– As delivered –

Statement by H.E. Mrs. María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, President of the 73rd Session of the UN General Assembly

28 September 2018


Landlocked Developing Countries Ministerial Meeting

Your Excellency, Luis Alberto Castiglioni, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Paraguay, and Global Chair of the Group of LLDCs,

Honorable Ministers,


Ms. Fekitamoeloa Utoikamanu, Assistant Secretary General and High Representative for Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States,

Distinguished Guests,

I very much appreciate the opportunity to participate in the Annual Meeting of Landlocked Developing Countries. I thank Minister Castiglioni and the Government of Paraguay for inviting me and I wish to recognize their leadership in supporting the Group’s efforts to achieve the goals of the Vienna Programme of Action.


Colleagues, allow me to make just two points:

First, I would like to recognize the context-specific challenges faced by landlocked developing countries.

The clear and obvious challenge is of course reduced access to the sea and thus connection to most major markets. In addition to, and sometimes because of the structural challenges that come from this geographical limitation, landlocked developing countries must also address climate change, migration, inequality and poverty. In some cases, conflict and instability in neighboring countries are an added burden

These constraints pose a direct challenge to the ability of landlocked developing countries to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals without additional effort and support.

Colleagues, it is for this reason that this Group is so important, as it offers an opportunity for countries to come together and share, through South-South and Triangular Cooperation, solutions and experiences in overcoming these obstacles.

I am pleased to note that the Group has achieved important milestones in its quest for progress. The recently launched International Think Tank for Landlocked Developing Countries, established in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, offers an incredible opportunity to generate research and evidence-based policy advice. I commend the Government of Mongolia for hosting this center of excellence, as well as applaud the Group for pursuing this initiative.

The BAPA+40 conference in Buenos Aires next year offers an invaluable opportunity for LLDCs to share experiences and ensure that the outcomes of the conference respond to your interests. I do hope that you will take full advantage of it.

As LLDCs shoulder their responsibilities for their own development, we cannot ignore the fact that the challenges they face require continued and enhanced investment and technical assistance, in particular with regards to infrastructure development, job creation, trade facilitation, structural transformation and regional integration.

I believe that the dedicated efforts by LLDCs must be complemented with strong multilateral partnerships for those countries to turn themselves into “land linked” countries in the fastest possible time.

As a community of nations, we have an obligation not only to stand in solidarity with you, but also to take on our part of our shared responsibilities. That way we all reap the collective benefit of a prospering global economy and a secure world.

Dear friends, for my second point, I would like to reiterate my firm support for the high-level midterm review of the Vienna Programme of Action.

While the precise date of the review conference may fall outside of my tenure as President of the General Assembly, I have the responsibility to guide the series of regional dialogues intended to generate the substance for the eventual political declaration. In view of the importance of the assessment of progress at this midway point for advancing implementation, my team and I will extend our full support to ensuring that this is a success.

Finally, before closing, I wish to highlight the importance of the seven priorities for the 73rd session to LLDCs. They are critical issues for all Member States but perhaps, especially so, for many in this room. I hope you will work with me to ensure that we achieve success across these issues that are so vital for implementing the 2030 Agenda.

Thank you.