Non-Aligned Movement recognises the special needs of the least developed countries (LDCs), the small island developing states (SIDS), and the land locked developing countries (LLDCs) within a new global framework for transit transport cooperation for land locked and transit developing countries, and has reaffirmed the need for continued support and assistance for their endeavours, particularly in their efforts to achieve the internationally agreed development goals.

NAM has reaffirmed the special needs of and challenges faced by the landlocked developing countries caused by their lack of territorial access to the sea, aggravated by the remoteness from world markets and also shares concern that the economic growth and social well-being of land-locked developing countries remain very vulnerable to external shocks as well as the multiple challenges the international community faces including the financial and economic crisis and climate changes.

In this context, NAM has recognised the importance of the Vienna Program of Action for LLDCs, a holistic document centred upon addressing the challenges faced by landlocked countries, aims to contribute to the eradication of poverty stemming from their landlockedness, through the implementation of specific actions in the priority areas of the renowned document. The Vienna Programme of Action for Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs) for the Decade 2014-2024 was adopted at the Second United Nations Conference on LLDCs held in November 2014.

The specific goals and objectives of the Vienna Program of Action are: a) To promote unfettered, efficient and cost-effective access to and from the sea by all modes of transport, on the basis of freedom of transit, and other related measures, in accordance with applicable rules of international law; b) To reduce trade transaction costs and transport costs and improve international trade services through simplification and standardization of rules and regulations, so as to increase the competitiveness of exports of landlocked developing countries and reduce the costs of imports, thereby contributing to the promotion of rapid and inclusive economic development; c) To develop adequate transit transport infrastructure networks and complete missing links connecting landlocked developing countries; d) To effectively implement bilateral, regional and international legal instruments and strengthen regional integration; e) To promote growth and increased participation in global trade, through structural economic transformation related to enhanced productive capacity development, value addition, diversification and reduction of dependency on commodities; f) To enhance and strengthen international support for landlocked developing countries to address the needs and challenges arising from landlockedness in order to eradicate poverty and promote sustainable development. To achieve these specific goals and objectives, priority action areas are defined as follows: Fundamental transit policy issues; Development and maintenance of transport, energy and information and communications technology infrastructure; International trade and trade facilitation; Regional integration and cooperation; Structural economic transformation; and Means of implementation. The Vienna Program of Action invites Member States, in particular, the LLDCs and transit countries to mainstream the program into their national and sectoral development strategies.

NAM has encouraged the United Nations system organizations, including the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the United Nations Development Programme, the regional commissions and relevant international and regional organizations, within their respective mandates, to provide necessary support to landlocked developing countries and actively contribute to the preparatory review process for the Midterm Review of the Vienna Programme of Action for the Landlocked Developing Countries.

The midterm review analyzed the status of implementation of the Vienna Programme and shared best practices and lessons learnt, identify remaining obstacles and constraints encountered and the actions needed to accelerate the implementation of the Programme.

The Midterm Review took place in December 2019 and witnessed the active participation of NAM Member States. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande (Nigeria), President of the General Assembly during the Midterm Review, said that implementing the Vienna Programme of Action “is critical as we enter the decade of action and delivery” and urged Member States to support landlocked developing countries and to collaborate with partners, including the private sector and civil society.

Photo Credit : UN-OHRILLS