[Dateline: New York | Author: UN-OHRLLS]
A two-day United Nations High-Level Meeting to consider the mid-term progress and challenges in the implementation of the Almaty Programme of Action for Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs) is drawing to an end in New York today.
Speaking at the opening of the meeting on Thursday, the Secretary-General said that there's been some encouraging progress with many countries improving transit transport policies making it easier for landlocked developing countries to use neighbouring countries' ports and roads (SG remarks).
The Secretary-General, however, added that too many of the 31 LLDCs are not on track to meet the Millennium Development Goals.
"Much more now needs to be done in the area of infrastructure development. Roads and railways remain inadequate. Many ports are using obsolete cargo handling equipment. We need to mobilize more international support in order to improve infrastructure," he said.
At a special press briefing on Thursday, Cheick Sidi Diarra, the Special Advisor on Africa and UN High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS) reported that regional and sub regional collaboration has been one of the success stories of the implementation process but noted that "the high cost of international trade continues to hinder LLDC trade and economic development".
"It is increasingly recognized that high transit costs pose a more important barrier than tariffs for landlocked developing countries," Under-Secretary-General Diarra said.
The meeting gathered some 200 participants. Member States shared their experiences of dealing with transit problems, including inadequate infrastructure, trade imbalances, inefficient transport organization, and weak managerial, procedural, regulatory and institutional systems.
A round-table organized by UN-OHRLLS will take place on 3 October under the theme "Regional Dimension of Transit Transport Cooperation". Participants are expected to focus on concrete measures to improve cooperation between LLDCs and their neighbours.
The Almaty Programme of Action was adopted five years ago in Almaty, Kazakhstan, at the International Ministerial Conference of Landlocked and Transit Developing Countries, Donor Countries, International Financial and Development Institutions on Transit Transport Cooperation.
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