REMARKS BY

ANWARUL K. CHOWDHURY
UNDER-SECRETARY GENERAL
AND HIGH REPRESENTATIVE FOR
THE LEAST DEVELOPED COUNTRIES,
LANDLOCKED DEVELOPING COUNTRIES
AND SMALL ISLAND DEVELOPING STATES

AT THE

MEETING OF THE GROUP OF LANDLOCKED DEVELOPING COUNTRIES (LLDCs) AT THE AMBASSADORIAL LEVEL
ON
THE STATUS OF PREPARATIONS FOR THE
INTERNATIONAL MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE

4 DECEMBER 2002

 

  • The General Assembly resolution on the preparatory processes for the International Ministerial Conference was adopted in the Second Committee on 20 November 2002 (A/C.2/57/L.32). As you know, I have been designated by the General Assembly in the above resolution as the Secretary-General of the Conference. Let me assure you that I will spare no efforts and time to make the Conference a success. The main difference of this Conference is that its preparatory process will be based on the existing intergovernmental mechanism at the sub-regional and regional levels as well as on substantive inputs from the major stakeholders such as UNCTAD, the Regional Commissions and the World Bank. It necessitates visible and efficient coordination and mobilization of UN specialized agencies and other relevant international organizations.

  • My Office has already started interdepartmental consultations on the organizational and substantive aspects of the Ministerial Conference. In this context, we had extensive discussions with the Department of Public Information on the issues related to launching a public information campaign for the Conference. The DPI will assist us in launching a public information campaign including conference brochures with signature design, press kits, “UN in action” a television segment to be aired on CNN World Report. We are planning to have interdepartmental consultations with the Department of Public Information, the Department of General Assembly and Conference Management and the Office of Legal Affairs.

  • Consultations are also well underway with the World Bank and UNCTAD, as well as the Regional Commissions. Indeed, I have addressed the Heads of the Regional Commissions, UNCTAD and the World Bank with a letter on substantive and organizational aspects of the regional and global level preparatory process. The World Bank, UNCTAD, ECA and ESCAP have already designated focal points for the International Ministerial Conference. In our turn, I have designated Mr. Erdenebileg as the Executive Coordinator of the Conference who is maintaining regular contacts with the focal points in the above organizations on my behalf.

  • The World Bank will organize in Washington, D.C., the Transport Forum on
    21–22 January 2003, which will involve more than 150 leading experts in the transport area. I have been invited to make a keynote presentation at the Forum.
    I will speak on the initiatives of the UN in favour of the LLDC, including the MDGs and the Ministerial Conference. The forum will provide us with a unique opportunity to exchange views on the outcome of the Conference as well as the involvement of the World Bank in the process.

  • Recently my Office also attended the UNCTAD Experts Meeting on Transport and Trade Facilitation. We made a presentation on the International Ministerial Conference and circulated the relevant documents, including the Report of the Inter-agency Meeting, which I convened in June this year on the preparations for the Ministerial Conference.

  • I have been continuing my efforts to mobilize voluntary contributions for the Ministerial Conference. In this context, the Secretary-General of the United Nations has already established a Trust Fund for the preparatory process for the Ministerial Conference and its follow-up activities. I have received some positive responses from donors. In particular, I wish to thank the Government of Italy and the Special Unit for TCDC of the UNDP for their financial support. Also, I am pleased to inform you that I have been closely consulting with the Government of Japan and EC, who are favourably considering to provide financial support to the Ministerial Conference and its preparations. I am planning to meet with a number of potential donor countries and international organizations to continue the efforts that I am making on behalf of the Secretary-General, along with the Secretary-General of UNCTAD.

  • The substantive preparations have already started. The World Bank will prepare a research paper on physical, policy and institutional barriers in LLDCs and the survey of strategies for enabling cross-border investments in infrastructure in LLDCs. UNCTAD will commission studies on transit problems of LLDCs from three main angles, namely transit facilitation, trade expansion and investment promotion. It will also prepare studies on transit transport systems in different sub-regions.

  • The OHRLLS will prepare: (i) a comprehensive publication on overall socio-economic development trend in landlocked developing countries and transit transport systems in landlocked and transit developing countries as a major substantive contribution of the OHRLLS to the Conference; (ii) the report of the Secretary-General to the first session of the preparatory committee on the outcome of the regional level preparations; (iii) the report of the Secretary-General on transit transport environment in Central Asian Landlocked States and their transit neighbours as requested by the General Assembly; (iv) the report of the first session of the preparatory committee as well as the report on the outcome of the Ministerial Conference; (v) a draft outcome of the Ministerial Conference in close cooperation with a group of landlocked developing countries and relevant major stakeholders; (vi) the statistical pocket book on LLDCs will also be prepared in cooperation with the Statistical Division.

  • My Office has already prepared a draft road map, which will be shared with the relevant parts of the United Nations system in order to give them guidelines for activities related to the preparatory process.

  • As you can see, the schedule of the preparatory process is very tight and challenging. The success of the Conference will mainly depend on the support extended by landlocked developing countries themselves. Therefore, I wish to make an appeal to you to sensitize your respective governments and relevant national and sub-regional stakeholders of the Ministerial Conference and its preparatory meetings. It is important for landlocked developing countries to have a well-coordinated, coherent and active involvement at all levels of the preparatory process. In this regard, my Office will also send a notification to your governments through you informing of the preparatory process of the Conference.

  • The OHRLLS has launched today a Website on the Ministerial Conference which contains useful information regarding preparatory meetings at the regional and international levels, background documents, the mandate, host country information, venue, date, programme and provisional agenda of the Conference, who should attend the Conference, hotel information, parallel events, etc.