Amid ongoing fighting in northeast Syria, hundreds cross Iraqi border in search of safety

Why do medical curricula shouldn’t neglect the Sustainable Development Goals

Somalia’s population, international partners must be energized to sustain country’s ‘upward trajectory,’ says senior UN official

Tackling terrorism: MEPs approve tighter rules on homemade explosives

Women outliving men ‘everywhere’, new UN health agency statistics report shows

A brief history of cryptography and why it matters

The Fourth Industrial Revolution can close the digital divide. This is how

Here are 5 of the biggest threats to our oceans, and how we can solve them

EU Council agrees to reform the system for motor vehicles but with “restricted” power for the Commission

EU takes again positive action on migration crisis while Turkey asks for dear favors in exchange for cooperation

Humanitarian Aid: EU allocates €55 million in Sudan

America writes-off Iran, blocks Europe’s Tehran talks

No improvement in respect for EU values: MEPs cut support for Turkey by €70m

UN experts urge United Arab Emirates to release terminally ill woman to live her last days ‘in dignity’

White Coat, Stained red

Corruption In The Balkans Is Impeding EU Membership

Car-free day – and the other 364 days of the year

UN report on Syria conflict highlights inhumane detention of women and children

Four things Turkey did for business in the G20

The pandemic has damaged youth employment: Here’s how we can help

Hungary’s laws on helping vulnerable foreigners are ‘blatantly xenophobic’: UN rights chief

UN chief welcomes new Government in Lebanon, after eight-month impasse

European Commission secures EU access to Remdesivir for treatment of COVID-19

Thoughtful blockchain implementation is key to improving supply chains in a post-COVID world

An introduction to ‘Eco-Medical Literacy’ and its importance in shaping expert medical professionals

Connectivity and collaboration in the ICT industry: the key to socio-economic development

Humanity ‘at a crossroads’ as damage to planet poses growing risk to health, UN environment agency warns

A woman would have to be born in the year 2255 to get equal pay at work

Yemen: Major UN aid boost for ‘up to 14 million’ as country risks becoming a land of ‘living ghosts’

Tropical Cyclone Idai affects 1.5 million across Mozambique and Malawi, as UN ramps up response

Greferendum: the biggest political gaffe in western modern history to tear Europe apart? #Grexit #Graccident

UN calls for shipping ‘propulsion revolution’ to avoid ‘environmental disaster’

Joint UN-Congolese strategy needed to address insecurity following deadly attacks

“We have to do a better job of creating alternatives to violent extremism”, US Secretary of State John Kerry from Switzerland; the Sting reports live from World Economic Forum 2015 in Davos

Coronavirus: EU global response to fight the pandemic

5 ways Denmark is preparing for the future of work

How changemakers in Bangkok are popularising the circular economy

The 10 most common types of plastic choking Europe’s rivers

Switzerland: prepare for population ageing to maintain high living standards

UN envoy ‘encouraged’ by latest talks on avoiding ‘worst-case scenario’ in Syria’s Idlib

UN underlines need for dialogue to resolve Israel-Palestine conflict

‘No country, no region’ can tackle global challenges alone says UN’s Mohammed

Climate emergency: City mayors are ‘world’s first responders’, says UN chief

The Great Reset requires FinTechs – and FinTechs require a common approach to cybersecurity

Assassinations in Ethiopia amidst regional ‘coup’ attempt, condemned by UN chief

Coronavirus: the truth against the myths: Lockdown by a novel coronavirus, named 2019-nCoV

More progress needed on reducing and redesigning agricultural support policies

African migration: what the numbers really tell us

Top global firms commit to tackling inequality by joining Business for Inclusive Growth coalition

Systems leadership can change the world – but what exactly is it?

Presentation of Juncker’s Investment Plan: Can 315 billion euros save the EU?

Malaysia’s last Sumatran rhino died – here are more species on the verge of extinction

UN calls for funds to ease ‘deteriorating’ humanitarian situation in Gaza and West Bank

Take medical use of cannabis seriously, say MEPs

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s