Speech by the President at UN conference for landlocked developing countries

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I WISH TO WELCOME YOU ALL TO ZAMBIA, IN PARTICULAR TO LIVINGSTONE OUR TOURIST CAPITAL, FOR THE HIGH-LEVEL FOLLOW-UP MEETING TO THE SECOND UNITED NATIONS CONFERENCE ON LANDLOCKED DEVELOPING COUNTRIES (LLDCS), WHICH WAS HELD IN VIENNA, AUSTRIA IN NOVEMBER 2014.
I HOPE YOU HAVE ALREADY SAMPLED A VARIETY OF TOURIST ACTIVITIES OUR BEAUTIFUL CITY OFFERS SINCE YOUR ARRIVAL IN ZAMBIA.
I FEEL GREATLY HONOURED TO WELCOME YOU ALL TO ZAMBIA FOR THIS HIGH-LEVEL FOLLOW-UP MEETING.
THIS YEAR PRESENTS OPPORTUNITIES OF EFFORTS FOR THE GLOBAL COMMUNITY TO ELIMINATE POVERTY AND ENSURE INCLUSIVE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT THROUGH THE PROGRAMMES OF THE POST-2015 AGENDA, FINANCING FOR DEVELOPMENT AND CLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION AND ITS ARREST, THROUGH THE THREE SUMMITS SCHEDULED FOR ADDIS ABABA IN JULY, NEW YORK IN SEPTEMBER AND PARIS IN DECEMBER RESPECTIVELY.
THE GROUP OF LANDLOCKED DEVELOPING COUNTRIES HAS A FURTHER LEVERAGE WITH THE THREE PROCESSES AND THE VIENNA PROGRAM OF ACTION, WHICH COMPLEMENTS DEVELOPMENT EFFORTS FOR THE GROUP.
YOUR EXCELLENCIES,
THE GROUP OF LANDLOCKED DEVELOPING COUNTRIES FACE VARIOUS CHALLENGES, WHICH ARE DIRECTLY RELATED TO THE INHERENT LACK OF TERRITORIAL ACCESS TO THE SEAS.
THIS SITUATION GREATLY INCREASES TRANSACTION COSTS FOR OUR IMPORTS AND EXPORTS AS COMPARED TO OUR COASTAL NEIGHBOURS.
MORE THAN 20 PERCENT OF THE 450 MILLION PEOPLE IN LANDLOCKED DEVELOPING COUNTRIES LIVE BELOW THE POVERTY DATUM LINE AND THEIR LIVES ARE CHARACTERIZED BY HUNGER, MALNUTRITION, DISEASE, AMONG OTHERS.
IT IS REGRETTABLE THAT THE GROUP OF LANDLOCKED DEVELOPING COUNTRIES, FOR A LARGER PART, REMAIN EXCLUDED FROM BOTH REGIONAL AND GLOBAL TRADE.
OUR SHARE OF GLOBAL TRADE AT END OF 2013 STOOD AT A PALTRY 1.2 PERCENT. THIS GROUP HAS A FURTHER CHALLENGE OF DIMINISHED INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION AND VALUE ADDITION.
DISTINGUISHED DELEGATES
WE CAN NEVER CHANGE OUR GEOGRAPHICAL POSITION OF BEING LAND-LOCKED, HOWEVER, OUR UNWAVERING TENACITY TO CONFRONT THE INHERENT CHALLENGES WE FACE WILL PROPEL US INTO A TRAJECTORY OF ACCELERATED SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT NECESSARY FOR THE TRANSFORMATION OF THE LIVES OF OUR PEOPLE.
IT IS FOR THIS REASON THAT THE VIENNA PROGRAMME OF ACTION FOR LANDLOCKED DEVELOPING COUNTRIES WAS FORMULATED AND ENDORSED AS A BLUEPRINT FOR ACHIEVING OUR COLLECTIVE ENDEAVOR OF ENHANCING AND ACHIEVING SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT FOR OUR COUNTRIES.
OUR EFFORTS SHOULD NOW BE DOUBLED TOWARDS IMPROVING OUR TRADE COMPETITIVENESS FOR US TO FULLY INTEGRATE INTO GLOBAL TRADE CIRCLES, THEREBY RE-DEFINE THE DEVELOPMENT PATHS AS ESPOUSED IN THE VIENNA PROGRAM OF ACTION.
