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Delivered by Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana

22 April 2024

ES ESCAP

Excellency Madam Battsetseg Batmunkh, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia,

Excellencies, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen,

First of all, I would like to express my appreciation to H.E. Ms. Battsetseg Batmunkh, for thoughtfully providing the context of our discussions today.

I also thank our co-organizers, the Permanent Mission of Mongolia to ESCAP and Mr. Dulguun Damdin-Od, Executive Director of the International Think Tank for LLDC, for your valuable partnership and support.

In Asia and the Pacific, 12 of our member States are landlocked developing countries facing many challenges such as structural impediments that bring unique and significant challenges in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

At the same landlocked countries also differ significantly in economic activity, population dynamics as well as geographic features.

Innovative and tailored solutions, many of which are digitally driven, are therefore very important key in providing LLDCs with the practical tools to address these challenges and unlock their full potential.

In light of the upcoming Third UN Conference on LLDCs, may highlight three action points to seize the opportunity, particularly at a time when progress of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is alarmingly slow.

First, we need to leverage innovative solutions to promote sustainable regional connectivity. A focus on greater digitalization in connectivity sectors, including ICT, trade, transport and energy, will be critical for the effective engagement and participation of LLDCs in the global economy and in global value chains.

In this regard, ESCAP is pleased to supporting 12 Asian LLDCs in their implementation of the Vienna Programme of Action, while also helping to accelerate digital connectivity through the Asia-Pacific Information Superhighway initiative.

Also, there must be an increase of financing to bring innovations to scale. Incentivizing private sector investments and finding ways to pool such financing with the public sector, philanthropic actors and multilateral funding sources will be needed amid the continuing post-pandemic fiscal challenging situation.

Likewise, it will be critical to expand support to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), which most often are the leading drivers not only of innovation but also of trade, employment and economic development in many of the LLDCs.

Lastly, it is essential to strengthen regional cooperation to accelerate digital innovation through the Asia-Pacific Information Superhighway Platform (AP-IS).

I am pleased to inform you that ESCAP and the Government of Kazakhstan will organize the Asia-Pacific Ministerial Conference on Digital Inclusion and Transformation in Astana from 3 to 5 September 2024, to commit to a visionary and ambitious blueprint for regional digital cooperation.

I request you all to extend your support to Kazakhstan as a fellow landlocked country by nominating your respective digital Ministers to the Conference.

I look forward to your insights through this side event in supporting LLDCs to harness the power of digital innovations for sustainable development.

Thank you very much.

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