High-Level Africa Regional Review Meeting of the Vienna Programme of Action to address LLDCs challenges

High-Level Africa Regional Review Meeting of the Vienna Programme of Action to address challenges facing LLDCs
22 May 2023
press release

Gaborone, Botswana, 20 May 2023 (ECA) - Botswana will host High-Level Africa Regional Review Meeting of the Vienna Programme of Action to address challenges facing LLDCs.

The United Nations Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS) jointly with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the Government of Botswana will hold a High-level Africa regional review meeting of the Vienna Programme of Action  (VPoA) for Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs).

The meeting will be held under the theme, “From Vienna to Kigali: towards a new decade of partnerships for a transformative Programme of Action for LLDCs” in Gaborone, Botswana from 29-30 May 2023.

The outcomes of the Regional Review Meeting will feed into the preparatory process of the Third United Nations Conference on LLDCs to be held in 2024. The Conference will review the implementation of the Vienna Programme of Action for LLDCs for the Decade 2014-2024, formulate and adopt a renewed framework for international support to address the special needs of LLDCs.

LLDCs are countries without territorial access to the sea as a result isolation from world markets and high transit costs impose serious constraints on their overall socio-economic development. For LLDCs, their seaborne trade almost always must transit through other countries, mostly also developing countries—a process which involves dealing with cumbersome border-crossing procedures and inadequate transit transport infrastructure. Thus, although LLDCs already face other development challenges, they also face substantially increased costs for trade and transport because of their geographic location.

Of the world’s 32 LLDCs, 16 are in Africa, and 13 of these are also least developed countries (LDCs).

Recognising the complex challenges facing LLDCs, the international community in 2014 adopted the Vienna programme of action for Landlocked Developing Countries. This is a  ten-year action-plan aimed at accelerating sustainable development in LLDCs.

The Vienna Programme of Action consists of a set of six priority areas of interventions; Fundamental Transit Policy Issues; Infrastructure Development and Maintenance; International Trade and Trade Facilitation; Regional Integration and Cooperation, Structural Economic Transformation, and Means of Implementation. These priority areas are intended as a holistic approach to the peculiar challenges faced by LLDCs that have, over the years, impeded their economic transformation, as well as inclusive and sustainable growth.

The objectives of the Africa regional review meeting of the VPoA are to:

  • Undertake a comprehensive review of the implementation of the Vienna Programme of Action in Africa, including identification of the achievements, constraints, emerging challenges and opportunities (including those brought about by the establishment and roll out of the AfCFTA) for achieving sustainable development and SDGs and Agenda 2063 in LLDCs;
  • Identify alternative and innovative sources of finance (including trade finance) that could be leveraged and used for implementation of VPoA and provide guidance on how the LLDCs can access the resources;
  • Share best practices, experiences and innovative approaches, and
  • Identify appropriate policy measures and concrete action-oriented recommendations at the national, regional and global levels aimed at addressing the special challenges of LLDCs and accelerating their sustainable development progress over the next decade.

Key speakers at the Conference include:

  • Mr. Antonio Pedro, Acting Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa
  • Honourable Mmusi Kgafela, M.P, Minister of Trade and Industry, Botswana
  • Ms. Rabab Fatima, Under-Secretary General and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS), Secretary General of the Third UN Conference on LLDCs

The two-day meeting will bring together ministers and senior government officials from ministries dealing directly with the implementation of the VPoA and related issues of transit, trade, infrastructure development, structural economic transformation and finance, from the 16 African LLDCs. The meeting will also include representatives of transit countries from the region and development partners as well as the UN system, relevant regional and sub-regional organizations, other international organizations, regional and international financial institutions; and the private sector.

For interview or additional information, please contact:

Senait Afework Bekele
Economic Commission for Africa
P.O. Box 3001
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

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