unctad.org | Gaps, Limitations and the Way Forward
Gaps, Limitations and the Way Forward
Book Information
UNCTAD assessment of progress in the implementation of the Vienna Programme of Action for Landlocked Developing Countries for the Decade 2014-2014


Landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) face a number of unique challenges in their quest for development, partly due to their geographical position, and the structure of their economies.

Their lack of direct access to the sea makes them dependent on transit countries to effectively link to global markets. As a result, on average, LLDCs have less trade and incur up to 50% more trade costs, according to a study by the World Bank.

Furthermore, 26 of the 32 LLDCs are dependent on primary commodities for more than 60% of their exports, rendering them highly vulnerable to external price shocks, and limiting the impact of trade and growth on employment and poverty reduction.

The dual challenges facing LLDCs (remoteness from the sea and commodity dependence) have an adverse impact on their overall development prospects. 17 of the world’s 32 Landlocked Developing Countries also belong to the category of Least Developed Countries (LDCs).

In order to address these challenges, the second United Nations Conference on the Landlocked Developed Countries, held in Vienna from 3 to 5 November 2014, adopted the Vienna Programme of Action for the Landlocked Developing Countries for the Decade 2014– 2024 (VPoA).

The present report provides UNCTAD’s assessment of the progress achieved by LLDCs at the mid-point of the implementation period of the VPoA in areas within its mandates. It identifies the key challenges ahead, together with policy recommendations for the way forward. A particular focus is placed on Priorities 3 (International Trade and Trade Facilitation) and 5 (Structural Transformation).

The report argues that the commodity driven path to inclusive growth and sustainable development for the LLDCs has not delivered the intended results or benefits. Thus, a “business as usual” approach is no longer a viable option.

It calls for a new generation of development policies in LLDCs, and the building of partnerships that focus on fostering productive capacities and structural transformation in these countries.


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