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Capacity building in trade and transport facilitation for land locked and transit developing countries

Background:

Cooperation between the landlocked developing countries and their transit neighbours in the field of transit trade raises complex economic, trade and legal issues that require interactions to find mutually acceptable solutions. Improvements depend on concerted actions that can be taken by major stakeholders in landlocked countries and their transit neighbours with the support of the international community.

Despite some positive developments in transit transport systems, the lack of territorial access to the sea, aggravated by remoteness and isolation from world markets and high transit costs and risks, continue to impose serious constraints on land-locked developing countries and they have consequently not been able to take full advantage of the new trade and investment opportunities offered by the process of liberalization and globalisation.

The project takes into account recent multilaterally agreed declarations that have emphasised the need to provide technical assistance and capacity building programmes for the elimination of non-technical barriers and procedural obstacles to trade as well as the need to strengthen institutional transport and transport managerial capacity in land-locked and transit developing countries. These recent agreements include: the Doha Ministerial Declaration, which recognizes the case for further expediting the movement, release and clearance of goods; the Monterrey Consensus, which calls for efforts to “improve trade infrastructure, strengthen institutional development and to reinforce the support for trade-related training, capacity and institution building and trade-supporting services; as well as the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, which calls for the enhancement of the capacities of developing countries, including the least developed countries and landlocked developing countries to benefit from liberalized trade opportunities, through measures aimed at developments in the areas of transportation and communication and the need to develop and strengthen national, regional and local transport services and systems.

Objective:

Provide land locked and transit developing countries with sustainable capacity to plan and implement regional trade and transport facilitation initiatives through creating local trade and transport facilitation clusters and encouraging partnerships in maritime, inland and border trading communities; operating national information and communication systems for trade and transport monitoring; and establishing regional trade and transport facilitation knowledge management networks linking public and private trading communities. This project is also meant to contribute to MDG 8 target 14.

Expected accomplishments:

  • Improved trade and transport facilitation in some selected landlocked and transit developing countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia, by means of clusters of public and private partners in the trade and transport sectors, which will build and implement national and regional trade and transport facilitation strategies through knowledge management
  • Operation of a trade and transport corridor based on information systems accessible to the trade and transport facilitation clusters for the purpose of analysing operational bottlenecks
  • Establishment of trade and transport facilitation networks in Latin America, Africa and Asia to design and implement regional solutions to trade transaction and transport costs in landlocked and transit developing countries

Implementation status:

In 2006, and having completed the implementation of phase 1 in two of the three selected transit corridors – Namely the Trans Caprivi corridor in Africa and the Vientiane-Bangkok corridor in Asia. The project has continued its execution as planned for phase 2, which is related to the operation of trade and transport facilitation clusters. Local clusters gathering trade and transport public and private partners in Laos, Thailand, Zambia and Namibia have now improved both in terms of joint planning and implemented actions. They offer now a solid basis for long term sustainable cooperation between parties in land locked and transit participating countries. Although somewhat different in their approach to analysis and solutions design, the Asian and African cases show good stable progress. The first clusters meetings held in May in Bangkok, Thailand and September in Walvis Bay, Namibia, have brought in new impetus in terms of joint trade and transport facilitation measures. These were designed together with national consultants in between meetings following the method proposed in the project.