1. The United Nations Millennium Declaration, adopted by heads of State and Government on 8 September 2000, laid out a set of development goals which call for the creation of an environment at national and international levels conducive to development, among other things. It recognized the special needs and problems of the landlocked developing countries, which were also addressed by recent major United Nations conferences such as the Third United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (Brussels, 2001), the International Conference on Financing for Development (Monterrey, 2002) and the World Summit on Sustainable Development (Johannesburg, 2002). The International Ministerial Conference of Landlocked and Transit Developing Countries and Donor Countries and International Financial and Development Institutions on Transit Transport Cooperation has been convened pursuant to General Assembly resolution 56/180, entitled "Specific actions related to the particular needs and problems of landlocked developing countries", to review the current situation of transit transport systems, including the implementation of the Global Framework for Transit Transport Cooperation of 1995, and to formulate, inter alia, appropriate policy measures and action-oriented programmes aimed at developing efficient transit transport systems.
2. Landlocked developing countries, as a group, are among the poorest of developing countries, with limited capacities and dependence on a very limited number of commodities for their export earnings. In addition, throughout the 1990s the growth rate of the landlocked developing countries has been in general negative or very slow. Lack of territorial access to the sea, remoteness and isolation from world markets have contributed to their relative poverty, substantially inflating transportation costs and lowering their effective participation in international trade. The trade-reducing effect is strongest for transport-intensive activities. Most, if not all, landlocked developing countries are commodity exporters. The very high transport costs which they must bear constrain export development since that burden limits the range of potential exports and markets in which goods can be competitively and profitably traded. The price of imports tends to soar because of high transit transport costs.
3. In most cases, the transit neighbours of landlocked developing countries are themselves developing countries, often of broadly similar economic structure and beset by similar scarcities of resources. The least developed transit countries are in an especially difficult situation. Also transit developing countries bear additional burdens, deriving from transit transport and its financial, infrastructural and social impacts. Transit developing countries are themselves in need of improvement of technical and administrative arrangements in their transport and customs and administrative systems to which their landlocked neighbours are expected to link.
4. Efficient transit transport systems can be established through genuine partnerships between landlocked and transit developing countries and their development partners at the national, bilateral, subregional, regional and global levels and through partnership between public and private sectors. Partnerships should be based on the mutual benefits deriving from the specific actions that major stakeholders have agreed to undertake in the present programme of action in order to establish efficient transit transport systems. The international community, including financial and development institutions and donor countries, should provide financial and technical support to help those countries to deal effectively with their transit transport problems and requirements.
5. The efficiency of transit transport systems will depend on the promotion of an enabling administrative legal and macroeconomic environment in both landlocked and transit developing countries for effective policy-making and resource mobilization and on cooperative arrangements between landlocked developing countries and their transit neighbours. An effective strategy to improve transit transport systems requires actions at the regional, subregional and bilateral levels for the effective solution of transit problems, which would improve transit transport safety and enable significant economies of scale, particularly relevant for landlocked developing countries. This cooperation must be promoted on the basis of the mutual interest of both landlocked and transit developing countries.
6. The role of the private sector must be taken into account. The private sector, as a service provider and as a user of transit transport services, is an important stakeholder in society and should be a main contributor to the development of infrastructure and productive capacity in both landlocked and transit developing countries.
7. The costs of establishing and maintaining an efficient transit transport system often pose a daunting challenge to the landlocked and transit developing countries. Their development partners can play an important role in supporting and assisting them in their efforts to establish efficient transit transport systems.
8. The interests and concerns of landlocked and transit developing countries should be taken fully into account while establishing transit transport systems. In this regard, the interests and concerns of landlocked and transit developing countries should be considered complementary and mutually reinforcing.
9. Regional and subregional cooperation or integration can play an important role in successfully addressing the specific problems of transit transport from, in and through developing countries. Regional cooperation or integration initiatives can also facilitate the participation of landlocked and transit developing countries in the global economy, better sharing its benefits and containing its negative effects. In this context, support from all existing sources, where requested, for mechanisms of regional and subregional dialogue and regional integration among landlocked and transit developing countries, is important.
10. The objective of the present Programme of Action is to address the special needs of landlocked developing countries and establish a new global framework for action for developing efficient transit transport systems in landlocked and transit developing countries, taking into account the interests of both landlocked and transit developing countries. The Programme of Action thus aims to:
(c) reduce the delivered costs of imports;
(d) address problems of delays and uncertainties in trade routes;
(e) develop adequate national networks;
(f) reduce loss, damage and deterioration en route;
(g) open the way for export expansion;
(h) improve safety of road transport and security of people along the corridors.
