UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan, speaking from the perspective of a transit country, has underscored it’s commitment to providing easy, efficient and expeditious transit access to its landlocked neighbours and help them expand their international trade. “Promoting regional connectivity and to make Pakistan a regional transit hub is an integral part and central pillar of our national vision”, Pakistani Ambassador Abdullah Hussain Haroon told a high level plenary meeting to review the 2003 Almaty programme of action at UN Headquarters in New York on Friday.
The programme, adopted by a ministerial conference held in the Kazakh city for which it is named, outlines specific measures to help landlocked countries and their transit country neighbours bolster development and cooperation. Ambassador Haroon said Pakistan’s National Trade Corridor Programme aimed to improve and upgrade its existing logistics and transport infrastructure, including its highways and rail systems. It had also begun on constructing new road networks, seaports, airports and other related facilities.
In the services sector, he said, Pakistan was revamping its customs procedures, including the introduction of the Custom Reform Project. At the outset, the Pakistan ambassador said the unfolding global emergency, manifested by the triple crises of food, fuel and finance, was making the implementation challenge even more complex and daunting, not just for the landlocked developing countries but also their transit neighbours. An effective strategy to improve the transit transport system was particularly relevant in the wake of increasing commodity and oil prices.
While committed to helping landlocked developing countries with its limited means, Haroon said Pakistan believed a concerted effort was necessary to develop policies and mechanisms which would generate the necessary financial resources to invest in transit transport infrastructure projects. Those investments needed increased financial assistance from development partners, donor countries, and international financial and development institutions.
In addition, he said that an early completion of the Doha Round of World Trade Organization negotiations that would be oriented towards development was necessary. A successful round that would remove the distortions in the global trading regime and provide enhanced market access, particularly for landlocked developing countries, had never been more urgently needed. The sustained impasse in those talks was alarming, he said.-APP