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The Secretary-General, antónio Guterres pledged support to the UN group of countries that are not landlocked. Today, on the sidelines of the General Assembly session, he held a meeting with Ministers and permanent representatives of States that include Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

Even before the pandemic, landlocked developing countries were in a difficult situation. But, as the UN chief said, COVID-19 has radically worsened the situation in the field of trade, transport and sales.

Border crossing problems, quarantines, trade restrictions, disruption of global supply chains, and price shocks in trade markets all affected exports and imports.

"I know what deep consequences these problems have for you: they threaten economic growth, the labor market, the well - being of citizens and call into question the ability to implement the Global agenda for sustainable development and the Paris climate agreement," the Secretary-General said.

Antonio Guterres paid special attention to the problem of external debt faced by many landlocked developing countries. "As a result of the effects of COVID-19, global debt has jumped to an unprecedented level," the UN chief said. "In some of the most vulnerable countries, more than a quarter of the budget is spent on debt servicing." In order for these countries to recover and achieve the sustainable development goals, the Secretary General stressed, it is necessary to help them, including by writing off their debts. He also called for stopping illegal financial flows that divert much-needed funds.

The Secretary General believes that it is necessary to expand the potential of these countries in the field of trade, and this requires investment in transport infrastructure. The use of digital technologies and the expansion of regional cooperation, including with transit States, are also of key importance.

The UN chief also called on landlocked countries to include measures to contain climate change in their post-pandemic recovery plans, namely:

invest in green jobs and economic sectors;
do not support industries that pollute the planet;
do not subsidize the extraction and production of fossil fuels;
to take into account climate risks and related decisions in all plans and strategies;
act together;
leave no one behind.
Antonio Guterres promised that the UN will help countries solve the problems they face, including obtaining new technologies that would allow them to use low-carbon and safe vehicles, mobilize private and public funding for the necessary measures, and end their dependence on fossil fuels, which are subject to market fluctuations, and switch to renewable energy systems.

Photo by the press-Secretary of the UN