FAO Liaison Office in New York

Innovative, tailored investments at the service of Landlocked Developing Countries


During yesterday’s Annual Meeting of Foreign Ministers of the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs), FAO Director-General QU Dongyu underscored the Organization’s commitment to addressing the sustainable development and food security challenges inherent to LLDCs

24 September, New York – On the sidelines of the high-level segment of the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly, the 20th Annual Meeting of Foreign Ministers of Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs) served to provide an overview of the recurrent challenges among LLDCs in working towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Vienna Programme of Action for LLDCs.

Organized under the theme “Leaving no one behind: Sustainable recovery from COVID-19 in LLDCs and accelerated implementation of the Vienna Programme of Action and the Special Roadmap,” the ministerial meeting welcomed FAO Director-General QU Dongyu, who spoke of the distinct challenges faced by LLDCs in pursuing sustainable development and ensuring a more efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable food future for their people, especially in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“FAO is committed to working together with the international community to address the special challenges of LLDCs,” Qu said, adding that mobilizing support and resources for LLDCs is more pressing than ever, with the most recent FAO projections pointing to a 2030 scenario where about 30 million more people may face hunger due to the ripple effects of the pandemic. 

Landlocked Developing Countries, alongside Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS), remain the notably vulnerable to the aftermath effects of the pandemic, the Director-General stressed. 

Adding value through coordination, pooled resources and knowhow 

The ministerial meeting also welcomed the recent Report of the Secretary-General on the Implementation of the Vienna Programme of Action for LLDCs 2014–2024. His Excellency Mr Earle Courtenay Rattray, Under-Secretary-General and High Representative on LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS, discussed the report and the way forward for the Roadmap on the Accelerated Implementation of the Vienna Programme of Action for LLDCs, especially in the wake of the pandemic.

The Director-General underscored FAO’s continued commitment to the Vienna Programme of Action, including but not limited to (i) the strengthening of national statistical systems specific to food security and nutrition; (ii) the acceleration of inclusive growth through innovations, such as blockchain and other digital technologies to explain linkages along agri-food value chains; and (iii) the enhancement of access to adequate, affordable, nutritious and healthy food for all. 

As part of the Roadmap and the way forward is FAO’s close coordination with the UN Office of the High Representative for LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS (UN-OHRLLS), addressing both the immediate needs and the core drivers of food insecurity. 

One flagship matchmaking knowledge exchange platform – the Hand-in-Hand Initiative – was launched by FAO, an initiative that is well poised to rising to the needs of countries like LLDCs, and that represents a timely forum through which to join efforts and galvanize action with LLDC governments, UN-OHRLLS and other partners.

“In 2019, FAO launched the Hand-in-Hand Initiative, an evidence-based, country-led and country-owned initiative to accelerate agri-food systems transformation and sustainable rural development to eradicate poverty, end all forms of malnutrition, and reduce inequality,” the Director-General explained. He pointed to how this Initiative prioritizes policy and investment support where national capacities and international assistance may be most needed, such as in LLDCs, including as a result of natural or mand-made crises. 

To date, 45 countries have joined the Hand-in-Hand Initiative; one-third of them are LLDCs, explained the FAO Director-General. These countries are: Afghanistan, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Chad, Ethiopia, Lao PDR, Malawi, Mali, Nepal, Niger, Rwanda, Tajikistan, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

"With an innovative matchmaking approach to strengthen existing and attract new donor relationships, the Initiative builds complementary partnerships to mobilize additional means of implementation through concrete investments," Director-General Qu said, adding that FAO’s new Strategic Framework 2022–2031 aims to deliver on these very priorities, based on the guiding pillars of better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life for all, leaving no one behind.

Yesterday’s event served to highlight FAO’s steadfast commitment to working with UN partners and with LLDCs on addressing pressing needs that stand in the way of a better food future for their people. From a high dependency on unstable food supply chains to meet local food needs, increasingly recurrent climate hazards, and economic downturns in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, working hand-in-hand and tapping into each other’s expertise and resources remains paramount, not least during the Decade of Action to deliver on the SDGs by 2030.

The ministerial meeting was chaired by His Excellency Mr Mukhtar Tileuberdi, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan, in his capacity as Global Chair of the Group of LLDCs. The new Board of the Group of LLDCs and the new Chair for 2022–2023 were also elected on this occasion.


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