International Think Tank for Land Locked Development Countries's activity commenced in Mongolia
Minister for Foreign Affairs of Mongolia L.Bold and UNDP Permanent Representative to Mongolia Sezin Sinanoglu signed a project document for commencing activity of the International Think Tank for Landlocked Developing Countries to be carried out by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia in association with UN Development Program.
The overall goal of the International Think Tank is to use top-quality research and advocacy to improve the ability of landlocked developing countries to build capacity with a view to benefiting from the international trade including WTO negotiations, with the ultimate aim of raising human development and reducing poverty. It is the first international intergovernmental institution to set up in Mongolia and has a great political importance for Mongolia’s position on the international fora.
The idea of establishing a think tank for LLDCs originates in the International Ministerial Conference of Landlocked and Transit Developing Countries and Donor Countries and International Financial and Development Institutions on Transit Transport Cooperation, held in Almaty, Kazakhstan in 2003.
The idea of having a think tank for LLDCs became an initiative when the President of Mongolia addressed a meeting of LLDC heads of state in Havana in 2006, stating that: “if we want to maximize the efficiency of our coordinated efforts we should have an excellent analytical capacity. This we believe could be reached through establishing an international think-tank in one of our capitals. At Global Event of Landlocked Developing Countries and Transit Countries on Trade and Trade Facilitation, held in Ulaanbaatar in 2007, LLDCs agreed to “consider setting up an international think-tank which could be located in Ulaanbaatar. For this purpose, LLDC urge international organizations and donor counties to assist them in achieving this endeavor”.
The UN General Assembly in 2007 adopted the Ulaanbaatar declaration and in 2008 passed a resolution welcoming “the proposal to set up an international think tank in Ulaanbaatar to enhance the analytical capability of landlocked developing countries needed to maximize the efficiency of our coordinated efforts for the effective implementations of the international agreed provisions, particularly the Almaty Program of Action and the Millennium Development Goals”.
In April 2009 UNESCAP adopted a resolution entitled “Support for the establishment of an international think tank of landlocked developing countries”. The resolution invited governments, donor countries, UN and other agencies to support the development of the think tank in Ulaanbaatar; requested technical support from the Executive Secretary; and designated a focal point to provide support for the proposal.
In July 2009 ‘The International Think Tank for LLDC’ was officially launched in Ulaanbaatar by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during his visit to Mongolia.
The project is a part of the Government of Mongolia and UNDP agreement in the Country Programme Action Plan (CPAP) to cooperate in the operationalization of the International Think Tank (ITT) for Landlocked Developing Countries (ITT-LLDC) in Ulaanbaatar. The ITT is aimed at providing support for strategic interventions to enhance the development prospects of all LLDCs including Mongolia. Lack of territorial access to the sea and remoteness from major growth poles and markets is often translated into high transport and transit costs for LLDCs. These additional costs impose severe constraints on socio-economic development, including on country competitiveness and human development outcomes. In Mongolia’s case, the economy continues to be heavily influenced by its neighbors and therefore extremely vulnerable to their economic performance. As a landlocked country, Mongolia and other LLDCs need to look beyond their immediate neighbors and diversify their sources and destinations of imports and exports. Greater engagement in regional and global trade, better management of transport and transit arrangements and sharing knowledge and experiences will be critical. The ITT will provide a platform for such knowledge sharing, support for intra-LLDC collaboration and other South-South engagement as well as for global cooperation.
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