11. It is important for landlocked and transit developing countries to review and revise their regulatory frameworks, where necessary, to allow a greater participation of the private sector; to introduce reform measures to make providers of transport services more responsive to user demands; to increase transparency of transit and border regulations; to establish streamlined administrative procedures; to further simplify border control and procedures; to promote the use of information technology; and to strengthen training programmes in the sector. Transport strategies and programmes, particularly where they involve regulation of transport operations or construction of major new infrastructure, need to take full account of environmental aspects and development needs to ensure sustainable development at local and global levels. These should be an integral part of a policy reform programme and of a poverty reduction strategy.
12. International conventions on transport and transit, as well as regional and bilateral agreements, ratified by landlocked and transit developing countries are the main vehicles by which the harmonization, simplification and standardization of rules and documentation can be achieved.
13. At the international level, development partners, in particular the multilateral aid agencies, should give high priority to sustainable transportation project financing. New infrastructure investment, including through public/private partnerships involving official development assistance and private sector investment, including foreign direct investment, would also be very important for the development of transit transport systems.
14. The following specific actions are required:
(b) Landlocked and transit developing countries need to give a high priority to developing and modernizing existing facilities and to increasing the commercial orientation of transport and infrastructure by eliminating non-physical barriers to transit transport;
(c) Reform in the transport sector should be actively pursued, with the greater involvement of, and partnership with, the private sector;
(d) There is a need to promote public/private sector dialogue and cooperation, with the assistance of development partners, as appropriate;
(e) The establishment of regional transport corridors and the adoption of common rules and standards, where appropriate, should play a major role in transit transport facilitation. In that regard, the role of the regional commissions and subregional organizations should be further strengthened. In this context, the regional commissions and subregional organizations in Africa, Asia and Latin America need further assistance from the international community;
(f) The existing institutional mechanisms at the policy and operational levels to monitor and promote the implementation of agreements and arrangements involving landlocked and transit developing countries should be further strengthened;
(g) Efforts should be made to promote integrated training programmes encompassing all levels, from the top management to low-level operators, in both the public and private sectors.
15. Inadequate infrastructure is a major obstacle to establishing efficient transit transport systems in landlocked and transit developing countries. The deterioration of transport infrastructure is a general problem that affects both. Communications facilities are required to facilitate advance knowledge of transport service availabilities and to ensure smooth and speedy transit. Addressing these needs will involve considerable investment, setting up of public-private partnerships, capacity-building, and new policies and institutional reform, where necessary. The share of national resources and official development assistance allocated to infrastructure development in many landlocked and transit developing countries is limited. Also, the challenge of establishing adequate infrastructure facilities and of remedying the deterioration of existing transport infrastructure in both landlocked and transit developing countries could go beyond the public sector. In particular, the financial and technical support of donors, international financial institutions and development assistance agencies remains critical. The private sector could also play an important role.
16. A prerequisite for successfully attracting private investment in infrastructure projects is a sound regulatory and institutional framework. Regional and subregional economic cooperation or integration can help to overcome problems of market size in landlocked and transit developing countries, especially in the least developed among them, and attract the private sector to invest in infrastructure development. In this context, the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) is an important initiative, as most landlocked and transit developing countries are in this continent, and may well boost the creation of subregional and regional infrastructure. The interests and concerns of landlocked developing countries should be taken into careful consideration in the implementation of the trans-African highways, Asian highway, trans-Asian railway and international North-South corridor projects, as well as the Initiative for the Integration of Regional Infrastructure in South America (IIRSA) and the Transport Corridor Europe-Caucasus-Asia (TRACECA).
17. The following specific actions are required:
(b) Landlocked and transit developing countries should make every effort to provide a conducive environment for using all transport modes in transit transport services in order to encourage competition among different transport modes, particularly road and rail transport. At the same time, capacities and legal regimes for multimodal transport operations should be further developed;
(c) Particular attention should be given to constructing "missing links" in the regional and subregional transport network;
(d) Private-sector participation should be encouraged, also by development partners, in transit transport infrastructure development, through co-financing, Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT), and playing a catalytic role in attracting foreign direct investment, as well as facilitating increased access to bond markets;
(e) Private-public partnership platforms along trade and transport corridors should be promoted through the development and extensive use of common information and communication technology-based management and monitoring systems.
18. Railways have an important role to play in the transit transport corridor systems linking ocean ports with landlocked developing countries. Major concerns are the persistent problem of limited availability of equipment, including locomotives and wagons, and poor maintenance standards. There are also additional problems associated with establishing inter-railway agreements.