WHILE RECOGNIZING THAT IT IS EVERY COUNTRY’S PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITY TO DETERMINE ITS DEVELOPMENT AGENDA, THE REALIZATION OF THE BENEFITS FROM THE VIENNA PROGRAMME OF ACTION WILL DEPEND ON HOW PROMPTLY OUR RESPECTIVE GOVERNMENTS RESPOND AND MAINSTREAM THE PROGRAMME INTO NATIONAL AND SECTORAL DEVELOPMENT PLANS.
YOUR EXCELLENCIES,
MY GOVERNMENT, IN COLLABORATION WITH OUR DEVELOPMENT PARTNERS, HAS ALREADY EMBARKED ON SIGNIFICANT STEPS IN LINKING ZAMBIA TO THE REST OF THE SUB-REGION THROUGH THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE TRANSPORT INFRASTRUCTURE.
FOR INSTANCE, MY GOVERNMENT HAS COMMENCED THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE LINK-ZAMBIA 8,000 KM ROAD PROJECT AIMED AT CONNECTING ZAMBIA INTERNALLY AND INTER-LINKING IT TO EXISTING TRANSPORT CORRIDORS TO ALL EIGHT NEIGHBOURING COUNTRIES.
ONCE THIS PROJECT IS COMPLETE, IT WILL ENABLE ZAMBIA TAKE ADVANTAGE OF ITS UNIQUE CENTRAL LOCATION IN THE REGION TO FACILITATE, NOT ONLY THE MOVEMENT OF GOODS AT A LOWER COST, BUT EASE THE MOVEMENT OF OUR PEOPLE ACROSS THE REGION AS WELL.
IN ADDITION, ZAMBIA IN PARTNERSHIP WITH SOME NEIGHBOURING COUNTRIES, HAS ESTABLISHED ONE-STOP-BORDER POSTS THAT HAVE REDUCED TRANSIT TIME FOR GOODS VEHICLES FROM NINE DAYS TO AN AVERAGE OF NINE HOURS. WE ARE REPLICATING THIS BEST PRACTICE IN OTHER BORDER TOWNS.
DISTINGUISHED DELEGATES
ZAMBIA VALUES THE PARTNERSHIP OF ALL STAKEHOLDERS WHO ARE COLLABORATING WITH LANDLOCKED DEVELOPING COUNTRIES.
YOUR RENEWED PARTNERSHIP AND COOPERATION, AS EXHIBITED IN THE VIENNA PROGRAMME OF ACTION AND THE COMMITMENTS UNDER THE MEANS OF IMPLEMENTATION, ARE HIGHLY COMMENDABLE.
ZAMBIA IN PARTNERSHIP WITH LANDLOCKED AND TRANSIT COUNTRY NEIGHBOURS IN THE REGION AND WITH THE SUPPORT FROM DEVELOPMENT PARTNERS HAS ESTABLISHED TRANSPORT CORRIDORS, WHICH INCLUDE:
a. THE NACALA ROAD CORRIDOR LINKING ZAMBIA, MALAWI AND MOZAMBIQUE TO THE INDIAN OCEAN;
b. THE BEIRA ROAD CORRIDOR LINKING ZAMBIA, ZIMBABWE AND MOZAMBIQUE TO THE INDIAN OCEAN;
c. THE LOBITO ROAD CORRIDOR LINKING ZAMBIA TO THE ATLANTIC OCEAN, THROUGH THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO AND ANGOLA;
d. THE WALVIS-BAY CORRIDOR LINKING ZAMBIA AND THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO TO THE ATLANTIC OCEAN THROUGH NAMIBIA; AND
e. THE DAR-ES-SALAAM ROAD CORRIDOR AND THE TAZARA RAILWAY CORRIDOR LINKING ZAMBIA TO THE INDIAN OCEAN THROUGH TANZANIA.
YOUR EXCELLENCIES,
COMPETITIVE TRADE DEMANDS ADDING MORE VALUE TO COMMODITIES AND IT IS FOR THIS REASON THAT ZAMBIA, AS A COUNTRY AND COLLECTIVELY THROUGH SADC HAS EMBARKED ON AN INDUSTRIALIZATION STRATEGY TO ENSURE ADEQUATE VALUE-ADDITION TO CREATE QUALITY JOBS.
