Rutgers Model ong>Unitedong> ong>Nationsong> 2006 7 In October 1994, the ong>Unitedong> ong>Nationsong> International Symposium on Trade Efficiency was held in Columbus, Ohio, and sought to technical assistance in trade facilitation as well as “identification measures to improve the efficiency of international trade transaction and provide a favorable international transport and trade-related environment.” 13 A major development resulting form the conference was the improvement of the Automated Systems for Customs Data. At the time, ASYCUDA sought to develop and modernize “customs including the automation of the customs process and procedures. It aims to achieve trade facilitation by accelerating the clearance process through the use of information technology.” 14 Since then, newer, and more capable versions of ASYCUDA have replaced earlier versions and are in the pilot phase at multiple ports. Almaty ong>Conferenceong> As concern for developing landlocked countries grew, the need for a concrete dialogue on how to address the growth problem became apparent. In August 2003, the International Ministerial ong>Conferenceong> of Landlocked and Transit Developing Countries and Donor Countries and International Financial and Development Institution on Transit Transport Cooperation was held in Almaty, Kazakhstan. The primary outcome of the conference, called the Almaty ong>Conferenceong> for short, was the Almaty Programme of Action, emphasizing that “infrastructure development and maintenance, transit policy issues, and trade facilitation measures,” 15 were necessary for nations develop their economies. The plan also lays out the framework for transit transport cooperation for landlocked and transit developing states. One of the most important aspects of efficient transit transport between nations is a healthy partnership between neighboring states. According to the Almaty Programme of Action, “efficient transit transport systems can be established through genuine partnerships between landlocked and transit developing 13 UNCTAD Technical Assistance in Trade Facilication, ASYCUDA.org 14 Ibid 13. 15 “Landlocked Developing Countries,” ong>Unitedong> ong>Nationsong>, http://www.un.org/special-rep/ohrlls/lldc/default.htm, (accessed 10 February 2006).
Rutgers Model ong>Unitedong> ong>Nationsong> 2006 8 countries and their development partners” 16 at different regional levels. These partnerships should take into account the macroeconomic environment of both nations, the role of the private sector in transit transport services, and the extent of regional cooperation. 17 Five Priorities in the Almaty Programme of Action • Policy Improvements – reducing customs bureaucracy and fees, designed to cut costs and travel days for landlocked countries’ exports • Improved rail, road, air and pipeline infrastructure – projects will reflect local transport modes; in Africa, road is the predominant mode of transport; in South Asia, rail is more common • International trade measures – to give preferential treatment to landlocked countries’ goods, making them more competitive • Technical and financial international assistance – donor countries will lend knowhow and money to landlocked and transit countries for infrastructure and policy improvements • Monitoring and follow-up on agreements – measurable criteria, such as travel days and costs, will be used, and an annual review before the General Assembly is possible. Source: Land Locked Developing Countries. http://www.un.org/special-rep/ohrlls/lldc/default.htm The Almaty Programme of Action calls for specific actions with regard to landlocked and transit developing countries. The primary objective of the Programme of Action is “a new global framework for action for developing efficient transit transport systems in landlocked and transit developing countries, taking into account the interests of both landlocked and transit developing countries.” 18 These actions mainly suggest increased financial assistance and appropriation for the development of infrastructure and transit systems, with special attention given to the role of the private sector. There is also much concern about the status of railway systems in these areas, as they have always held a crucial role in the transport realm, since they link different nations to ports. Most developing countries have a poor rail transit system made up of poorly maintained trains. The Almaty Programme of Action recommends that governments adopt a universal protocol for international rail transport. 16 “A/58/388 International Ministerial ong>Conferenceong> of Landlocked and Transit Developing Countries and Donor Countries and International Financial and Development Institution on Transit Transport.” 23 September 2003. http://www.un.org/special-rep/ohrlls/imc/A-58-388-final.pdf (Accessed 17 February 2006). 17 Ibid 11-12. 18 Ibid.