19. The following specific actions are required:
(b) Landlocked and transit developing countries should, as a matter of priority, improve the maintenance of track and rolling stock, purchase new rolling stock and expand the railway network, where justified by traffic volume;
(c) Landlocked and transit developing countries should also pay special attention to the benefits of the harmonization of gauges, where feasible, the development of reloading capacities, the expansion of training programmes and inter-railway staff exchange programmes;
(d) Governments are encouraged to consider adhering to relevant international conventions related to rail and combined transport, which provide internationally accepted rules for an efficient and safe environment of inter-country rail and combined transport operations, as well as ensuring the institutional development to implement them.
20. Road transport is an increasingly important mode of transport for the imports and exports of landlocked developing countries. In particular, road transport is the main mode of transit transport in Africa. For the expansion of roads, transit infrastructure sizeable resource allocations are required. The key problem areas, particularly with regard to international road transport, are the worsening road safety due to inadequate calibration, absence of social infrastructure along the transit corridors and particularly the ageing of transport means and poor maintenance, which are closely associated with the practice of overloading vehicles.
21. The following specific actions are required:
(b) Landlocked and transit developing countries should consider taking the necessary initiatives to accede to and implement relevant international conventions related to road transport;
(c) At the bilateral, subregional and regional levels, consideration should be given to taking measures to gradually liberalize road transport services, taking into account specific circumstances in landlocked and transit developing countries, and to facilitating road operational planning and management, through expansion of the databases on road transit and review of the quota system and transit and transportation costs and of other measures such as roadblocks and custom supervised convoys.
22. The efficiency of port operations depends on adequate infrastructure and good management. Many seaports are a critical bottleneck in the transit systems because of a range of physical inadequacies and operational constraints. Problems of quality of handling and storage facilities for transit cargo, cumbersome procedures for the clearing and release of cargo, congestion and the shortage of skilled manpower, are particularly relevant.
23. The following specific actions are required:
(b) Expand the capacity to handle transit trade, also allowing private terminal operations to promote competition and encourage efficiency;
(c) A greater cooperation and coordination should be promoted between public and private institutions dealing with transit traffic in ports (customs administration, security personnel, port authorities, commercial banks, clearing and forwarding agents, insurance companies);
(d) The establishment of dry ports in landlocked and transit developing countries should be promoted;
(e) Training programmes for port workers should be expanded to enable them to adapt to new technologies and procedures.
24. Inland waterways provide transit services to some landlocked developing countries. The efficiency of transit services along such waterways requires better infrastructure, appropriate legal frameworks to govern river/lake navigational operations and more effective environmental and safety measures.
25. The following specific actions are required:
(b) Consideration should be given to the establishment of legal and other arrangements for collaborative actions at the subregional level and to promote more efficient river/lake transit systems;
(c) The development of new waterways, where possible, should be explored. Also, the maintenance and expansion of existing waterways should be encouraged, when appropriate, with the assistance of financial institutions.
26. Pipelines provide a cost-effective means of transport for both oil and natural gas. The planning and construction of pipelines require close cooperation between landlocked and transit developing countries. The substantive investments that are required for the construction of pipelines necessitate capital investment from the private sector as well.
27. The following specific action is required: landlocked and transit developing countries should cooperate and coordinate to construct pipelines along the most cost-effective and most suitable or shortest routes, taking into account the interests of parties concerned.
28. Air transport offers landlocked developing countries a means of avoiding the transit problems associated with overland and overseas freight movements. However, only very high-value and low-bulk commodities can support the costs of airfreight rates.
29. The following specific actions are required:
(b) Governments should progressively liberalize their policies regarding the granting of traffic rights for freight on scheduled services and lift any restrictions on cargo charter flights, making a more effective use of existing freight capacity possible;
(c) Pooling of air transport arrangements at the regional, subregional and bilateral levels should be further promoted to permit economies of scale;
(d) Training programmes at the national and subregional levels should be expanded.
30. The remoteness of landlocked developing countries from seaports and overseas markets, compounded by inadequate communication links with various ports and commercial centres, continues to be a major handicap inhibiting the rapid movement of transit cargo. Cargo monitoring systems, which give advance and tracking information on cargo moving within interfaces and along modes, could significantly reduce delays.
31. The following specific action is required: telecommunications facilities should be expanded, private-sector participation in that regard should be encouraged and the management of such facilities should be streamlined.
32. Trade is an important engine for economic development. However, the participation of landlocked and transit developing countries in international trade, which is crucial for their development prospects, is not as significant as it could be. Also, a good number of the landlocked and transit developing countries are not members of the World Trade Organization. Therefore, they miss out on the benefits that membership in and the rules of the World Trade Organization, including those on special and differential treatment, provide.
