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

Make this the year of ‘transformative solutions’ to avert disastrous climate change: UN Deputy Chief

Women in medical leadership: future perspectives of medicine

Further reforms in Sweden can drive growth, competitiveness and social cohesion

Robot inventors are on the rise. But are they welcomed by the patent system?

Brazilian officer a ‘stellar example’ of why more women are needed in UN peacekeeping

Commissioner McGuinness announces proposed way forward for central clearing

Syria: Commissioner Lenarčič visits Turkish border and calls for renewal of UN cross-border resolution

4 principles for securing the digital identity ecosystem

UN chief praises New Zealand premier’s ‘admirable’ response to Christchurch attacks

Why 2020 is a turning point for cybersecurity

COVID-19 tests rely on bacteria discovered in a natural pool in the 1960s – and it’s not the only slice of nature essential to medicine

Migration: Commission refers HUNGARY to the Court of Justice of the European Union over its failure to comply with Court judgment

Q&A: A on the EU COVID-19 certificate

Working with millennials, leaders say humility works better than bossing around

How Abu Dhabi found a way to grow vegetables in 40-degree heat

Russia and the EU ‘trade’ natural gas supplies and commercial concessions in and out of Ukraine

Eurozone’s central bank leadership prepares for shoddier prospects

Workplace bullies could now go to jail in South Korea

Biggest ever UN aid delivery in Syria provides relief to desperate civilians

Negotiations on new EU collective redress rules to begin

Why we are using these custom-built drones to collect whale snot

For video game addiction, now read official ‘gaming disorder’: World Health Organization

Ebola cases rising in DR Congo, but UN health agency cites progress in community trust-building

Antibiotics are contaminating the world’s rivers

British PM May’s Brexit proposal remains obscure while her government unravels

The EU Parliament blasts the Council about the tax dealings of the wealthy

5 lessons from Africa on how drones could transform medical supply chains

More people now plan to get a COVID-19 vaccine than in December

Turkey: Commission continues humanitarian support for refugees

Only one in five countries has a healthcare strategy to deal with climate change

Africa must use tech to chase corruption out of the shadows

Mergers: Commission approves Assa Abloy’s acquisition of Agta Record, subject to conditions

World’s human rights watchdog spotlights Afghanistan, Yemen and 12 others: Here’s the scoop

US-China trade war: Washington now wants control of the renminbi-yuan

ECB: Growth measures even before the German elections

Z, V or ‘Nike swoosh’ – what shape will the COVID-19 recession take?

Cultural diversity can drive economies. Here are lessons from India and South Asia

EU Member States test their cybersecurity preparedness for free and fair EU elections

This is how music festivals are tackling plastic waste

Malta: Human rights experts call for justice in case of murdered journalist

3 things to know about women in STEM

Q and A: This is how stakeholder capitalism can help heal the planet

10 months were not enough for the EU to save the environment but 2 days are

These are the top 10 emerging technologies of 2019

Why EU’s working and unemployed millions remain uncertain or even desperate about their future

Europe again the black sheep at the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors

FROM THE FIELD: Changing world, changing families

The relationship between Dengue and the rainfall in Boa Vista, Brazil

EU, Canada and China co-host international meeting on climate cooperation and a sustainable economic recovery

Why is black plastic packaging so hard to recycle?

Raising the Scope of Sexual and Reproductive Health Services in Vulnerable Populations

Companies can help solve water scarcity. Here’s how

A new bioeconomy strategy for a sustainable Europe

Giving humanitarian help to migrants should not be a crime, according to the EP

European Solidarity Corps: three years on

Marriage equality boosted employment of both partners in US gay and lesbian couples

The West and Russia accomplished the dismembering and the economic destruction of Ukraine

State aid: Commission approves €1.4 billion Swedish scheme to support uncovered fixed costs of companies affected by coronavirus outbreak

Gaza: deadly violence continues to escalate, top UN officials work to restore calm

EU food watchdog: more transparency, better risk prevention

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

%d bloggers like this: