The 6th Inter Agency Consultative Group (IACG) Meeting on the Implementation of the Almaty Programme of Action (APoA) was held on 2 November 2010 in New York. It was organized by the United Nations Office of the High-Representative for Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (OHRLLS). The aim of the meeting was to consult and share information on activities that the agencies are undertaking to advance the implementation of the Almaty Programme of Action and identify areas where collaboration can be fostered. The Meeting recalled that the Almaty Programme of Action aims to address the geographical challenges of the Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs) and ensure their effective integration into the global economy through the implementation of specific actions in the five priority areas of fundamental transit policy issues, infrastructure development and maintenance, international trade and trade facilitation, international support measures and implementation and review.

Participants noted that some progress has been made in implementing the APoA by the LLDCs, transit countries, the agencies and other stakeholders. Landlocked and transit developing countries had made progress in implementing important policy reforms to remove physical and non-physical barriers to the effective participation in international trade. With support from partners they had made some improvements in the transport, communication and energy infrastructure and in streamlining and harmonizing border facilities and procedures to increase efficiency and reduce delays. The meeting also noted that the LLDC group as a whole had also made remarkable progress on some of the MDGs since the start of the APoA, however further work was required to address poverty, sanitation and maternal mortality.

The Meeting noted that despite the notable progress made, LLDCs were still confronted with some challenges that include vulnerability to external shocks such as financial and economic crisis, limited productive capacities, diversification of their economic base and lack of competitiveness, missing links in the transit transport infrastructure, inadequate supportive telecommunication and energy infrastructure, rising food costs and climate change. They emphasized that it was crucial to harness their resources to assist LLDCs address issues that fall within their mandates. They indicated that improved international support measures such as enhanced ODA, well targeted foreign direct investment (FDI) and a special support package to support climate change mitigation and adaptation in LLDCs are crucial to accelerating the progress in the implementation of the APoA. They also stressed that the timely and effective conclusion of the WTO Doha Round was of high importance to the LLDCs, in particular in the area of trade facilitation.

Participants agreed on the following points as the way forward: Coordinated support to strengthen the analytical capacities and negotiation skills of LLDCs on trade facilitation; Enhancing coordination of the work on indicator or measurement of transport costs for LLDCs; Continued enhanced support to the legal framework to support the Trans African Highway; Development of a compendium of who does what for LLDCs which can provide details of what each agency is doing; Supporting and collaborating with the LLDC International Think Tank; and Development and dissemination of a list of recent studies and publications relevant to LLDCs.

 

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