Pranab laments poor growth in landlocked developing nations

October 3rd, 2008 - 12:19 am ICT by IANS  

New York, Oct 2 (IANS) Holding that landlocked developing countries remain marginalised from the international system, an indication of slow action on the Almaty Programme, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee has affirmed that India is fully cooperating with its own landlocked neighbours on transit transport issues. He was speaking Thursday at a high-level plenary meeting of the 63rd UN General Assembly devoted to the mid-term review of the Almaty Programme of Actionprogramme, adopted in 2003 at Almaty in Kazakhastan.

The programme aims to effectively integrate landlocked countries into the world economy by establishing efficient transit transport facilities.

Mukherjee noted that 16 of the 30 landlocked developing countries continue to be classified as least developed countries. The current global food and energy crises have made their problems more acute.

The Almaty plan notwithstanding, modernisation of trade facilitation and transit procedures remains pending, primarily due to lack of these countries’ own resources and capacities as well as a lack of financial and technical assistance.

While official developmental assistance, or ODA, remains critical for long-term funding of transit transport infrastructure projects, Mukherjee regretted that ODA to the transport sector has actually fallen in landlocked developing countries.

Speaking about India, Mukherjee said: “We continue to join our landlocked neighbours with financial partnerships for infrastructure development and make available technical, economic and capacity building support.”

He added that “landlocked countries with a contiguous border with us have special bilateral cooperation agreements for easy transit of their goods through India.”

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