Press Release

United Nations urges strengthening of international transit systems to build resilience to future pandemics in Landlocked Developing Countries

17 August 2021

When the world locked down and borders closed throughout the globe, the LLDCs found themselves in a desperate situation.

Enhancing efficiency in transit systems and in operations at international borders are needed if the world’s Landlocked Developing Countries are to be able to build back better and be resilient to future pandemics and emergencies, says a new report launched today by the United Nations.

The report, “Impact of COVID-19 and responses in Landlocked Developing Countries”, written in collaboration with the International Think Tank for Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs), demonstrates how Landlocked Developing Countries’ lack of territorial access to the sea and global markets expose them in unique ways to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“When the world locked down and borders closed throughout the globe, the LLDCs found themselves in a desperate situation with limited access to global markets, food and medical supplies and therefore were left behind in their efforts to fight the pandemic” said Mr. Courtenay Rattray, United Nations High-Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States. “This cannot be allowed to happen again. This group of countries is in dire need of more efficient transit systems to ensure secure and uninterrupted flows of goods and services when needed most. They must be supported to respond and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The report calls for open cross-border transport networks for goods and services, expedited passage of medical supplies and coordinated safety measures at border crossings so that the world’s Landlocked Developing Countries can better face future crises.

Mr. Dulguun Damdin-Od, Director of Operations and Research Coordinator of the International Think Tank for LLDCs, added that “Borders are the Landlocked Developing Countries’ only gateway to the rest of the world and it must be ensured that those gates can be opened in times of crisis. LLDCs cannot be excluded in our global vision for a better, more sustainable future.”

Landlocked Developing Countries suffer debilitating hurdles in their efforts to import and export goods. The pandemic made this problem stark with LLDCs struggling to access tools necessary to prevent the spread of the coronavirus but also the near-impossible challenge of importing vaccines.

In fact, by June 2021, 1% of global COVID-19 vaccine doses had been distributed in LLDCs, in a group of countries home to 7% of the world’s population. Only by prioritising vaccinations – the report states - the world be able to accelerate the LLDCs’ economic recovery and rebuild what was teared down by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Landlocked Developing Countries rely heavily on their neighbours – known as transit countries - to access international trade. The global shutdown caused a spike in prices of food and medical supplies which was multiplied in the LLDCs, as they had no direct access to commodity sources. 

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Read the Report: https://www.un.org/ohrlls/report-impact-covid19-landlocked-developing-countries

About LLDCs: Landlocked Developing Countries, are nations which lack territorial access to the sea, isolation from world markets and high transit costs. These challenges continue to impose serious constraints on their overall socio-economic development.

For further information: Landlocked Developing Countries | Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States

OHRLLS Official Website: www.un.org/ohrlls

United Nations urges strengthening of international transit systems to build resilience to future pandemics in Landlocked Developing Countries

Nicholas Ceolin

Public Information Officer, UN Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States

UN entities involved in this initiative

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United Nations