33. One of the main causes of the marginalization of landlocked developing countries from the international trading system is high trade transaction costs. Trade and transport are inextricably linked. Transport is a key sector for international trade, for regional integration and for ensuring a balanced national development. Excessive transport costs create a major effective barrier to foreign markets. In this context, due note was taken of the request of landlocked developing countries that the current negotiations on market access for agricultural and non-agricultural goods should consider giving particular attention to products of special interest to landlocked developing countries.
34. Important sources of additional and avoidable costs and inefficiency can include cumbersome border-crossing, customs procedures, documentation requirements and inadequate infrastructure facilities, as well as costly bank transactions. Landlocked developing countries, with additional border crossings and transit dependence can be at a particular disadvantage, depending on the state of their own and their neighbours' border procedures and level of bilateral cooperation, as well as regional cooperation or integration.
35. International conventions and regional, subregional and bilateral agreements are the main means through which streamlining, simplification and standardization and the transparency of rules and procedures can be achieved. Their full and effective implementation requires strong political commitment at the national level.
36. The Ministerial Declaration adopted at the Fourth Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization, held in Doha in 2001, recognized the case for expediting the movement, release and clearance of goods, including goods in transit, and the need for enhanced technical assistance and capacity-building in this area. Also, the decision in the same declaration that the World Trade Organization programme would address issues related to the trade of small, vulnerable economies and their full integration in the multilateral trading system was a welcome step for most landlocked and transit developing countries.
37. The following specific actions are required:
(b) The Monterrey Consensus recognizes the importance of enhanced and predictable access to all markets for the exports of developing countries, including landlocked and transit developing countries. In accordance with the commitments in the Doha Ministerial Declaration, in particular paragraphs 13 and 16, and the rules of the World Trade Organization, current negotiations should give full attention to the needs and interests of developing countries, including landlocked and transit developing countries;
(c) Landlocked and transit developing countries should be provided assistance in the area of trade facilitation in the light of the agreement in the Doha Ministerial Declaration that the negotiations will take place after the fifth session of the Ministerial Conference on the basis of a decision to be taken by explicit consensus at that session, on the modalities of negotiations;
(d) More efforts are required within available financial resources to facilitate transit traffic through border posts, to expand the use of information technology, to implement efficient customs control systems and simplification of documents and procedures, and to strengthen the capacity-building of government agencies in the field of trade and trade facilitation;
(e) Landlocked and transit developing countries should consider becoming a party to and implementing effectively the international conventions and instruments that are applicable to various transport segments, including road, rail, inland waterways and multimodal transport;
(f) Landlocked and transit developing countries should consider establishing, where appropriate, and/or strengthening existing national trade and transport boards or committees involving all major stakeholders, including the private sector.
38. The cost implications of meeting the requirements to establish and maintain an efficient transit transport system are of such magnitude that the landlocked and transit developing countries cannot by themselves accomplish that formidable task. Many of the landlocked developing countries are among the poorest countries. Most of the transit countries are themselves developing countries with limited resources. The development partners should play an important role in supporting transit transport development programmes. Such support should take fully into account the special vulnerabilities and developmental needs of landlocked and transit developing countries in providing assistance to them.
38 bis. The primary responsibility for implementing the present Programme of Action should rest with landlocked and transit developing countries. It is essential that they seek to create conditions in which resources can be generated, attracted and effectively mobilized to address their development challenges, including those that result from being landlocked.
39. The following specific actions are required:
(b) A substantial increase in official development assistance and other resources is required in the mobilization of financial and technical assistance from all sources and existing mechanisms, including the private sector. Donor countries and multilateral financial and development institutions should be encouraged to continue their efforts to ensure the effective implementation of the commitments reached in the Monterrey Consensus, in particular, paragraphs 41-43, with the aim of providing landlocked and transit developing countries with appropriate financial and technical assistance in the form of grants and/or loans on the most concessional terms possible, for the needs identified in the present Programme of Action;
(c) The criteria and procedures used to evaluate the viability of transit transport infrastructure projects and programmes, as well as to approve the funds for them, should take into account the particular economic and institutional weaknesses and needs of landlocked and transit developing countries and the necessity of creating additional capacities, with due regard to traffic development prospects;
(d) Special attention should be given to financial and technical assistance in the areas of institutional capacity-building in landlocked and transit developing countries to promote effective government policy-making and practices in addressing their transport and transit needs;
(e) More cost-effective and innovative modalities and sources for financing, such as local costs and recurrent cost financing, untied aid and arrangements such as regional trusts, and regional investment authorities should, where appropriate, also be examined.
