5 October 2017 – Strengthening collaboration to support world’s 32 landlocked developing countries

NEW YORK, 5 October 2017 – The United Nations Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS) and the International Road Transport Union (IRU) renewed their working relationship today with the signing of a memorandum of understanding to draw on their respective strengths in jointly supporting landlocked developing countries to implement the Vienna Programme of Action.

Through the MoU, the two entities will advocate for key issues related to transit transport. These include: improving border crossings, developing regional transport corridors, private sector partnerships and trade facilitation for the world’s 32 landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) and their transit partners. Furthermore, the two organisations will assist LLDCs and transit neighbours to improve transit transport operations. Joint action-oriented projects are also envisioned under the MoU, with the view of assisting LLDCs in implementing the Vienna Programme of Action and the Sustainable Development Goals.

“The UN-OHRLLS and IRU have had a long and productive collaboration through our common goal of supporting landlocked developing countries to reach their fullest potential,” said Fekitamoeloa ‘Utoikamanu, Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States. “With this MoU, we are continuing to strengthen our joint activities and ensure that there is greater coherence in our collective efforts to raise awareness of the special needs and challenges these countries face at the national, regional and global levels.”

Recent collaboration between UN-OHRLLS and IRU includes a High-Level Meeting for the Euro-Asia Region on Improving Cooperation on Transit, Trade Facilitation and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development held in March 2017 in Viet Nam, which was co-organized by UN-OHRLLS and the Government of Viet Nam, with IRU’s support.

Secretary General of IRU, Umberto de Pretto said, “The upgrading of the MoU between IRU and UNOHRLLS underscores a mutual recognition that TIR has immense potential to transform LLDCs from ‘landlocked to land-linked’ countries.  We are seizing the opportunity to enhance our long history of cooperation, with a more dynamic framework to meet the transport related targets of the UN SDG indicators with the promotion of TIR, and the professionalisation and digitalisation of road transport in these countries – ultimately to facilitate trade and boost prosperity.”

Landlocked developing countries are categorised as such due to their lack of direct access to the sea and remoteness from major markets. They also have small populations and equally small markets and face structural challenges, infrastructure deficiencies and productivity constraints. The international community adopted the Vienna Programme of Action for the Landlocked Developing Countries in 2014 to address the special needs of the LLDCs.