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WCO participates in Ministerial Meeting of Landlocked Developing Countries and Global Challenges Summit 2018 during the 11th session of Astana Economic Forum

28 mayo 2018

At the invitation of the UN Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), the Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs) and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS) and the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the WCO participated in the Ministerial Meeting on Trade and Transport and 11th session of the Astana Economic Forum held on 16-17 May 2018 in Astana, Kazakhstan.

The opening ceremony of the Ministerial meeting was attended and contributed by the Mr. Zhenis Kassymbek, Minister of Investments and Development of Kazakhstan, the Ambassador Federico Alberto González Franco – Vice Minister of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Paraguay (Chair and Coordinator of the Group of LLDCs in Geneva), Ms. Fekitamoeloa Katoa ‘Utoikamanu, Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for the LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS, Mr. Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, Mr. Yonov Frederick Agah, Deputy Director-General of the World Trade Organization.

The theme of the Ministerial meeting was “Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Landlocked Developing Countries through Connectivity and Trade Facilitation”. The Forum debated on the impact of high trade and transit costs resulting from the lack of territorial access to the sea, isolation, and remoteness from world markets, on overall sustainable and socio-economic development as well as on trade competitiveness of the 32 landlocked developing countries of (LLDCs). Discussions also concentrated on measures how to reduce such high costs and improve the export competitiveness of the LLDCs highlighting the crucial role of the Vienna Programme of Action (VPoA) for LLDCs for the Decade 2014-2024, and the importance of implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement which has a direct impact on effective transit and customs procedures.

WCO Capacity Building Director, Ernani Checcucci participated as a panelist at the Meeting’s session on “Promoting International Trade in the LLDCs and enhancing the implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement” bringing the WCO approach to delivering a tailor-made support to its Members through the Mercator Programme in the implementation of the WTO Trade facilitation agreement. The WCO Capacity building Director presented the main aspects and positive effects of the tailor-made support for Members and informed that already 70 countries benefitted since the Programme launch.

The aforementioned panel session also benefitted from the UN-OHRLLS’ overview of the trade facilitation performance of the LLDCs, speakers from UNESCAP, World Bank Group, International Telecommunication Union and OECD.

According to the programme of the Ministerial meeting, the WCO delegation also participated in the Global Challenges Summit 2018 held on May 17 in Astana, Kazakhstan. The Global Summit was held on the basis of the Astana Economic Forum which had its XI session this year. The Astana Economic Forum is an annual Eurasian business event organized annually by the Government of Kazakhstan.

The main plenary session of the Global Challenges Summit was attended and contributed by the President of Kazakhstan Mr. Nursultan Nazarbayev, Ex-President of France Mr. François Hollande, 8th Secretary General of the United Nations Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Co-founder of Apple Mr. Steve Wozniak, Former Chairman of Goldman Sachs AM Mr. Jim O’Neill and other high-level panelists. The global trends which drove the Global Challenges Summit 2018 in Astana were the following – economic growth, the stability of the resource base, digitalization and urbanization, longevity and financial revolution, global security, and cultural shifts.

At the Global Challenges Summit 2018, President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev named five key megatrends of the world development. The first megatrend that he mentioned was the digitization of all aspects of humanity's activity. Another four include the energy revolution (movement of the world towards clean energy), the rapid growth of the population, change in the pace and nature of urbanization and transformation of the global labor market.