The project is a part of 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 platform for such knowledge sharing, support for intra-LLDC collaboration and other South-South engagement as well as for global cooperation.
This project will contribute to this outcome through the operationalization of the ITT which will play a role in the sharing of experiences, information exchange, consultation, brokering and common positioning on pro-poor trade policies, transport and transit-related development strategies for LLDCs.
Under the interim director nominated by the Mongolian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and with UNDP support, it is envisaged that the project will be implemented in parallel with ongoing processes of signing the Multilateral Agreement by the LLDC parties at the UN in New York and ratification in the respective LLDC capitals.
Brief History of ITT
2003: The idea of establishing a think tank for LLDCs originates in the International Ministerial Conference of Landlocked and Transit Developing Countries, Donor Countries and International Financial and Development Institutions on Transit Transport Cooperation, held in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
2006: The idea of having a think tank for LLDCs became an initiative when the President of Mongolia addressed a meeting of LLDCs heads of state in Havana.
2007: A Global Event of Landlocked Developing Countries and Transit Countries on Trade and Trade Facilitation, held in Ulaanbaatar conducted a mid-term review of the Almaty Programme. At the conference, LLDCs agreed to set up an international think-tank, which could be located in Ulaanbaatar.
2007-2008: 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 maximise the efficiency of our coordinated efforts for the effective implementations of the internationally agreed provisions, particularly the Almaty Programme of Action and the Millennium Development Goals”.
April 2009: UNESCAP adopted a resolution entitled “Support for the Establishment of an International Think Tank for Landlocked Developing Countries”.
July 2009: ‘The International Think Tank for LLDCs’ was officially launched in Ulaanbaatar by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and H.E. S.Batbold, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia.
September 2013: The official website of the ITT was launched.
December 2013: A lecture titled “Economic Development in a Land-Locked Country: The Case of Lao PDR”, organised by the ITT and the Japanese Embassy in Mongolia, was given by Mr. Norihiko Yamada, Researcher of Developing Economies, JETRO.
2014: A three-year project document for “Operationalization of the International Think Tank for LLDCs” was signed between the UNDP and the Government of Mongolia on January 15.
Goal and objectives
UNDAF Outcome(s): Inclusive and equitable economic development contributing towards poverty alleviation.
Expected Output(s): Pro-Poor and trade policies supported, through the promotion of global and South-south Cooperation.
The 3-year project for the operationalization of the International Think Tank will work within the implementation of the following outputs and activities:
1. Establishment of a fully operational and well-resourced ITT within a secure legal framework
- Drafting of the Charter of the International Think Tank including its Modus Operandi;
- Networking of the International Think Tank;
- Financial capacity strengthened;
- Improvement of the legal framework of the ITT;
2. Substantive outputs delivered in the form of research papers and used for policy debate
- Negotiating capacity of Mongolia and LLDCs is to be improved;
- State of the art ITT’s web site and interactive web based platform are to be accessible worldwide;
3. Substantive outputs delivered from the ITT are to be used for policy debate and design of the Government of Mongolia
- Research papers and reports are to be translated into Mongolian and used for policy debate and design by the Government of Mongolia;
- Special events are to be organized in Mongolia;
- Sea access for Mongolia is to be explored;
Outputs will be demonstrated by:
- Strengthened capacities in knowledge;
- Established institutional framework (legal and technical);
- Availability of tools and best practices;
- The ITT attended the High-level Asia-Pacific Policy Dialogue on the implementation of the Almaty Programme of Action and other Development Gaps faced by the Landlocked Developing Countries April 12-14, 2011.
- The ITT organized a lecture for LLDCs on "Economic Development in a Land-Locked Country the Case of Lao PDR" Lecture by Mr. Norihiko Yamada, JETRO, Dec, 2013.
- The ITT invited the renowned Professor Mr. Proshanto K. Mukherjee of the World Maritime University to hold a public lecture on the “Law of the Sea and the Interests of LLDCs” at the ITT for LLDCs as a result of its cooperation with the Mongolian Maritime Administration under the Ministry of Road and Transport of Mongolia.
- The ITT organized a High-Level International Workshop on “WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation Implications for LLDCs" on June 2, 2014, in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. It presented its first ever analytical paper on a topic of LLDC relevance.
- The ITT organized its first ever Luncheon event for the Group of LLDCs at the United Nations HQ in New York on September 9, 2015.
- The ITT organized its first and second luncheon event for the Asian LLDCs at ESCAP, introducing and providing updated information on the current status and activities of the International Think Tank for LLDCs, United Nations Convention Centre in Bangkok for participants of the Fifth Meeting of Asia Pacific Foreign Direct Investment Network on 2 November 2015 and May 2016.
- On the invitation of the MFA of Tajikistan, Mr.Odbayar Erdenetsogt, Interim Director of the ITT for LLDCs, held a presentation for young diplomats of the MFA of Tajikistan.
- National Workshop on Mainstreaming the Vienna Programme of Action was organized in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, on April 27 and 28, 2016.
- The ITT organized a seminar on Mongolia's Trade Policy Issues in Ulaanbaatar in cooperation with the Economic Research Institute for North-east Asia (ERINA) on 13 June 2016.
- The ITT organized a workshop on “DRY PORTS AND LANDLOCKED COUNTRIES” in cooperation with the Czech Government since this topic enjoys significant relevance to LLDCs , 11 October 2016.
- The joint letter by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia and UN-ESCAP has been sent out to the LLDC Governments in Asia Pacific region calling on each country to accede to the Multilateral Agreement on the establishment of an ITT at their earliest convenience.
- The joint letter by Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia, UNDP and UN-OHRLLS has been sent out to LLDC Governments calling on each country to accede to the Multilateral Agreement on the establishment of an ITT at their earliest convenience.
- The Interim Secretariat of the International Think Tank for LLDCs in cooperation with the UN Office of the High Representative for Landlocked Developing Countries organized a global press conference in New York on October 6 on the occasion of the entry into force of the Multilateral Agreement for the establishment of an ITT for LLDCs.
- The First Meeting Of The Board Of Governors Of The International Think Tank For LLDCs concluded successfully on 21-22 May, 2018 in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
- The inaugural meeting of the International Think Tank For Landlocked Developing Countries was successfully organized on 11-12 June 2018 in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.