UNGA president warns of risk of landlocked developing countries being left behind

Source: Xinhua| 2019-12-06 04:02:59|Editor: yan

UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) — United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) President Tijjani Muhammad-Bande on Thursday warned of the risk that many of the landlocked developing countries might be left behind if necessary measures are not taken.

Speaking at the High-level Midterm Review on the Implementation of the Vienna Programme of Action for Landlocked Developing Countries for the Decade 2014-2024, Muhammad-Bande said that “landlocked developing countries are at risk of being left behind.”

Many of these countries are below the range of high human development according to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and one third of their populations live in extreme poverty, he added.

“Many of these nations continue to struggle in the shadows of historical injustices,” said the UNGA president.

Landlocked developing countries are highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, desertification, land degradation and drought, he said. “Just nine months ago, the landlocked states of Malawi and Zimbabwe were impacted by Cyclone Idai, despite being many miles from the sea.”

Undernourishment in these countries reached an alarming rate of 23.2 percent in 2016, and food insecurity affects more than half of their populations. Forty percent of their populations also do not have access to electricity. “We cannot let the digital divide deepen,” the UNGA president noted.

It is important to take action to “remove all legal, social and economic barriers to achieve gender equality,” he said.

“To ensure sustainable development for generations to come, we must work together now,” he added.

Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.