Statement by representative of Kazakhstan Baurzhan Kerimkulov on behalf of the Group of the Landlocked developing countries at the meeting of the Second Committee of the United Nations General Assembly on the Agenda item 23 (a) and (b): LDCs and LLDCs
New York, 7 October 2021
I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries.
The Group of LLDCs would like to thank the Under-Secretary-General and High Representative and UN-OHRLLS team for introducing the reports of the Secretary-General on the implementation of the Fourth UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries as well as the Second UN Conference on LLDCs. We would also like to extend appreciation to the High representative and his Office for the support provided towards the implementation of the Vienna Programme of Action and the continued commitment to the needs of the LLDCs.
This year is a very important year for LDCs, as it is the preparatory year to Doha and LDC V. Half of LLDCs are also LDCs. Therefore, it is also important to underscore that while helping LDCs to graduate from their status, we need to keep in mind that one third of this big group of countries will still encounter the challenges of landlockedness after the graduation.
We strongly believe that it is only then through the joint settling the challenges of LDCs and LLDCs we can enable both groups of countries to achieve Agenda 2030 as many of our issues are common, interconnected and transboundary. Thus, our Group stands ready to comprehensively participate in the Fifth UN Conference on LDCs to be held next January in Qatar.
For LLDCs this year is also crucial as we are starting the process of preparations to the third UN Conference on LLDCs to be held in 2024. As the Vienna Programme of Action enters its final years, I would also like to take this opportunity to call for the start of preparations for the third United Nations conference on LLDCs. The third United Nations conference on LLDCs will be extremely important for stocktaking on the long-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on LLDCs, and kickstart a new phase for their development with a focus on technologies of the future and the aspirations of young people.
The Report of the Secretary-General indicates significant slowdown in progress towards the VPoA due to the COVID-19 pandemic and in some areas, even a reversal. The disproportionate negative effects of the pandemic on LLDCs due to their remoteness necessitates prioritizing them as a group in the recovery phase.
The Ministers of Foreign Affairs of LLDCs met on September 23rd and discussed key issues related to LLDCs. These included, in particular: progress towards the implementation of the Vienna Programme of Action as well as its Roadmap for Accelerated Implementation of the VPoA, headway towards the 2030 sustainable development agenda, access to vaccines and debt relief. We are confident that the enhanced coordination of the Roadmap´s implementation will help avoid duplication of efforts and help ensure delivery of concrete practical results on the ground in the LLDCs. In addition, key concerns and ambitions of members of the LLDC group were captured in the forward-looking Ministerial Declaration.
Some of them include:
Enhanced international cooperation for meeting the immediate needs of LLDCs to fight the pandemic and assuage its socioeconomic costs, as well as building their long-term resilience and economic dynamism is critical. The Group of LLDCs calls upon development partners and the international community to mobilize additional development finance, from all sources, including ODA, capacity building, enhanced crisis response mechanisms, private finance and bolder debt relief actions, for the attainment of these objectives.
Improving LLDCs’ connectivity is a prerequisite for them to become fully integrated in regional and global value chains and make meaningful progress towards the Vienna Programme of Action and the Sustainable Development Goals. This is only possible through higher levels of investments in quality, affordable, reliable and resilient infrastructure, including ICT, transport and energy. We, therefore, call for deeper international support for our efforts to develop sustainable infrastructure in order to strengthen our regional and global connectivity.
The Group recognizes the importance of LLDCs and transit countries working together to ensure smooth functioning at borders and in transit to facilitate the flow of trade. The pandemic exposed LLDCs’ geographical vulnerabilities as the transportation of even essential goods slowed down due to border restrictions. We call on our development partners to step up mechanisms supportive of LLDCs’ efforts to strengthen transit and trade facilitation and build trade and supply-side capacity, such as through Aid for Trade, increased market access and technical and capacity building assistance.
The COVID-19 crisis has heightened the importance of digital technologies, not only in trade and transport, but also in increasing access to health care, education and e-commerce. LLDCs have been unable to capitalize on opportunities presented by the growing digitalization of economic activities.
Looking ahead, LLDCs need particular support for building productive capacities, increasing participation in global and regional value chains, and embracing digitalization and automation. LLDCs despite having very low shares of greenhouse gas emissions are amongst the worst affected countries by climate change. We, therefore, also call for greater assistance to our efforts to address the impacts of climate change, desertification, land degradation, biodiversity loss and natural disasters.
In conclusion, let me reiterate the critical need to continue to act collectively to garner greater international support for our efforts to achieve sustainable development and to build back better in these difficult times.
On behalf of the LLDC Group, let me assure you of our support in the upcoming deliberations of the Second Committee and of our commitment towards achievement of the goals of the Vienna Programme of Action and the SDGs, in the spirit of effective, genuine and durable multi-stakeholder partnerships at all levels.
I thank you.