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Kazakhstan lists four steps to serve as useful framework for new goals for LDCs

Vienna (Austria), Sept. 30 (ANI): Participating in the Thirteenth Meeting of Foreign Ministers ahead of the Second UN Conference on LLDCs in Vienna, Kazakhstan has listed four steps that need to be used for establishing a framework of new goals and targets.

In his address, Kazakhstan’s Deputy Foreign Minister Yerzhan Ashikbayev said that the past decade has been a period of significant economic and social progress.

Concentrating on the Almaty Programme of Action (APoA), which was first developed in 2003, Mr. Ashikbayev said it has helped create new linkages and strengthen existing partnerships between landlocked developing countries, transit developing countries and development partners, including multilateral institutions.

However, he said, there was a need to recognize that the majority of “our economies remain vulnerable to external shocks and other emerging challenges.”

He further said, “We are also aware that we have not been able to reach most of the Millennium Development Goals, and our countries continue to be marginalized from the international trading system. The structural impediments associated to landlockedness remain a challenge.”

While considering a new programme of action for LLDCs, Mr. Ashikbayev said Kazakhstan would like to emphasize the following.

First, the priority areas identified in the Almaty Programme of Action can still serve as a useful framework for new goals and targets developed in line with our respective national development policies, strategies and priorities. In other words, the new Programme of Action needs to be mainstreamed at the national level to allow for appropriate actions to be taken individually and jointly by LLDCs and their development partners.

Second, as was the case with the APoA, the expected outcomes in each priority area can be enhanced through genuine partnerships based on an equitable sharing of the benefits between landlocked, transit developing countries and their development partners including partnerships between the public and private sectors.

Third, regional integration and bilateral cooperation will be as important in the coming decade as they were in the last. We must continue to exploit the potential of regional economic integration, including increasing intra-regional trade and intra-regional foreign direct investment and improving connectivity through transport, energy and ICT networks.

Fourth, special attention should be paid to the implementation process, with the view of providing addition and adequate support from partners as well as complementary innovative financing, including Public-Private Partnerships.

As the country furthest from any seaport, he said Kazakhstan understands the necessity of developing effective transit systems and transport infrastructure. They are critical if we are to participate and be competitive in international trade.

“Our long-term development plan, Strategy 2050, seeks to make Kazakhstan one of the thirty most developed economies by 2050. Many challenges that we have identified and seek to address in our plan, echo the objectives of the APoA – mainly eliminating trade and transit barriers, and developing logistics infrastructure. These are our top priorities,” Mr. Ashikbayev said.

“We have accordingly identified, established and developed five international transit corridors: the Northern, Southern, and Central corridors of the Trans-Asian railway line, the North-South corridor that combines rail and water transport linkages, and the Europe Caucasus Asia Transport Corridor (TRACECA). In addition, we also have four international aviation corridors. As part of the 2010-2014 transport infrastructure development programme, 61 infrastructure development projects were planned, with a total budget of more than US$ 23 billion. This programme involved the construction of some 1,600 kilometers of new railway lines, the rebuilding and renovation of more than 20,000 kilometers of highways, the upgrading of airport infrastructure, and developing a national merchant fleet and marine ports. We have also undertaken soft infrastructure upgrades along transit corridors and major border crossing points,” he added.

The Deputy Foreign Minister reaffirmed Kazakhstan’s commitment to the LLDCs, adding that in all areas, his country’s government welcomed the opportunity to engage and consult with international partners on “our most pressing issues and common challenges.”

He said that the 2017 Astana Expo will explore strategies, programmes and technologies aimed at developing sustainable energy, promoting energy security and efficiency and encouraging the use of renewable energy.

“We hope that many LLDCs will be able to participate in this Expo, to share their experience, showcase their solutions and to learn from others facing similar challenges. We will provide support to representatives of around 60 developing countries to take part in EXPO 2017,” he added. (ANI)