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Landlocked countries call on neighbours to help boost development

Publication Date : 28-09-2012


Landlocked developing countries have called for greater cooperation and assistance to improve transport, boost trade and stimulate economic development.

The call comes after discussions at the 11th International Ministerial Conference of Landlocked Developing Countries held on Wednesday at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, US.

The conference, which was chaired by Lao Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr Thongloun Sisoulith, and was held on the sidelines of the UN's 67th General Assembly, brought together more than 70 participants from 31 member countries of an organisation that groups landlocked developing countries (LLDCs).

Representatives from international organisations also attended the one-day event, where participants discussed ways to address common issues that these countries are facing and how their requirements are being fulfilled, a press release from the Lao ministry of foreign affairs said.

To achieve such goals, the participants identified the need to promote cooperation and assistance from transit countries, development partners, the UN, and other international organisations, particularly in regards to trans-boundary transport and trade facilitation and assistance, as well as infrastructure development.

The participants reviewed the implementation of the Almaty Action Plan and called for member countries and relevant sectors to prepare for the International Conference which is due to take place in 2014 and will review the implementation of the plan over the last 10 years .

Participants were asked to prepare to draft the next 10-year plan for the countries involved.

Laos, which chairs the member countries for 2012-2013 in collaboration with relevant United Nations agencies in charge of the region, will host a meeting in March next year in Vientiane, to review the implementation of the Almaty Action Plan in the Asia region.

At the end of the conference, the member countries adopted the conference declaration that incorporated their joint visions on the issues they are facing and proposed to increase cooperation.

The participants praised Laos for its chairmanship, both at the present time and in the past (1999-2007), which has enabled the group to bring protection and assistance to its member countries, the press release said.

Attending the meeting were UN Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson and UN Under-Secretary General Gyan Chandra Archarya, who is the high representative for least developed countries, landlocked developing countries, and small island developing states.

Representing the Lao government, on Wednesday Dr Thongloun presented to the UN a letter of ratification which signifies Laos has ratified the Multilateral Agreement for the Establishment of an International Think Tank for Landlocked Developing Countries.

Technical officials told Vientiane Times that ratification of the agreement would add fuel to the Lao government's efforts to change landlocked Laos into a land link within the region.


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