Press Releases

    For information only - not an official document

    3 November 2014

    United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:

    Remarks at Joint Press Conference at the Second United Nations Conference on Landlocked Developing Countries

    3 November 2014

    VIENNA, 3 November (UN Information Service) - It is a great pleasure to participate in this very important meeting.

    I am also very much encouraged to work together with the many heads of states and governments and ministers and delegations from landlocked and developing countries and their partners from around the world.

    I thank particularly President Fischer and Government of Austria [he said Australia] for their generous contribution always to the calls and objectives of the United Nations.

    The Second United Nations Conference on Landlocked Developing States is a milestone in our efforts to focus global attention on their challenges and potential.

    We are discussing how to reduce transportation costs, diversify economies and move the products of these countries up value chains. We want to empower people to improve their lives and advance national progress.

    This Conference is also a critical part of the UN's broader campaign for a more sustainable future.

    We want to turn landlocked countries into land-linked countries - integrated with the global economy in a way that connects both markets and people.

    The issues we are discussing here are central to the global dialogue the UN is now leading on a bold new framework for sustainable development. I count on this Conference to contribute to a successful post-2015 agenda to succeed the Millennium Development Goals.

    Eleven years ago, the world came together in Almaty to adopt a forward-looking Programme of Action. Over the next three days here in Vienna, we need to forge an even more ambitious, comprehensive and results-oriented plan. I count on delegations to be bold and forward looking.

    The United Nations will continue to help landlocked developing countries to achieve a life of dignity for all.

    Thank you.

    Q: Duygu Özkan from the daily newspaper Die Presse, I will address all of you:

    do you have a specific timeframe for implementing all the actions you will decide at this conference?

    SG: I expect that Member States will build upon our Almaty programme of action. During the last eleven years, the world has changed rapidly and while we have been able to reduce the number of extreme poverty significantly and we have made a lot of progresses in millennium development goals, but you will agree that there a lot of things to do. That is why the importance of this meeting in Vienna can never be overemphasized. Over the coming ten years from Vienna until we have our third conference, I am sure that member states will have mechanisms to monitor the implementation of plan of action that they will agree upon. The United Nations will continue to work with the member states to ensure that full implementation, as part of sustainable development goals, which will be agreed upon by the leaders next year. This is an important part, an important part of ensuring that this world's people, particularly landlocked country's people, should live in harmony and in a prosperous way without being left behind. Thank you.

    Q: Jonathan Tyrone from Bloomberg News, I have a question for the Secretary-General and for Foreign Minister Kurz, Secretary-General you mentioned that landlocked countries need to integrate so that people have access to markets. It would follow that landlocked countries actually have a higher stake in the international system and international cooperation. What kind of examples in lessons can we learn from the recent energy crises that landlocked countries in Eurasia, in Eastern Europe have faced because of the conflict in Ukraine. Are there any lessons that we can draw from that?

    SG: Recently I participated in the Small Island Developing States Conference which was again organized by the United Nations in Samoa. The people who are living in the small island developing states and also landlocked developing states they are experiencing similar difficulties in their real life. First of all landlocked countries have to find strong support, and flexible support from neighbouring countries, in transit to the oceans or whatever. It is always much more costly when you bring all the goods by air. Land transportation takes longer time and thus the input price is much much higher than in normal countries. All these kind of difficulties should be harmonized with the strong support of countries around the world. For example the President and Foreign Minister has stated in the statement, Austria is a landlocked country, but being a member of the European Union, they do not feel those kind of difficulties. They are part of the European Union. But there are many regional groupings like the African Union and OAS etc. We need the full support so that these landlocked countries and small island developing countries can really be fully integrated in normal activities, economic activities, be it investment, trade, whatever it may be. That is the main purpose of the United Nations holding these two important meetings this year.

    Q: Fredrik Dahl from Reuters News Agency, a question for the Secretary-General about the situation in Ukraine. Could you give us your reaction to the election that was held in the East of Ukraine yesterday? Also how do you think the international community including Russia should react to this election?

    SG: Before answering your question, Ladies and Gentlemen, I am told that I recognized Austria as Australia. Sorry for that. I think you know that there are no kangaroos in Austria. Sometimes this happens, I hope you will understand. I hope you will understand Mr Minister.

    About the situation in Ukraine this has been a source of great concern by the international community. As the Secretary General of United Nations I have been engaging with the parties concerned, Ukrainians and also the Russians leadership all the time. I have taken notes of the elections which took place in South Eastern part of Ukraine. I have been urging the parties concerned particularly the people of Ukraine to resolve all pending issues, whatever they may be between the central government and Eastern part of Ukraine, to resolve all these issues through a dialogue and peaceful means and particularly when there was an agreement between the parties, this Minsk protocol and memorandum. This will give good guidelines which have been welcomed by the United Nations, by the international community. I sincerely hope that rather than having all this confrontational situation continuing, the people of Ukraine should really look for their better future where they can really [be] engaged in sustainable development, engaged in political stability for the benefit for the future of the people. And the UN will continue to work with them. In other parts, we are extremely concerned about the continuing humanitarian crisis there. The United Nation will continue to mobilize resources and provide humanitarian assistance to those people who are in need and also we will continue to monitor the human right situations in the region. And I am encouraged that the Ukrainian government has extended the mandate of the human rights monitoring team of the United Nations until December 15. I sincerely hope that this mandate will be extended further into next year. Thank you.

    Q: A quick follow up, on the special issue on the election yesterday. Do you think it is a legitimate election?

    SG: I have issued my statement a few days ago about election in that particular area.

    Q: From Reuters news agency, Secretary-General I have a question which touches upon international trade and concerns many countries. What should be the next step to contain Ebola and what does the international community need to do to contain to the crisis, you know, in the short term. Thank you very much

    SG: The Ebola outbreak is an unprecedented crisis for the international community that requires a global response in a massive and speedy way. That is why the United Nations has been mobilizing international support in terms of logistical, financial and political support and also encouraging many Member States to send medical and health workers to the region. We have established the UN mission for Ebola emergency response called UNMEER. We are really working very hard to address this issue with utmost priority in a massive way. We really hope that we will be able to [stop] the spread of Ebola virus. In this regard, particularly relating to your question on the specific area of trade and communication and movement of goods and people. The best way to stop this virus is to stop this virus at its source, rather than limiting for work, or restricting the movement of people or trade. That is why I have been urging all major international airlines and major shipping service lines to continue their normal trade and movement and transportations. And particularly when there are some unnecessary extra restrictions and discrimination against health workers. These people who are working on the ground to help people affected, they are extraordinary people who are giving of themselves, they are risking their own lives. We have seen more than 250 health workers who died in the course of providing health services. Of course, when somebody has symptoms of Ebola those people should be immediately treated and supported and evacuated when necessary. That's what I am really mobilizing support, including medevac capacity. Even the day before yesterday the French Government has helped the UN staff to be evacuated, this we are very much grateful for. Therefore unnecessarily strong or strict restrictions or discrimination including quarantining health workers, when they are not based on science and medical evidence then they should be treated as normal. Of course one should go through normal procedures to make sure one is not affected. That is my urgent and honest appeal to the international community again.

    Thank you.

    * *** *