NEW YORK, January 7, 2020 – Kazakhstan took over the chairmanship of the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs) for the period 2020-2021. The Chairmanship Transfer Ceremony was held at the UN Headquarters in New York with the participation of ambassadors and experts from UN member states and UN High Representative for Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States Fekitamoeloa ‘Utoikamanu.
The LLDCs group includes 32 states, inter alia 16 countries representing the African continent, 10 from Asia, including all five Central Asian countries and Afghanistan, 4 are from Europe, and 2 from South America. Kazakhstan, being the largest landlocked country, is also located at the farthest distance from the oceans (about 3,750 km).
During the chairmanship, Kazakhstan intends to actively contribute to the implementation of the Vienna Programme of Action for Landlocked Developing Countries (2014–2024) and the UN Sustainable Development Goals through enhanced and coordinated cooperation of the group countries with transit countries, UN agencies and other interested parties on regional basis.
“As chair, Kazakhstan will make every effort to enhance cooperation between our Group and all interested parties, including UN agencies, international financial institutions, the private sector and academia”, Permanent Representative of Kazakhstan to the UN, Kairat Umarov, said during the event. He also thanked Permanent Representative of Paraguay to the UN, Julio Cesar Arriola, who led the group in the previous two years, for his significant work in this post.
Fekitamoeloa Utoikamanu in her speech emphasized that Kazakhstan has always taken an active position in promoting and protecting the interests of the LLDCs Group. She also noted that in June 2020 in Nur-Sultan, with the support of the Government of Kazakhstan, the Ministerial Meeting of LLDCs on trade issues would be held as part of the 12th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization. Kazakhstan was elected Chair of the Group during the Annual Ministerial Meeting of LLDCs in New York on September 25, 2019.
The absence of territorial access to the sea, remoteness and isolation from world markets and high transit costs pose serious obstacles to the general socio-economic development of landlocked countries. Their maritime commerce is completely dependent on transit through other countries. Additional border crossings and long distance from global markets significantly increase expenditures on transport services. Other major challenges faced by LLDCs include poor infrastructure development, small economic markets, vulnerability to climate change, and inadequate access to information and communication technologies.
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