STATEMENT BY

H.E. AMBASSADOR RASTAM MOHD ISA
PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF MALAYSIA TO THE UNITED NATIONS
ON BEHALF OF THE NON-ALIGNED MOVEMENT

AT

THE FOURTH ANNUAL MINISTERIAL MEETING OF 
THE GROUP OF LANDLOCKED DEVELOPING COUNTRIES

TUESDAY, 30 SEPTEMBER 2003

Mr. Chairman,
Excellencies,
Distinguished delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen, 

It is indeed an honour and a privilege for me to address this important Fourth Annual Ministerial Meeting of the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries in my capacity as the Chair of the Non-Aligned Movement Coordinating Bureau.  I would like to thank His Excellency Alounkeo Kittikhoun, Permanent  Representative of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Chairman of the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries for extending this invitation to me. 

2.         The LLDCs are listed as among the most vulnerable countries of the world.   Indeed, out of the 31 countries which constitute the Group of LLDCs, 16 of them are also classified as being least developed.  Their difficulties are caused by factors such as lack of territorial access to sea ports, geographical isolation and remoteness from world markets with the accompanying high transit costs, poor infrastructure, maintenance problems and inadequate institutional environments.  In addition, they are also solely dependent on a very limited number of commodities for their export earnings. It is clear that the support of the international community is essential if these impediments are to be overcome. The Non-Aligned Movement is fully aware that 18 out of the 31 LLDCs are members of the Movement.   

3.         I would like to reiterate on this occasion the support given by NAM to the Landlocked Developing Countries as clearly stated at the XIII Summit of Heads of State or Government of the Non-Aligned Movement held in Kuala Lumpur in February 2003.  At the Summit the leaders of NAM has reiterated their call on the international community to give special attention and support to the special development problems and needs of these countries, in particular through technical cooperation with, and financial assistance by developed countries and multilateral financial institutions, to enable these countries to effectively participate in a rapidly globalising world economy.  The Heads of States and Governments of the NAM had also similarly noted that transit developing countries face serious economic problems and that their efforts at developing a viable transit infrastructure also require financial and technical assistance from the international community.  The Heads of States and Governments of the Movement also noted that in some cases regional integration and cooperation efforts have provided additional solutions to the specific problems confronting Landlocked Developing Countries. 

Mr. Chairman,  

4.         I should also like to inform this meeting that the NAM Ministers of Foreign Affairs held their meeting in New York last Friday, 26 September 2003.  They adopted a Declaration.  I have the honour to read to you the text of that relevant paragraph in the Declaration, as follows:- 

“We welcome the International Ministerial Conference of Landlocked and Transit Developing Countries and Donor Countries and International Financial and Development Institutions on Transit Transport Cooperation held in Almaty from 28 to 29 August 2003.  We express our strong support for the implementation of the Almaty Programme of Action aimed at addressing the special needs of landlocked developing countries and establishing a new global framework for action for developing efficient transit transport systems in landlocked and transit developing countries, taking into account the interests of both landlocked and transit developing countries”.

Mr. Chairman, 

5.         It is worthy to note that the United Nations has established the Barbados Programme of Action for the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and the Brussels Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs).  It is timely that the Almaty Programme of Action has now been adopted to address the problems of the landlocked developing countries.  

6.         It should be recalled that through the adoption of the Millennium Declaration, the Member States of the United Nations have reaffirmed their commitment to the landlocked developing countries by calling on both bilateral and multilateral donors to increase financial and technical assistance to landlocked developing countries to meet their special development needs and also to assist them in improving their transit transport systems.  Everyone of us should be obliged to ensure the success of the implementation of the Almaty Programme of Action.  It is essential that the international community, especially those who have the means, to do all within their power to ensure the full implementation of these targets.  

7.         On behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, I extend the Movement’s support and wish you success in your deliberations.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


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