By: Reitumetse Mahloane

The United Nations Lesotho(UN) held a forum to discuss the Landlocked Developing Countries(LLDC) upcoming meeting. It is the third program of action which will commence on 18-22 June 2024, in Kigali, Rwanda. Points of discussion for the meeting included challenges of the LLDC, and the objectives of the upcoming program of action.

The Ministry of Trade’s Deputy Principal Secretary, Jobo Rasoko, says for the two previous conferences 25% of the goals set therein was achieved, this was due to a number of factors including; the 2008 financial global crisis, COVID-19 Pandemic, Russia-Ukraine war, climate change, and the general inability to mobilize resources, hence this preparatory meeting.

In order to stay ahead and consider the challenges along with other important factors, before making decisions, the collaboration and participation of the Landlocked Developing Countries in the third conference is important, as to mobilize resources towards effective implementation of the program of action.

The forum intended to address all the challenges of the LLDC – these include limited transit routes and infrastructure, high transport costs due to longer transit distances, dependency on neighboring countries, especially in matters of trade, excessive paper work and customs procedures, and inconvenient connectivity.

In representation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Angela Rapotso, talked about the mandate issue and other special needs, both summoning review and implementation. She also addresses the objectives and proposed priorities for the new program. Objectives being addressed include undertaking comprehensive review of the Vienna program of action, and exploring innovative solutions while also building meaningful partnerships.

Proposed priorities for the new program of action are, structural transformation and science technology and innovation, international trade and trade facilitation, transit and transport connectivity, climate change, risk education, and environmental degradation, and lastly, means of implementation.

At the third program of action conference, there are various expectations for the LLDC; Third LLDC declaration, new program of action 2024-2034, summary of the private sector track and investment announcements, civil society declaration, youth declaration and parliamentarians message.

This meeting is presumably vital for the LLDC, hence everyone is invited to participate and support the initiative to improve the member states and consequently their well-being. Informative attests to the forum as a success, and that all set goals for LLDC3 be achieved.