The Vienna Programme of Action (VPoA) for Landlocked Developing Countries 2014-2024, is a ten-year action-plan aimed at accelerating sustainable development in Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDC). The overarching goal of the new Programme of Action is to address the special development needs and challenges of landlocked developing countries arising from landlockedness, remoteness and geographical constraints in a more coherent manner and thus contribute to an enhanced rate of sustainable and inclusive growth, which can contribute to the eradication of poverty by 2024.
Particular attention is therefore to be given in the period until 2024 to the development and expansion of efficient transit systems and transport development, enhancement of competitiveness, expansion of trade, structural transformation, regional cooperation, and the promotion of inclusive economic growth and sustainable development to reduce poverty, build resilience, bridge economic and social gaps and ultimately help transform those countries into land-linked countries.
The Vienna Programme of Action (2014-2024), highlights six key priority areas including;
- Fundamental transit policy issues,
- Infrastructure development and maintenance including; Transport infrastructure, and Energy and information and communications technology infrastructure,
- International trade and trade facilitation including; International trade and trade facilitation,
- Regional integration and cooperation,
- Structural economic transformation, and
- Means of implementation.
Uganda has made commendable progress against these priority areas as indicated in its latest summary progress report presented at the comprehensive high level midterm review of the VPoA in 2019;
The major goal of all Least Developed Countries (LDCs) is to graduate from the category. Graduation is a significant milestone in a country’s journey towards sustainable development. Sixteen LDCs are currently in the pipeline to graduate – but thirty more have further to go. A meeting on the High-Level Political forum on Sustainable Development gathered to address the challenges and opportunities common to the group and the conditions necessary to get back on track to achieve the SDGs by 2030.
Both LDCs and Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs) are severely affected by the global recession as a result of the pandemic and many are in need of debt relief. Limited ability to diversify what they make and what they can export has heightened their vulnerability to the impact of the pandemic on global trade. LLDCs have been impacted by cross-border restrictions and border closures, given their lack of direct access to seaports and dependency on transit transport to access international markets. The meeting noted how urgent and effective debt relief is needed, beyond debt servicing suspension. Bridging the digital divide is also more important than ever, to ensure a sustainable recovery and restore conditions for progress.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on the smooth functioning of corridors due to various factors including the closure of state borders and the imposition of restrictions on the movement of people and goods. COVID-19 has highlighted the increased need for digital connectivity and technologies that allow for non-physical trade facilitation.