Experts from Asia and Europe have gathered at a United Nations -backed meeting which opened yesterday in Bangkok to discuss progress made in efforts to link landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) in the Asia-Pacific region to sea ports.
The two-day talks will centre around assessing developments since the adoption of the UN's Almaty Programme of Action in 2003, which is the first global action plan negotiated at the ministerial level that provides a framework for cooperation between landlocked and the transit access developing countries, promising reductions in red tape and transportation costs and time.
The meeting has been organized by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), along with the UN Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) and the UN Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS).
Presentations will be made by LLDC Member States of ESCAP - Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bhutan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Mongolia, Nepal, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan - and by transit countries, including China, Iran and Russia.
Also kicking off in Bangkok yesterday was a meeting of 40 representatives from the Asia-Pacific region to confer on how to boost employment in the Pacific islands.
The Special Body on Pacific Island Developing Countries of ESCAP meets every two years, and the current gathering will take place from 22-23 April.
Participants will talk about policies - including transport infrastructure and promoting entrepreneurship and private sector growth - to spur economic growth, which is key in creating jobs.
They will also discuss how the UN can support efforts towards sustainable development in the region.