40. The following areas should be considered a priority for financial assistance:
(a bis) Maintenance of existing physical transit transport infrastructure;
(a ter) Construction, maintenance and rehabilitation of oil and gas pipelines;
(b) Development and maintenance of cost-effective routes;
(c) The development of dry port projects in landlocked and transit developing countries;
(d) Projects to improve existing or establish adjacent border points;
(e) Joint projects in trade and production to help bolster subregional and regional trade;
(f) Rehabilitation and reconstruction of the transport infrastructure, particularly in countries or regions emerging from war and internal conflict and natural disasters.
41. The following areas should be considered a priority for technical assistance:
(b) Promoting social and market-oriented transit transport policies;
(c) Encouraging the exchange of experience related to the development and management of transit transport systems in different regions;
(d) Promoting and implementing privatization programmes within the transport sector, where appropriate;
(e) Establishing training programmes, inter alia, in the area of customs, including documentation and transit procedures; freight forwarding and clearing of transit cargo; infrastructure and equipment maintenance; road safety; environmental protection in the transit transport sector; transit insurance; dry port development and management; and expanding regional databases on road transport;
(f) Initiating trade facilitation projects aiming at simplifying, streamlining and standardizing import, export and customs procedures and related capacity-building of particular human resources;
(g) Assisting Governments in elaborating the implications of acceding to relevant international conventions;
(h) Facilitating increased access to bond markets and enhanced risk-sharing between the financing organizations of the public and private sectors.
42. The implementation of the present Programme of Action requires individual and concerted efforts by the landlocked and transit developing countries; their development partners; the organizations and bodies of the United Nations system; relevant international organizations, such as the World Bank, the regional development banks, the World Trade Organization and the World Customs Organization; the Common Fund for Commodities, regional economic integration organizations, and other relevant regional and subregional organizations.
43. Bilateral, regional and subregional cooperation is the most important element in establishing efficient transit transport systems and must be promoted on the basis of the mutual interests of both landlocked and transit countries. Arrangements must be established, where necessary, and further strengthened for regular review and monitoring of the implementation of transit agreements through public and private sector dialogue and consultations. The private sector should be actively involved in the implementation of the present Programme of Action.
44. Relevant international organizations, including the World Bank, the World Customs Organization and other relevant international and regional organizations, are invited to give priority to requests for technical assistance to supplement national and regional efforts to promote the efficient use of existing transit facilities, including the application of information technologies and the simplification of procedures and documents.
45. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development needs to continue to consider programmes concerning electronic commerce, trade facilitation and trade issues in landlocked and transit developing countries. Its Special Programme for the Least Developed, Landlocked and Small Island Developing Countries should continue to carry out analytical work and technical assistance related to the transit transport problems of landlocked developing countries within its mandate.
46. South-South cooperation and triangular cooperation with the involvement of donors should be further promoted, as well as cooperation among subregional and regional organizations.
47. The regional commissions are invited to consider, as appropriate, further expanding their programmes consistent with the present Programme of Action to support the landlocked and transit developing countries in their efforts to improve their transit transport systems, and development partners should consider providing the appropriate financial support in that regard. Due note was also taken of the outcomes of the regional preparatory meetings: the African Action Plan, the Asian Action Plan and the Asunción Programme of Action.
48. Specific subregional meetings should be organized, where appropriate, to consider how to implement effectively the present Programme of Action in accordance with the mandate given by the General Assembly in its resolution 56/227, where applicable, the Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, the World Bank, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the regional commissions and other relevant international and regional/subregional organizations are invited, as appropriate, to provide support to landlocked and transit developing countries in organizing those subregional meetings.
49. The United Nations General Assembly is invited to consider conducting a comprehensive review of the implementation of the present Programme of Action at a moment to be decided upon, in accordance with General Assembly resolution 57/270 B. The Office of the High Representative should coordinate the preparatory process for the review. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the World Bank and the regional commissions are invited to provide substantive and technical assistance for that process.
50. The Secretary-General of the United Nations should report, on the basis of the information provided by Member States and relevant international, regional and subregional organizations, on the implementation of the present Programme of Action to the General Assembly, which is invited to decide its periodicity.
51. In accordance with the mandate given by the General Assembly in its resolution 56/227, the Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States is requested to, inter alia, enhance its cooperation and coordination with organizations within the United Nations system, particularly those engaged in operational activities on the ground in landlocked and transit developing countries, to ensure effective implementation of the Programme of Action in line with General Assembly resolution 57/270 B. The Office of the High Representative will continue to carry out advocacy work to mobilize international awareness and focus attention on the implementation of the present Programme of Action.