FURTHERMORE, THE COMMON MARKET FOR EASTERN AND SOUTHERN AFRICA, WHOSE HEADQUARTERS IS IN ZAMBIA, TOGETHER WITH THE SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY AND THE EAST AFRICAN COMMUNITY HAVE ENGAGED IN NEGOTIATIONS FOR A TRIPARTITE FREE TRADE AREA, A PROCESS MEANT TO CEMENT THE REGIONAL INTEGRATION AND ENHANCE REGIONAL TRADE.
I WISH TO UNDERSCORE THE NEED FOR THE UNITED NATIONS OFFICE FOR SOUTH-SOUTH COOPERATION TO FULFILL ITS PLEDGE AND COMMITMENT TO ESTABLISH FACILITY CENTRES IN A NUMBER OF LANDLOCKED DEVELOPING COUNTRIES FOR PURPOSES OF TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER.
WE ARE ALSO COGNIZANT OF THE FACT THAT WE NEED TO ADD MORE VALUE TO OUR PRODUCTS AND HENCE, IN THE SADC REGION, WE HAVE EMBARKED ON AN INDUSTRALISATION STRATEGY TO ENSURE VALUE-ADDITION TO OUR PRODUCTS AND EMPLOYMENT CREATION.
FURTHER, THROUGH THE COMESA-SADC-EAC TRIPARTITE, NEGOTIATIONS ARE UNDERWAY FOR A FREE TRADE AREA. THIS IS IN LINE WITH THE VIENNA PROGRAMME OF ACTION, WHICH CALLS FOR INCREASED PARTICIPATION OF LLDCS IN GLOBAL TRADE THROUGH DEVELOPING THEIR MANUFACTURING BASE AND DIVERSIFYING THEIR ECONOMIES.
DISTINGUISHED DELEGATES,
LET ME TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO THANK THE UNITED NATIONS, REPRESENTATIVES OF THE TRANSIT COUNTRIES AND DEVELOPMENT PARTNERS FOR THE SUPPORT THAT HAS BEEN RENDERED TO ZAMBIA SINCE HER ASSUMPTION OF THE CHAIRMANSHIP OF THE LANDLOCKED DEVELOPING COUNTRIES GROUP ON 17TH MARCH, 2014.
THE TIMING WAS CRUCIAL DUE TO THE PREPARATIONS FOR THE SECOND UNITED NATIONS CONFERENCE ON LLDCS AND NEGOTIATIONS FOR THE NEW UNITED NATIONS DEVELOPMENT AGENDA – THE POST 2015 DEVELOPMENT AGENDA.
ZAMBIA APPRECIATES THE HIGHLY VALUED PARTNERSHIP OF ALL STAKEHOLDERS WITH THE LANDLOCKED DEVELOPING COUNTRIES BECAUSE WITHOUT THIS RENEWED PARTNERSHIP AND COOPERATION AS EXHIBITED IN THE VIENNA PROGRAMME OF ACTION, NOTHING MUCH CAN BE REALISED.
LET ME ALSO EXTEND MY GRATITUDE TO THE HIGH REPRESENTATIVE FOR LEAST DEVELOPED COUNTRIES, LANDLOCKED DEVELOPING COUNTRIES AND SMALL ISLAND DEVELOPING STATES AND HIS STAFF FOR THE TECHNICAL SUPPORT PROVIDED TO OUR COUNTRIES IN PREPARATION FOR THE VIENNA CONFERENCE.
DISTINGUISHED DELEGATES,
MY WELCOMING YOU WOULD NOT BE COMPLETE IF I
DO NOT TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO INVITE YOU TO TAKE TIME OFF YOUR BUSY SCHEDULE TO EXPLORE THE BEAUTY AND NATURAL WONDERS OF LIVINGSTONE, ESPECIALLY THE SIGHT AND THRILL OF THE VICTORIA FALLS, THE CULTURALLY RICH MUKUNI VILLAGE AND THE WILD ANIMAL FILLED MOSI-O-TUNYA NATIONAL PARK.
I WISH YOU A PLEASANT STAY IN ZAMBIA AND A SAFE JOURNEY BACK TO YOUR RESPECTIVE DESTINATIONS.
I NOW DECLARE THIS MEETING OFFICIALLY OPEN.
I THANK YOU.

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