Landlocked Ministers at General Assembly Call for Enhanced Support to Respond to COVID-19

NEW YORK 24 September 2020 – Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs) met virtually on the margins of the UN General Assembly on September 23 and expressed concern about the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on their countries.

Meeting under the theme, “Partnering for accelerated implementation of the Vienna Programme of Action and achieving sustainable development in LLDCs in the era of COVID-19,”  they also pointed out major challenges yet to be addressed in their development progress.

The Vienna Programme of Action (VPoA) is an ambitious plan agreed in 2014 to help LLDCs increase connectivity, expand trade and structural transformation, and enhance competitiveness in pursuit of development goals. However, during a review at the end of 2019, it was found that LLDCs are off track to achieve the programme’s goals by the ten-year deadline in 2024.

Ministers also stressed that the implementation of the VPoA needs to be anchored in efforts to combat COVID-19 and called on all concerned parties to support them through the pandemic and beyond. Their key allies in this response include their neighbours, on whom access to sea ports is dependent; the private sector; and the international system itself.

UN Secretary General, Mr. António Guterres spoke at the meeting and reminded ministers to

“keep our focus on stopping the pandemic. The availability of future vaccines to all developing countries, including the Landlocked Developing Countries, is fundamental to any sustainable global recovery.”

At the meeting, ministers adopted a Declaration that addresses the structural challenges hampering development progress in LLDCs.

The Declaration calls for more investment in transport and energy infrastructure and digital connectivity, amongst other priority areas. It also requests further support to accelerate the implementation of the VPoA.

To renew efforts to meet the 2024 target, minister adopted an ambitious new plan, called the Roadmap for Accelerated Implementation of the VPoA, which identifies seven thematic priority action areas of critical importance to the sustainable development of the LLDCs. These are (1) Transit, trade and transport facilitation; (2) Energy and ITC; (3) Structural economic transformation; (4) Cooperation between LLDCs and transit countries; (5) Means of implementation and international support; (6) COVID-19; and (7) International Coordination.

H.E. Mr. Mukhtar Tileuberdi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan and Global Chair of the Group of LLDCs, said of the Roadmap, that

“it will help to join efforts of the UN agencies and international organizations, transit countries, development partners, private sector and other interested stakeholders. We need to … ensure better practical results on the ground in the remaining five years.”

Ministers, senior government officials and experts from LLDCs, transit developing countries and development partners as well as heads of United Nations system and international organizations attended the meeting. President of the 75th Session of the UN General Assembly, H.E. Volkan Bozkir was also in attendance.

Finally, ministers also reaffirmed their commitment to the United Nations on its seventy-fifth anniversary and agreed their commitment to international cooperation and multilateralism.

United Nations High Representative for Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, Ms. Fekitamoeloa Katoa ‘Utoikamanu, said

“Strengthening regional cooperation between LLDCs and transit countries, in particular on transit and transport along important corridors and promoting public and private partnerships is now more critical than ever.”

She concluded, “We all must come together and strengthen multilateral capacity to provide dedicated support to what is the most vulnerable group of countries and people.”


For further information on this meeting, please go here