A New Vision for Land Locked Development Countries

ESCAP works to mobilize regional efforts to address poverty reduction and other socioeconomic concerns of countries with special needs, Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Land-Locked Developing Countries (LLDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS), enabling greater integration into economic growth in the region.

Least developed countries are characterized by constraints such as low per capita income, low level of human development, and economic and structural handicaps to growth that limit resilience to vulnerabilities. To address this, ESCAP convened the Asia-Pacific regional meeting on the implementation of the Istanbul Programme of Action (IPoA) for LDCs in December 2012 in collaboration with the Royal Government of Cambodia. This event helped identify and address major gaps in implementing the IPoA, including in the areas of human and social development and financial resources mobilization.

With 12 out of 31 LLDCs in the Asia-Pacific region, ESCAP has played a critical role in supporting the Almaty Programme of Action (APoA) since its adoption in 2003. To help transform LLDCs into ‘landlinked’ countries, ESCAP convened the Final Regional Review of the APoA in March 2013 in collaboration with UNOHRLLS, UNECE and the Government of Lao PDR. The final review identified policy recommendations and actions needed for LLDCs to fully participate in global trade, while sending the clear message that LLDCs are land-rich, land-linked and can be key landbridges in the region with the potential to be key hubs in regional cooperation and integration.

The outcome of this consultation, known as the Vientiane Consensus, will be placed at the Special Body on LDCs and LLDCs during ESCAP's 69th Commission Session, before being transmitted as this region's contribution at the global final review in 2014. The Vientiane Consensus goes beyond the trade-transport issues; it calls for a new vision in which landlocked countries no longer see themselves as victims of history, geography and external environment. They now realize that they can become landlinked hubs for promoting regional cooperation and integration.

At the same time, ESCAP is working with the Pacific SIDS on the global review of the Mauritius Strategy, also due in 2014.