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04. November 2014

STATEMENT BY AMBASSADOR TEBOGO SEOKOLO, PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF SOUTH AFRICA ON THE OCCASION OF THE SECOND UN CONFERENCE ON LANDLOCKED DEVELOPING COUNTRIES, VIENNA, AUSTRIA, 3RD TO 5TH NOVEMBER 2014

Mr President,

I would like to align my delegation’s remarks with the statement delivered by the distinguished representative of the Plurinational State of Bolivia on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.

Let me from the onset thank the Government and people of Austria for hosting this United Nations Second Conference on Landlocked Developing Countries and for their continued hospitality to us.

In the same vein, I wish to congratulate you as the President of this Conference and express our hope that the deliberations in these three days will bear the necessary fruit of success for the citizens of landlocked developing countries who are watching these proceedings and awaiting the outcomes hereof with hope.

Mr President,

As we are gathered here to deliberate on the developmental priorities for landlocked developing countries, there is a veil of sadness that is hovering over us because of the void left by the passing away of Zambian President Michael Sata who would have addressed this gathering as the Chair of landlocked developing countries. While acknowledging the sterling leadership displayed by Zambia in advocating for the interests of LLDCs, it is our hope that our engagements during this Conference will bring to fruition the objectives President Sata worked so hard for, as the Chair of LLDCs.

Mr President,

The importance of this Conference and its outcomes, especially the Programme of Action for LLDCs, cannot be overstated. It is one of the crucial tools for articulating and addressing the development aspirations of LLDCs. The fact that the Programme of Action for LLDCs for the decade 2014 - 2024 was crafted by LLDCs themselves requires of us to give it that much more significance, because it articulates the vision and ambitions of landlocked developing countries.

South Africa furthermore sees the merit and role of every priority area that has been articulated in the Programme of Action for LLDCs. These priority areas have been identified by LLDCs themselves as crucial for the attainment of their ambitions. They furthermore constitute some of the building blocks that are critical if the landlockedness; lack of direct territorial access to the sea and isolation from international markets is to be effectively overcome.

Mr President,

United Nations member states will in the next several months embark on a task of crafting an agenda that will guide the international community’s development plans and actions beyond 2015. The development agenda that member states will adopt in September 2015 will not be meaningful if it does not adequately reflect and address the development challenges faced by landlocked developing countries and developing countries in general. The outcome document of this Conference will serve as a good basis for issues that could be articulated in the development agenda in addressing these specific development challenges.

The development agenda beyond 2015 should therefore adequately address the need to build the capacity of landlocked developing countries and provide the necessary means to effectively implement the identified development imperatives. The UN development agenda beyond 2015 should also be closely aligned with regional priorities. With regard to Africa, it should complement existing initiatives, such as the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).

A development agenda without addressing adequate Means of Implementation will be meaningless. South Africa therefore expects that the ambition displayed by landlocked developing countries has to be supported by a meaningful global partnership for development including a strengthening of official development assistance (ODA) and the fulfillment of past commitments by development partners.

In conclusion Mr President,

South Africa is a transit country for Lesotho, Swaziland, Botswana and Zimbabwe. Our attendance and participation in this Conference is therefore informed by our acknowledgement, appreciation and commitment to partner landlocked developing countries not only to take stock but also to address the developmental challenges they face.

Thank you.

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