25 May 2017
FFD Side Event Highlights Private Sector, Trade for LLDCs
UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe
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A side event during the FFD Forum addressed ways to foster the role of the private sector in implementing the VPoA for Landlocked Developing Countries, and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Attracting the engagement of private actors in LLDCs is challenging, said OHRLLS.

22 May 2017: On the sidelines of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Forum on Financing for Development follow-up (FfD Forum), delegates discussed ways to foster the role of the private sector in implementing the Vienna Programme of Action (VPoA) for Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs) and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The VPoA was adopted in November 2014, in Vienna, Austria, during the second UN Conference on LLDCs. The document addresses LLDCs’ special development needs and challenges, with a focus on six priorities: transit policy issues; infrastructure development and maintenance, including on transport, energy and information and communications technology (ICT); international trade and trade facilitation; regional integration and cooperation; structural economic transformation; and means of implementation.

The side event was organized by Zambia as Chair of the LLDCs, the UN Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, LLDCs and Small Island Developing States (OHRLLS), the International Road Transport Union (IRU), the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the International Trade Centre (ITC). Opening the meeting on 22 May 2017, in New York, US, Sandagdorj Erdenebileg, OHRLLS, on behalf of Fekitamoeloa Katoa, UN High Representative for the LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS, said the private sector is key for the successful implementation of the VPoA, and is highlighted in almost all its priority areas. However, attracting the engagement of private actors is challenging.

Umberto de Pretto, IRU Secretary-General, said the International Road Transport (TIR) system is the first example of a UN public-private partnership, and has the potential to generate billions of dollars in trade. TIR is an international harmonized system of customs control that seek to facilitate trade and transport.

Juliette Passer, Global Partnership for Sustainable Transport, said “green finance” can transform a non-bankable project in an LLDC into a bankable one. She called for: a standardized definition of green financial standards; developing voluntary principles for green finance for LLDCs; and encouraging and facilitating knowledge-sharing on environmental and financial risks.

Riefqah Jappie, ITC, stressed the importance of trade facilitation for LLDCs. She said that implementing the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), which came into force in February 2017, could add over 0.5% to the world’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth by 2030.

Christine Kalamwina, Zambia for the LLDCs, said LLDCs lack an enabling environment for businesses. She reported that the Government of Zambia has adopted the Private Sector Development Reform Programme (PSDRP), which serves as a framework to reduce the cost of doing business in the country and encourage competitiveness in the private sector. She added that foreign direct investment (FDI) is critical for LLDCs, and provides approximately the same amount of funding as official development assistance (ODA).

Jan Kickert, Permanent Representative of Austria, said his country is landlocked and that trade and private sector investments were essential in its development. He stressed the importance of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) for economic development in LLDCs, and of rule of law and predictability. He reported that through the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Austria has contributed to building a network of energy efficiency and renewable energy centers, including in Barbados, Cabo Verde, Namibia, South Africa and Uganda.

Paraguay reported that it has established a National Trade Facilitation Committee. Mongolia highlighted the importance of the private sector in the implementation of the Mongolia 2030 Sustainable Development Vision, and noted that the International Think Thank for LLDCs was established in Mongolia to enhance the analytical capacities of LLDCs. [Event Webpage] [Vienna Programme of Action] [2017 FfD Forum] [IISD Sources]

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