Ministers of Foreign Affairs of LLDCs Adopt Innovative Roadmap for Accelerated Efforts to Deliver Sustainable Development

NEW YORK 23 September, 2020 – Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs) adopted a Roadmap for Accelerated Implementation of the Vienna Programme of Action during their annual meeting in the virtual sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.  

The Vienna Programme of Action is an ambitious plan agreed in 2014 to help LLDCs increase connectivity, enhance competitiveness, expand trade and  structural transformation, in pursuit of development goals. However, during a midterm review at the end of 2019 it was revealed that LLDCs are not on track to achieve the goals of the Programme by the deadline of 2024.   

In this context, the Chair of the Group of LLDCs, representing the group’s interests at the highest international level, requested the United Nations to develop a visionary Roadmap to accelerate progress.  

Since then, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the subsequent closing of borders all over the world, has placed even greater urgency and importance to addressing the special needs of LLDCs. 

The Roadmap presents a call to action for policy makers, the private sector, multilateral and regional development banks, the UN system and other organizations to help address the structural challenges in LLDCs. Special focus is given to assisting LLDCs to understand and deal with the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis.  

The Roadmap also provides a comprehensive map of activities and responsibilities of the wider UN family and other international and regional organisations in seven thematic priority action areas of critical importance to the sustainable development of the LLDCs. 

These seven areas are:  

  1. Transit, trade and transport facilitation 

  1. Energy and ICT 

  1. Structural economic transformation 

  1. Cooperation between LLDCs and transit countries 

  1. Means of implementation and international support 

  1. COVID-19 and other areas 

  1. Coordination 

The support of the UN system towards the accelerated implementation of the Vienna Programme of Action in LLDCs will be channeled through targeted policy advice, technical cooperation, capacity-building and training, financing, and concrete projects on the ground.  

The Roadmap addresses the key challenges of landlockedness with projects including: financing the development of transport, energy and ICT infrastructure; supporting national trade facilitation committees and strengthened regional value chains; enhancing access to nutritious and healthy food; supporting farmers and the development of agro-industries; strengthening small and medium-sized businesses; developing national innovation capacities; and helping LLDCs plan for climate change and disasters.   

The adoption of the Roadmap is the culmination of an extensive months-long consultative process to develop the document, coordinated by the Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS) under the High Representative Ms. Fekitamoeloa ‘Utoikamanu's guidance.  

As the international community embarks on the Decade of Action to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, greater support for LLDCs is essential to ensure that they are not left behind. 

The Roadmap will remain a living document, regularly updated through an inter-agency consultative process, to reflect the changing nature of the wider UN system support to the LLDCs.