The impact of climate change, desertification and land degradation on the development prospects of landlocked developing countries
Landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) are disadvantaged in a myriad of ways and they have special needs which require special attention. Challenges such as undiversified economies, vulnerability to climate change and climate variability, land degradation and desertification, among others, are undermining the economic potential of many LLDCs. This has been exacerbated by weak export base of many LLDCs centered on a few primary agricultural and/ or mineral commodities. Further, because of their physical location markedly characterized by lack of access to sea ports, LLDCs are popularly referred to as "??prisoners of geography"??. This leaves most LLDCs at a distinct disadvantage as they cannot compete in international trade markets. Added together, this has created a situation in which LLDCs are among the poorest of the poor. In order to address this specific challenge, the United Nations First International Ministerial Conference of Landlocked and Transit Developing Countries and Development Partners held in Almaty, Kazakhstan, in 2003, adopted the Almaty Programme of Action (APoA) whose central thrust was to: Address the Special Needs of Landlocked Developing Countries within a New Global Framework for Transit Transport Cooperation for Landlocked and Transit Developing Countries.
This comprehensive global partnership programme was intended to address essential transit transport problems and facilitate trade for LLDCs. Under the resolution 66/214 of the United Nations General Assembly, a ten-year review of the Almaty Programme of Action was undertaken in November 2014 to take stock on the performance of LLDCs over the past decade and adopted the Vienna Programme of Action (VPoA). One lesson learnt during the implementation of the APoA is that gains and momentum made by the LLDCs can be subdued unless threats posed by climate change, land degradation and desertification are seriously addressed.
This study, therefore, seeks to draw the attention of the international community, policy makers and development agencies to the severe impact that climate change, desertification and land degradation has on the economies of LLDCs. Despite their huge negative impact on LLDCs, these issues have not received the international attention and priority they deserve. This study seeks to identify LLDC's priority areas on climate change, land degradation and desertification that could be included in their new development agenda. In order to achieve this objective, the study: (a) provides a comprehensive review of the impact of climate change, desertification and land degradation on LLDCs, (b) reviews national, regional and international interventions which have been implemented in LLDCs; (c) identifies best practices, lessons learnt and emerging opportunities and (d) proffers recommendations for inclusion in a new development agenda for LLDCs which will assist them to ameliorate the negative impacts of climate change, desertification and land degradation.
Recommendations on priorities of LLDCs on climate change, desertification, land degradation and drought - what has emerged from this study is that there is an imperative need to give LLDCs special attention in as far as the issues of climate change, land degradation and desertification are concerned. Although these issues have generally attracted considerable attention of the global community, there is no special focus on LLDCs, yet these countries are among the worst affected. Based on this review, a number of lessons, priorities and recommendations are drawn which can help shape further policy debates and concrete future plans of action. It is important to build the resilience of LLDCs to withstand the impact; build their adaptive capacity; and mitigation capacity.