Excellencies, Distinguished delegates, Ladies and gentlemen,
It is my honour to address this Group of LLDC’s 20th Annual Meeting of Foreign Ministers.
As we address the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, along with the climate emergencies, I wish to highlight four key actions points for your consideration.
Firstly, transport infrastructure should be integrated, sustainable, climate and disaster-resilient across the 12 Asian LLDCs.
Our work has been focusing on how to enhance the facilitation and efficient functioning of cross-border logistics and transit transport systems while taking actions on the commercialization of railway corridors, effective economic and infrastructure corridor management.
National policies on sustainable freight transport, risk-informed infrastructure planning and adoption of smart mobility for addressing traffic issues are some key policy directions of our engagement.
Secondly, trade facilitation initiatives could anchor around the Framework Agreement on Facilitation of Cross-Border Paperless Trade in Asia and the Pacific.
In this regard, we are scaling up work to prepare the readiness assessments for Cross-Border Paperless Trade and developing and improving Trade Intelligence and Negotiation Advisor to support LLDCs in negotiating trade agreements for regional cooperation and integration.
Assisting landlocked LDCs in estimating the impact of LDC graduation on trade, especially with the view to leading up to the 5th LDCs conference in Doha in 2022, has been a key part of the work programme.
Thirdly, digital connectivity and the application of technology-driven and ICT solutions are essential drivers of the Asia-Pacific Information Superhighway.
Since our dialogue in 2020, we have been working with member States to harness e-resilience readiness of digital networks, ensure ICT infrastructure co-deployment, create an enabling e-commerce environment, and focus on digital adaptation and finance.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that technology cooperation and digital solutions could enable governments to implement e-health, online education and social protection schemes; LLDCs are no different.
Lastly, sustainable development financing should be enhanced through focusing on Integrated National Financing Framework, financial inclusion, green finance and sustainable bonds.
Recover better from this unprecedented crisis requires solidarity, a shared vision, and a common agenda for LLDCs.
ESCAP stands ready to continue and deepen strategic partnerships with regional and subregional organisations and frameworks such as the United Nations Special Programme for the Economies of Central Asia (SPECA) to accelerate progress towards the SDG across the Asian LLDCs.
I commend your commitment and leadership.
I wish you a very successful meeting and ministerial outcome.
Thank you very much.