Strengthening ICT Connectivity and Digital Inclusion of Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs)
United Nations Office of High Representative for LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS / International Telecommunication Union
The 32 landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) face unique development challenges derived from their geographical positioning. They lack direct territorial access to the sea, are remote and isolated from world markets and depend on neighbouring and coastal countries for access to undersea cables and international internet bandwidths, and for their communication connectivity. Long routes, complicated administrative transit procedures, multiple border crossings and inadequate infrastructure all substantially increase the transport and trade transaction costs incurred by LLDCs.
ICT plays a particularly valuable role in helping LLDCs tackle these issues and in addressing the three pillars of sustainable development. The digitalization of many logistics services and regulatory border controls increases the efficiency and the ease of doing trade. ICTs can assist the LLDCs improve efficiency and competitiveness and to exploit economies of scale and network effects, to raise labour and capital productivity, and to access global value chains. They make it easier for businesses or consumers to connect with potential trade partners and get information about regulations and standards as well as about consumer preferences. Goods and services can increasingly be purchased or delivered through digital platforms.
The importance of ICT for LLDCs is highlighted in the Vienna Programme of Action for Landlocked Developing Countries for the Decade 2014-2024 (VPoA) which calls on LLDCs to make broadband policy universal, promote open and affordable internet access for all and actively engage to address the digital divide.
Despite the importance of ICTs to LLDCs, they still lag behind other groups of countries on ICT indicators, there is also significant digital divides between the LLDCs, between rural and urban areas including the gender digital divide. The United Nations General Assembly decided to convene a comprehensive high-level midterm review on the implementation of the Vienna Programme of Action to be held in December 2019.
The aim of the event is to take stock of progress and share best practices in promoting ICT connectivity and digitalization of LLDCs, identify constraints and suggest recommendations to help improve the connectivity of LLDCs, to support their efforts towards achieving the SDGs; and bridge the digital divide. The event is expected to come up with concrete recommendations which will feed into the preparations of the Midterm Review of the Vienna Programme of Action.
Vision for WSIS Beyond 2015, towards 2025
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognizes the importance of ICT as an enabler to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and recognizes LLDCs as one of the vulnerable groups of countries. The VPoA is an integral part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The session will provide recommendations that will feed into the development of WSIS towards 2025.
Dr. Cosmas Zavazava, Chief of Department, Project Support and Knowledge Management, ITU
Mr. Sandagdorj Erdenebileg, Chief, Policy Development, Coordination, Monitoring and Reporting Service, UN-OHRLLS
Mr. James Howe, Senior Adviser, Sector and Enterprise Competitiveness, International Trade Center
Mr. Ruddy J. Flores Monterrey, Deputy Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of the Plurinational State of Bolivia to the United Nations and other International Organizations in Geneva
Ms. Donna Bethea-Murphy, Senior Vice President of Global Regulatory Policy and Development, Inmarsat
Mr. Genaro Cruz, Regulatory Specialist, GSMA
Session's link to WSIS Action Lines
- C1. The role of public governance authorities and all stakeholders in the promotion of ICTs for development
- C2. Information and communication infrastructure
- C3. Access to information and knowledge
- C4. Capacity building
- C6. Enabling environment
- C11. International and regional cooperation
Discussions in the session will discuss the role of governments and other stakeholders in supporting ICT development in LLDCs (C1) in particular how to foster an enabling environment for ICT development (C6). Discussions will also focus on how to increase information and communication infrastructure (C2) and how to increase access to information and knowledge (C3). It will also discuss the capacity building needs of LLDCs on ICT development (C4) and international and regional cooperation in support of ICT development in LLDCs (C11).
Session's link to Sustainable Development Process
- Goal 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere
- Goal 2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
- Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all
- Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
- Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
- Goal 6: Ensure access to water and sanitation for all
- Goal 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
- Goal 8: Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all
- Goal 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
- Goal 10: Reduce inequality within and among countries
- Goal 11: Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
- Goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
- Goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
- Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources
- Goal 15: Sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss
- Goal 16: Promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies
- Goal 17: Revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development
The session will discuss how to enhance ICT development in LLDCs for the achievement of all the SDGs.