Address by HE Mr. Yasuhide Nakayama,
Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, Government of Japan,
on the Occasion of the Landlocked Developing Countries Ministerial Meeting
in Accra, Ghana on April 22, 2008
Ladies and gentlemen,
I am very pleased to attend the Landlocked Developing Countries Ministerial Meeting today.
Here at UNCTAD XII, we are discussing issues facing developing countries. However, there is no single development scenario for all nations. Each developing country has different difficulties. It is, therefore, effective to group together the countries that face common difficulties. As Small Island Developing States have common problems, Landlocked countries face common challenges. This is why today's meeting is so important for both LLDCs and their partners.
Japan is actively trying, as a partner of LLDCs, to solve their problems. During the process leading up to the first LLDC Ministerial Conference held in Almaty in 2003, Japan served as the Chair of both the inter-governmental expert meeting and one of the Preparatory Committees. I am glad that our efforts bore fruit as the adoption of the Almaty Program of Action. Moreover, in the midterm review process of this Program, Ambassador Yukio Takasu, our Permanent Representative to the United Nations, has been serving as a facilitator.
One of the challenges faced by Landlocked countries is about transportation. Japan is supporting the proactive efforts of LLDCs so that their economic activities can be better connected to their neighboring countries, and to their ports and harbors. For example, we announced last January to provide 20 million USD to the Mekong Region, including Asia's landlocked country of Laos, to improve efficiency in logistics and distribution of the East-West and North-South Economic Corridor. Our assistance also goes to Zambia and other African Landlocked countries.
Of course, the challenges facing LLDCs are by no means limited to problems of transportation. Landlocked countries also have major challenges in the area of climate change such as forest conservation and desertification.
As this year's G8 Chair, we are taking a leading role in the area of climate change. Specifically, we announced the Cool Earth Partnership this January. Under this initiative, Japan intends to support LLDCs and other developing countries trying to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the air and to achieve both economic growth and emissions reductions.
Next month's TICADIV meeting will be a very good occasion to review what I mentioned here today. Through TICADIV and other fora, we intend to cooperate to the greatest possible extent as a partner that the LLDCs can trust.
Thank you for your attention today.
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