Helen Clark: Speech to the Fifteenth Annual Meeting of Foreign Affairs Ministers of Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs)

It is an honour to join this Fifteenth Annual Meeting of Foreign Ministers of Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs), and to discuss the links between the Vienna Programme of Action (VPOA) and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

These two agendas are both intended to deliver inclusive and sustainable development. Both prioritize developing infrastructure for industrialization and energy production. They both call on countries to increase their resilience to external shocks, and to build strong institutional capacity and governance for development. Both agendas also urge the building of new and stronger partnerships, technology transfer, support for capacity building, and improving data collection and accountability for results.

To drive the implementation of the VPOA and the 2030 Agenda at the country level, UNDP believes four strategic actions are needed.

First, it is important to complete the mainstreaming of the VPOA into national agendas, and to accelerate the integration of the SDGs into national plans, strategies and budgets.

Second, greater international support should be mobilized for LLDCs to enable them to achieve the objectives of both agendas. LLDCs should also focus their own financial and technical resources around making progress on both agendas and on their national development plans simultaneously, and on building common data platforms and monitoring mechanisms.

Third, harmonizing reporting systems for the two agendas will reduce the transaction costs of preparing multiple reports, and ensure that public sector capacity can focus on implementation.

Fourth, meeting the special needs of LLDCs will require continued strong national leadership, dedicated support from national and international partners, and sufficient resources. If we all commit to play our parts, then there are many opportunities for LLDCs to make progress on achieving both the VPOA and the SDGs.

Supporting LLDCs on the implementation of the two agendas is a high priority for UNDP. We are present in all 32 Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs).

We have been supporting the mainstreaming of the VPOA into national development plans since 2014. For example:

o On transit policy: UNDP with financial support from the European Union, has worked with the customs and border authorities on integrated border management between Azerbaijan and Georgia. The result is less waiting time spent by vehicles and passengers as they now pass through the streamlined land border controls.

o On infrastructure development and maintenance: UNDP helped the Government of Azerbaijan to prepare the groundwork for the Trans-Eurasian Information Super Highway Project which aims to connect over twenty Eastern European and Central Asian countries with high-speed fibre optic internet.

o International trade and trade facilitation: In 2015, in partnership with the Enhanced Integrated Framework for Aid for Trade , UNDP provided support to South Sudan to access funding from the EIF Trust Fund for a project to strengthen the institutional capacity of the Ministry in charge of trade. UNDP also helped Malawi undertake an assessment of its Trade, Industry and Private Sector Wide Approach (TIPSWAP) Secretariat, and formulated a capacity development plan for its institutional strengthening.

o Regional integration and cooperation: Through its Istanbul International Policy Center for Private Sector Development, UNDP supported the signing of a Tripartite MoU on establishing the Afghanistan-Kyrgyzstan-Tajikistan (AKT) regional agro-food industry consortium.

o Means of implementation: UNDP is strengthening its contribution to South-South and Triangular Co-operation to support LLDCs. An example: a number of exchange visits were arranged between Tajikistan and Turkey to share Turkey’s experience with WTO membership, and with the amendment of legislation on Free Economic Zones. UNDP also provides support to the International Think-tank for LLDCs (ITT).

For the SDGs, the UN Development Group as a whole is rolling out its Mainstreaming, Acceleration and Policy Support (MAPS) framework . MAPS is aimed at supporting countries, at their request, to adapt the SDGs to national and local contexts, to speed up progress on priority areas, and to provide strategic and joined up policy support. The analytical tools and methodologies being developed for SDG implementation can also be used to drive coherence between the VPOA and the SDGs.

Please count on UNDP to continue to be a strong advocate for the needs of the more than 489 million people living in LLDCs being recognized in all global agendas. UNDP also stands ready to work with friends of the LLDCs to develop a monitoring framework for coherent implementation and progress monitoring of VPOA and the 2030 Agenda. I wish you a productive meeting.

Source: UNDP