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Ключевые конвенции ООН поддерживают восстановление после пандемии
Eurasia | Avaza

Flagship UN conventions support LLDC post-pandemic recovery

19 Aug 2022 · Prosperity

Turkmenistan’s Caspian Sea town of Awaza hosted the Ministerial Transport Conference of Landlocked Developing Countries, which was organised jointly by the Government of Turkmenistan and the Office of the High Representative for Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States. The high-level event, which took place on 15-16 August 2022, brought together representatives from 39 countries and 34 international organisations.

Landlocked developing countries have to overcome additional challenges and bear supplementary costs when trading with other countries due to their geographical constraints. The access of the world’s 32 landlocked developing countries to global markets depends on transit through neighbouring countries.

Most regional transport corridors are multimodal and require multiple transshipments of containers. Improving transport connectivity and interoperability are crucial for efficient operations, sustainable growth and strengthening cooperation between countries.

Addressing the high-level audience during the opening session, IRU Secretary General Umberto de Pretto said, “Inefficient customs procedures hamper economic growth in all countries but especially in landlocked developing countries. Using tried-and-tested UN instruments, such as TIR, facilitate trade and transport, and, ultimately, turn landlocked countries into land-linked trading nations.”

Umberto de Pretto at Ministerial Transport Conference of Landlocked Developing Countries
IRU Secretary General Umberto de Pretto shared a video message during the opening session

The delegates at the conference stated, in a unified voice, that international, multilateral instruments aimed at transit facilitation are important to keep borders running smoothly and efficiently. Taking stock of the pandemic’s impact, joint efforts should focus on initiatives and instruments, including the use of the TIR system and its digital tools, that facilitate the flow of goods across borders.

Speaking at the session on Accelerating Digitalisation for Enhanced Transit and Trade Facilitation and for Sustainable and Resilient Recovery from COVID-19, IRU General Delegate to Eurasia Vadim Zakharenko stressed that a quick implementation of digital TIR and consignment notes also reduce physical contact between transport workers and customs officers, boosting the seamless flow of goods across borders along “digital corridors”.

Vadim Zacharenko at Ministerial Transport Conference of Landlocked Developing Countries
IRU General Delegate to Eurasia Vadim Zakharenko at the Ministerial Transport Conference of Landlocked Developing Countries

Zakharenko reminded participants that all landlocked developing countries in Eurasia acceded to TIR several decades ago and keep benefiting from cross-border trade and transport facilitation, while improving the resilience of their supply chains and maintaining the required level of security for transport operations. “IRU encourages LLDCs from Africa and South America to ratify and make full use of the existing UN conventions, such as TIR and its digital tools and e-CMR, which have been identified by the UN Secretary General as important instruments to address the challenges and impacts of the pandemic,” Zakharenko added.

On the sidelines of the conference, Zakharenko held discussions with the transport ministers and deputy transport ministers of Armenia, Mali, Paraguay, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Zambia, as well as UN regional commissions and agencies, other international organisations and development partners.

IRU and its member in Turkmenistan, THADA, shared a joint booth in the exhibition organised by the Government of Turkmenistan and presented the country’s transport complex and transit.

As one of the key contributors to the Vienna Programme of Action, IRU supports and advises the UN and its agencies, as well as governments, on issues related to development, trade and transport.

Key recommendations and outcomes of the conference have been summarised in the Awaza Statement adopted by the delegates.