31/03/2005
Press Release
DEV/2502


LANDLOCKED COUNTRIES NEED TRANSPORT INFRASTRUCTURE,

 

REGIONAL COOPERATION TO ACHIEVE MILLENNIUM GOALS

 


(Reissued as received; delayed in transmission.)


ALMATY, 29 March (Millennium Project) -- The Millennium Project Report was launched today in Almaty at the High-level Meeting on the Role of International, Regional and Subregional Organizations for the implementation of the Almaty Programme of Action.


United Nations Under-Secretary-General and High Representative Anwarul K. Chowdhury, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic Songsavad Lengsavad, Kazakhstan Transport Minister Kasymzhan Nagmanov, Vice-Foreign Minister of Paraguay Ruben Ramirez, and UN Resident Coordinator in Kazakhstan Yuriko Shoji were present at the launching, which was also attended by representatives of over 40 organizations.  Professor Jeffrey Sachs, Special Advisor to the UN Secretary-General on the Millennium Development Goals, participated through a videoconference.


Launching the Millennium Project Report, Mr. Chowdhury stressed that the Millennium Goals are the single most ambitious plan by international community to halve poverty by the year 2015 and build foundations for sustainable and social development.  He also mentioned that the Millennium Goal-based strategies for landlocked developing countries should be founded on the implementation of the Almaty Programme of Action.


Professor Jeffrey Sachs emphasized that the key aspects of the landlocked countries’ development are investments in transport infrastructure and effective regional cooperation.  He also highlighted the importance of investments in the infrastructure development in landlocked countries within the regional context, and the need for shift in evaluation of investment projects from purely commercial focus to the approach that accounts for the development and social needs.  Donor countries have to meet the commitment to devote 0.7 per cent of gross national product (GNP) for official development assistance.  Now, it is time for action, not for rhetoric, he added.


A videoconference took place at the meeting on the role of international, regional and subregional organizations in implementing the Almaty Programme of Action that addresses the needs of landlocked developing countries. The Millennium Project Report was presented to the audience of over 40 organizations.  Investing in Development:  A Practical Plan to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals lays out the recommendations of the Millennium Project, an independent advisory body to the UN Secretary General.


Background


To achieve the Millennium Development Goals, landlocked countries need well developed transport infrastructure, regional integration and harmonization of trade procedures.  Such is one of the conclusions of the Millennium Project Report, Investing in Development, presented today in Almaty during the international meeting on transport issues.


The Report, Investing in Development:  A Practical Plan to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals, lays out the recommendations of the Millennium Project, an independent advisory body to the UN Secretary General.  In the most comprehensive strategy ever put forward for combating global poverty, hunger and disease, a blue-ribbon team of 265 of the world's leading development experts proposed a package of scores of specific cost-effective measures that together could cut extreme poverty in half and radically improve the lives of at least 1 billion people in poor developing countries by 2015.


Looking at the Central Asian region, Report authors highlight the need for a broad suit of investments in transport and energy infrastructure, improved water and sanitation facilities, and more effective health and education systems.  Central Asian countries should also strengthen regional cooperation, public sector management, reduce corruption and create a favourable environment for private sector development.


According to the Report, middle-income countries -- Kazakhstan one of them
-- are mostly able to invest their own resources in infrastructure development and other measures to raise the living standard and achieve the Millennium Goals.  These countries require international support in terms of expertise, experience and technical assistance.  Moreover, large middle-income countries are challenged not only to eradicate poverty within their borders, but also join the donor community and assist the less developed states.


The Project Report leads off a year-long series of global initiatives aimed at making the Goals a reality, including a report to UN Member States from the Secretary-General in March, which draws heavily on the Project's recommendations.  With world leaders gathering at the Group of 8 meeting in July and again at the United Nations in September to accelerate progress towards the Goals, the year 2005 has become the key year for mobilizing international support for the fight against poverty and disease, UN officials stressed.


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