UNGA 60th session
Agenda item 55: Groups of countries in special situations:
(b) Specific actions relating to the particular needs and problems of landlocked developing countries: outcome of the International Ministerial Conference of Landlocked and Transit Developing Countries and Donor Countries and International Financial and Development Institutions on Transit Transport Cooperation.
Ms. OCHIR ENKHTSETSEG, DIRECTOR-GENERAL
DEPARTMENT OF MULTILATERAL COOPERATION
MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF MONGOLIA
10 November 2005
Let me begin by expressing my delegation’s high appreciation of the concerted efforts and the work done by Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury, High Representative of the Secretary-General and his Office towards ensuring the full and effective implementation of the Almaty Program of Action addressing the special needs of landlocked developing countries (LLDCs). We also thank the High Representative for his lucid introduction of the agenda items under consideration.
My delegation associates itself with the statements made by the distinguished representative of Jamaica on behalf of the Group of 77 and by the distinguished representative of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic on behalf of the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries.
The challenges faced by LLDCs are, indeed, manifold. They arise from the lack of territorial access to the sea, remoteness and isolation from world markets, dependence on transit services and policies of their transit neighbors, prohibitive transit costs, long customs and administrative delays at additional border crossings and ports coupled with cumbersome procedures which all add up to high trade transaction costs that significantly erode competitiveness of LLDCs thus further marginalizing them in multilateral trade. Over the recent past these special problems faced by LLDCs and the urgency to take appropriate action have been widely recognized at a number of important international conferences, including through adoption of the Almaty Program of Action, Sao Paolo Consensus by the UNCTAD XI and the Asuncion Platform for the Doha Development Round.
The priority areas of action to address the special needs of LLDCs include as establishment of efficient transit transport systems; infrastructure development and maintenance; international trade and trade facilitation and international support activities.
The Almaty Program of Action (para.11) called for landlocked and transit developing countries to review and revise their regulatory frameworks; to increase transparency of transit and border regulations; to establish streamlined administrative procedures and to further simplify border control and procedures. It also underscored the importance of regional and sub-regional collaborative efforts in developing efficient transit transport systems.
With a view to promoting a comprehensive sub-regional agreement designed to harmonize transit regulations, and establishing an adequate institutional support and monitoring Mongolia has initiated a Tripartite Framework Agreement on Transit Transportation with its two neighbors, Russia and China. The agreement, once concluded, will provide a legal framework for efficient transit systems to and through Mongolia by allowing freedom of transit by all modes of transport and promoting simplification, harmonization and standardization of customs, administrative procedures and documentation.
Six rounds of talks held in the past were mostly inconclusive but we remain hopeful that with the renewed commitment of our leaders to the Almaty Declaration and Plan of Action as envisaged in the September Summit Outcome, the agreement will be finalized preferably at the next tripartite meeting starting next week in Ulaanbaatar. In this regard, my delegation wishes to express its high appreciation to our multilateral partners, particularly UNCTAD, High Representative’s Office and UNDP for their support in moving forward this agreement toward its expected conclusion. Their technical expertise and support will be most needed now in developing and finalizing the technical annexes as an integral part of the Framework Agreement.
As identified in the Almaty Program of Action inadequate infrastructure represents a major obstacle to establishing efficient transit transport system. Mongolia, for one, identified infrastructure development as a priority of its Government’s Program of Action. The construction of an east-west arterial road and five vertical roads has begun in 2001 within the framework of the major “Rural Road Development Project” with the support of our bilateral and multilateral development partners. It is expected that the route AH-3, which links our two neighbors through the territory of Mongolia, will be completed by 2008. Mongolia also ratified in April 2004 the landmark Intergovernmental Agreement on the Asian Highway Network designed to complete 141,000 km of standardized roadways spanning through 32 Asian countries with linkages to Europe.
Addressing the need to develop an adequate infrastructure will undoubtedly involve considerable investment not only from national resources but it will also require international development assistance, public-private partnerships as well as capacity-building and institutional and policy reform.
The Asuncion Platform for Doha Development Round, adopted at the Meeting of Trade Ministers of LLDCs in Paraguay last August, encapsulates their common stand on the priority issues in the lead up to the WTO Ministerial Conference in Hong Kong, China next month. Mongolia, as a WTO member, is actively engaged with other fellow members and partners in trade facilitation talks, including on those issues related to cost implications, technical assistance and special and differential treatment. My delegation remains hopeful that the WTO member states will pay particular attention to the special needs of the LLDCs so that to facilitate their fuller integration into the multilateral trading system and make the Doha process a genuinely development round.
My delegation fully endorses the interrelatedness underscored in Secretary-General’s report (A/60/287) between the implementation of the Almaty Program of Action and achieving MDGs. Under Mongolia’s MDG 8 on developing global partnership for development, a specific target (16) is identified to address our special development needs arising from this geographical handicap in collaboration with our multilateral development partners.
In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, my delegation wishes to emphasize the importance of synergy and coordination of technical assistance and support of the organizations of UN system and other relevant institutions and bilateral partners in helping ease the development challenges facing the LLDCs. In this regard, efforts ought to be redoubled to implement the specific activities envisaged in the road map for the implementation of the Almaty Program of Action and those identified in the joint communique adopted at the High-level Meeting held last March. My Government, for its part, stands committed to make its own contribution towards this end.
Thank you for your attention.