Recent political and economic developments at the global and regional levels have resulted in a more conducive development environment in the Asian and Pacific region and the opening-up of opportunities for international trade and tourism development for the developing countries of the region, including those which are landlocked. Nevertheless, the lack of unhindered access to the sea adds transport costs and time to international trade transactions. In addition, landlocked countries face greater transport risks and hazards than countries which have direct access to international sea routes.
The United Nations has addressed the specific concerns of landlocked countries in a number of documents. Among those which are directly related to transport are the following: General Assembly resolution 50/97 of 20 December 1995 on specific actions related to the particular needs and problems of landlocked developing countries; "Global framework for transit transport cooperation between landlocked and transit developing countries and the donor community" (TD/B/LDC/AC.1/6); "Problem of physical infrastructure development of the landlocked countries, including economies in transition" (E/ESCAP/SREC(7)/3); and "Progress report on measures designed to improve the transit transport environment in Central Asia" (A/51/288).
With just-in-time delivery becoming almost a prerequisite for efficient international trade, particularly in an increasingly competitive market environment, adequate attention must be given to resolving problems in transport areas which are crucial for the efficient development of the international trade of landlocked countries.
The inauguration in May 1996 of a new rail line linking the Islamic Republic of Iran and Turkmenistan, thus completing a new "silk rail route" from China to Europe via the landlocked countries of Central Asia; the priority attention of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the development of the necessary