Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs)

    Countries which have no direct access to the sea, or which are entirely surrounded by land are called landlocked countries. The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea defines a landlocked country as a state which has no seacoast.

    Landlocked countries have no access to the ocean at their borders. A country surrounded by landlocked countries is known as a double-landlocked country. Uzbekistan and Liechtenstein are the only doubly landlocked countries.

    As imports and exports must be shipped through other states, most landlocked countries are remote from world markets. It causes rise of additional costs which reduce the competitiveness of their products in overseas markets.

    Lack of access to the seas also causes legal, administrative and political problems. They have to negotiate to meet their transit requirements.

    Challenges Faced by LLDCs


    The LLDCs have to depend on the transit countries for their access to the seacoast. During imports and exports, they use the infrastructure and the administration of transit countries.

    High Transit Costs

    Trade costs are higher in LLCs than in other countries owing to high transit costs.

    Inadequate Trade and Investment

    LLDCs cannot compete in the global market due to high transit costs and they perform poorly in attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).

    Weak Infrastructure

    Weak internal and regional infrastructure deters LLDCs from taking full advantage of global market opportunities.

    Lack of Administrative Coordination

    Different transit countries have different transport rules and restrictions which results in increased transport costs of the LLDCs.

    Problem of Human Development and Brain-drain

    Due to lesser opportunities for growth, human development is comparatively weaker in LLDCs. The educated and skilled human resources prefer to go overseas for better opportunities for their growth.

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    Almaty Program of Action Regarding LLDCs

    The International Ministerial Conference of Landlocked and Transit Developing Countries was held in Almaty, Kazakhstan in August 2003 to address special needs of LLDCs to effectively participate in the international trading system.

    The program aims to:

    1. Secure access to and from the sea by all means of transport
    2. Reduce costs and improve services so as to increase the competitiveness of exports
    3. Reduce the delivery cost of imports
    4. Reduce loss, damage and deterioration en route
    5. Address problems of uncertainties and delays in trade routes
    6. Open the way for export expansion

    Five Priorities of Almaty Program of Action were:

    1. Policy improvements
    2. Improved rail, road, air and pipeline infrastructure
    3. International trade measures
    4. Technical and financial international assistance
    5. Monitoring and follow-up on agreements

    Rights of Landlocked Developing Countries

    According to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982, rights of landlocked developing countries are:

    1. Right of access to and from the sea
    2. Freedom of transport through the territory of transit states by all means of transport
    3. Right to participate upon an equitable basis in the exploitation of natural resources of sea
    4. Right of innocent passage


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