Regional transport key for integration of landlocked countries – top UN official
24 April 2008
BANGKOK, 24 APRIL 2008: The United Nations top-most official responsible for Landlocked Developing Countries has emphasized the importance of efficient transport systems to the integration of those countries into the global economy.
“Globalization and regional integration require effective regional transport and communications infrastructure to integrate markets, achieve economies of scale, and attract foreign direct investment and technology,” Mr. Cheick Sidi Diarra, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, told a United Nations regional meeting of Asian countries.
He commended the work of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) regarding transport system development in Asia.
“ESCAP has been very active in the areas of planning and standard setting in regional transport and communication infrastructure development and trade facilitation,” he observed.
ESCAP has initiated two substantial intergovernmental agreements on the Asian Highway of 141,000 km in 31 countries and the Trans-Asian Railroad Network which, when fully implemented, will facilitate more cost-efficient trade, communication and transportation.
Mr. Diarra also complimented ESCAP’s role in the development of the indicators that would be used to measure progress in the implementation of the Programme of Action for Landlocked Developing Countries adopted in Almaty, Kazakhstan, in 2003. The programme provides a global framework for addressing the unique challenges faced by Landlocked Developing Countries in their efforts to integrate in the international trading system.
A midterm review by the United Nations General Assembly of the implementation of the Almaty Programme is scheduled for October this year. The Asian regional meeting is one of a series of meetings being held in preparation for the midterm review.
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