Brief History of the International Think Tank for LLDCs
The idea of establishing a think tank for LLDCs originates in the International Ministerial Conference of Landlocked and Transit Developing Countries and Donor Countries and International Financial and Development Institutions on Transit Transport Cooperation, held in Almaty, Kazakhstan in 2003. Following General Assembly resolution 56/180 concerning “Specific actions related to the particular needs and problems of landlocked developing countries”, the Conference addressed the transit-related, infrastructural and other problems facing LLDCs. After the conference, an inter-Agency meeting endorsed the Almaty Programme of Action, which aimed to improve policies; enhance infrastructure; improve international access for LLDC goods; generate additional technical assistance; and monitor and follow up on measures taken.
The Almaty Programme of Action on LLDCs therefore responded to the perceived need for more research and advocacy by mandating the launch of a think tank to study the issues surrounding trade in LLDCs.
The idea of having a think tank for LLDCs became an initiative when the President of Mongolia addressed a meeting of LLDC heads of state in Havana in 2006, stating that: “if we want to maximize the efficiency of our coordinated efforts we should have an excellent analytical capacity. This we believe could be reached through establishing an international think-tank in one of our capitals. Putting such a ‘brain’ in place we could build optimal strategies on any matter of our interest and avoid duplication of our actions and endeavors”.
A Global Event of Landlocked Developing Countries and Transit Countries on Trade and Trade Facilitation, held in Ulaanbaatar in 2007, conducted a mid-term review of the Almaty Programme. At the conference, LLDCs agreed to “consider setting up an international think-tank which could be located in Ulaanbaatar. For this purpose, LLDCs urge international organisations and donor counties to assist them in achieving this endeavor”.
The UN General Assembly in 2007 adopted the Ulaanbaatar declaration and in 2008 passed a resolution welcoming “the proposal to set up an international think tank in Ulaanbaatar to enhance the analytical capability of landlocked developing countries needed to maximize the efficiency of our coordinated efforts for the effective implementations of the international agreed provisions, particularly the Almaty Programme of Action and the Millennium Development Goals”.
In April 2009 UNESCAP adopted a resolution entitled “Support for the establishment of an international think tank of landlocked developing countries”. The resolution invited governments, donor countries, UN and other agencies to support the development of the think tank in Ulaanbaatar; requested technical support from the Executive Secretary; and designated a focal point to provide support for the proposal.
In July 2009 ‘The International Think Tank for LLDC’ was officially launched in Ulaanbaatar by H.E. Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary-General, and H.E. S.Batbold, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia.
In 2009 the UN-General Assembly adopted the resolution A/RES/64/214, welcoming the establishment of the international think tank for the landlocked developing countries in Ulaanbaatar.
As pointed out in the Mongolian President’s 2006 address, quality analysis of the common obstacles is essential, as its identification of solutions. Provided that research is performed to a high standard, the centralisation of policy work in a single location will help avoid duplication, coordinate policy, and build common efforts to overcome the difficulties facing the group of Landlocked Developing Countries and help harness opportunities.