UNGA 61st session
Agenda item 56: Groups of countries in special situations:
(b) Specific actions related to the particular needs and problems of LLDCs:
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
STATEMENT BY MR. PUREVJAV GANSUKH,
DEPARTMENT OF MULTILATERAL COOPERATION
MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF MONGOLIA
8 November 2006
Since it is the first time that I am taking the floor in this Committee, may I extend our warm felicitations to you, Madam Chair, and to other members of the Bureau on your election and I pledge our support in discharging your duties.
I would also like to align myself with the statements made earlier by the representatives of South Africa on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic on behalf of the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries.
My delegation wishes to express its sincere appreciation to the Office of the High Representative for its sustained commitment, and reiterate its strong support to the Office’s efforts to ensure the full implementation of the Almaty Program of Action.
Almost two months ago the Heads of State or Government of the Land-locked Developing Countries gathered in Havana for their first-ever Summit Meeting, which was a serious demonstration of their resolute stance to collectively address the specific needs and complex challenges which they are facing today. It should be noted that the Heads of State or Government of LLDCs committed themselves in their Declaration to establish genuine partnerships with the transit developing countries and their development partners at the national, bilateral, sub-regional, regional and global levels, aimed at attaining the objectives of the Almaty Program of Action. They also emphasized the need to establish dialogue between governments and business communities, in order to promote active involvement of the private sector in the process of implementation of the Almaty Program of Action.
It goes without saying that trade is essential for LLDCs to generate resources for financing their growth and development. One of the main objectives of the Almaty Program of Action is to facilitate the progressive participation of LLDCs in the international trading system. Greater market access for LLDCs would undoubtedly reduce the disadvantages caused by natural and market-induced handicaps. Unfortunately, most LLDCs, having limited number of export products, are extremely vulnerable to their price fluctuation at world market. As the High Representative pointed out in his statement the cost of customs procedures and transport represents the greatest cost in external trade and is higher than tariffs for goods from LLDCs. Moreover, customs and other border crossing procedures accounted for 75 percent of total delays. Therefore, the LLDCs Summit called on the international community to give special consideration to these unique and very difficult problems confronted by LLDCs in the WTO trade negotiations on trade facilitation.
It should be noted that short-term improvements in market access alone can not lift the permanent burden of landlockedness. Market access measures can only be effective if complemented by sustained efforts to improve the productive capacity of LLDCs. In addition, the trade negotiating capacity of LLDCs should be strengthened through significant increase in funds and technical assistance. Therefore, the international community is called on to meet their commitment to help LLDCs in addressing their special needs by increasing market access for their exports and enhancing their export capabilities.
Development of transport infrastructure is another priority for LLDCs. Since most of LLDCs are in great need of financial and technical assistance for the construction, maintenance and improvement of their transport and transit-related facilities, support and cooperative efforts should be further expanded and strengthened at the bilateral, regional and international levels. In this regard, I wish to emphasize the efforts made by the UN regional commissions, in particular by UNESCAP. As is known, the Intergovernmental Agreement on the Asian Highway Network was signed in 2004 which covers 140.000 kilometers of highways extending to 32 countries of the region, including 12 LLDCs. Furthermore, the Intergovernmental Agreement on Trans-Asian Railway Network will be signed soon in Pusan.
As a landlocked developing country, Mongolia makes every effort to actively cooperate and promote the special interests of LLDCs at international fora. It attaches particular importance to the outcomes of the International Ministerial Meeting on Transit Transport Cooperation in Almaty (2003), Trade Ministers Meeting in Asuncion and Hong Kong (2005), Havana Summit of LLDCs and strives towards translating them into tangible progress. Mongolia has been an active proponent of launching trade facilitation negotiations within the Doha Round of the multilateral trade negotiations.
We will continue to cooperate with other LLDCs and our development partners in order to bring our endeavors to a success. As a concrete step, Mongolia has offered to host in Ulaanbaatar the next Meeting of our Trade Ministers in 2007. We believe that it will provide yet another opportunity for LLDCs and their development partners to promote their cooperation in achieving the MDGs and implementing the Almaty Program of Action. We are confident that this Meeting will also make its contribution to the mid-term review to be conducted in 2008 to assess the progress made and to chart out further strategies to achieve the full implementation of the Almaty Program of Action.
We believe that transit transportation should be facilitated through a fully-fledged international mechanism based on a multilateral agreement. While such an international mechanism is to gain the foothold at the global arena, Mongolia is endeavoring to complete a trilateral Framework Agreement on Transit Transportation with the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation which shall become an effective engine of transit traffic through the world’s largest land transport corridor. We view that the experience and agreement secured as a result of this process could be referred to in building the multilateral mechanism mentioned above.
Finally, in order to maximize the efficiency of our coordinated efforts to meet the specific needs and particular interests of LLDCs, we need to have an excellent analytical capacity. In this respect, I wish to bring to your attention the idea put forward by the President of Mongolia in his statement at the Havana Summit about establishing an international think-tank that would help us to build optimal strategies on any matter of common interest. My delegation believes that this idea will be taken into consideration by LLDCs, as well as our development partners.
Thank you for your attention.