A Chinese UN Envoy on Thursday called upon the International Community to build better connectivity for the world’s 32 Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs).

Wu Haitao, China’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, made the appeal at the midterm review on the implementation of the Vienna Programme of Action (VPOA) for LLDCs for the decade 2014-2024.

Wu said after five years of implementation, the VPOA has seen some achievements, but its progress is not balanced; the international community should continue to promote its full implementation.

In 2014, the 2nd UN Conference on LLDCs adopted the VPOA, which aims to achieve inclusive and sustainable economic growth and reduce poverty for LLDCs and ensure the integration of LLDCs into the Global Economy.

At Thursday’s General Assembly plenary meeting reviewing the plan’s implementation, Wu said the world needs to take actions to build a global partnership of inter-connectivity.

“The International Community must prioritise action and strengthen connectivity cooperation between LLDCs and transit countries, help LLDCs address their geographical constraints, and promote LLDCs’ better integration into regional and global supply chains, so as to facilitate their all-around economic and social advancement,” he said.

He also called upon the international community to jointly build an open world economy, stressing the need to defend multilateralism, oppose unilateralism and protectionism.

He further placed emphasis on maintaining the world’s multilateral trade system, implementing the trade facilitation agreements, and helping LLDCs better integrate into the world trade system.

The Chinese envoy said that as the biggest developing country, China has always supported the development of LLDCs. In particular, he said, under the Belt & Road Initiative, China is actively conducting practical cooperation with LLDCs.

“China will continue to support the connectivity of LLDCs in infrastructure, trade, digital industry, energy and other areas, and create space for cooperation that features openness, mutual benefit, win-win, and equality to jointly realize sustainable development and build a community with a shared future for mankind,” Wu said.

Among the world’s 32 LLDCs with a total population of more than 500 million, 17 are least developed countries. LLDCs face an array of challenges mainly associated with their lack of direct territorial access to the sea and remoteness from world markets.

According to the UN, due to low trade integration, LLDCs account for less than 1 percent of global exports, and more than 80 percent of their exports are primary commodities and natural resources.

Foreign direct investment, which is often a critical driver for building competitiveness, has continued to decline for LLDCs.