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International Think Tank for LLDC’s Third Meeting of Trade Ministers of LLDCs Ezulwini , Kingdom of Swaziland 21-22 October 2009 . Gunaajav Batjargal Director Department of Strategic Planning, Analysis and Evaluation

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International Think Tank for LLDC’s Third Meeting of Trade Ministers of LLDCs Ezulwini, Kingdom of Swaziland 21-22 October 2009



Department of Strategic Planning, Analysis and Evaluation

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mongolia

  • Background
  • Establishment of Think Tank
  • Steps taken so far
  • Mandates and Goals
  • Institutional Issues
  • Way Forward
  • For Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs) there is an increasing need for research and policy work on trade
  • Mongolia was one of the pioneers to organise and lead a Group of LLDCs in New York since 1994 and acted as first Chair
  • In 2007, Mongolia hosted Second Meeting of Trade Ministers of LLDCs
establishment of think tank
Establishment of Think Tank
  • The idea to improve the analytical capability of LLDCs through establishing an international think tank was first presented by the President of Mongolia at the First Summit of the LLDCs in Havana in 2006.

“If we want to maximize the efficiency of our coordinated efforts we should have an excellent analytical capacity. This we believe could be reached through establishing an international think-tank in one of our capitals. Putting such a ‘brain’ in place we could build optimal strategies on any matter of our interest and avoid duplication of our actions and endeavors.”

  • At the previous meeting of Trade Ministers of LLDCs, in Ulaanbaatar in 2007, the President of Mongolia specifically invited to set up the Think Tank in Ulaanbaatar.
s ome important documents supporting the establishment of lldcs think tank
Ulaanbaatar Declarationadopted at the Meeting of Trade Ministers of LLDCs, Ulaanbaatar, 28-29 August 2007

Communique of the Seventh Annual Ministerial Meeting of Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs), New York, 28 September 2007

LLDCs Ministerial Communique, Accra, 22 April 2008 (on the sideline of UNCTAD XII)

In addition, Mongolia promoted the idea through a number of multilateral meetings, including the UNCTAD, the UNESCAP and OSCE-Mongolia Conference

Some important documents supporting the establishment of LLDCs Think Tank
steps taken
Steps Taken

Mongolia as the initiator took several important steps to mobilize a broad support from the international community. These include:

  • Midterm Review of the Almaty Program of Action by the General Assembly in 2008 resulted in endorsinga separate paragraphon the Think Tank
  • The UNESCAP session in April 2009 unanimously adopted a full-fledged resolution in support of establishing the Think Tank in Ulaanbaatar
  • With support from the UNDP, a feasibility study was carried out to charter the ways and means of establishing the Think Tank and in July 2009, the Government of Mongolia formally decidedto host the Think Tank
Opening Ceremony of International Think Tank for the Landlocked Developing Countries 28 July 2009, Ulaanbaatar
  • The ceremony was attended by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon. In his opening remarks, he said:

“It [Think Tank] will contribute to further strengthening the analytical capacities of landlocked developing countries…help them better articulate their positions throughout the world.”

substantive mandate of international think tank
Substantive mandate of International Think Tank

Think Tank in its full capacity will conduct research on the following priority areas as identified in the Almaty Program of Action:

  • Fundamental transit policy;
  • Infrastructure development and maintenance;
  • International trade and trade facilitation;
  • International support measures.
  • However, in order to carry out institutional and capacity building smoothly, we expect that the Think Tank will focus first on trade issues of the LLDCs which are more relevant and can be more value-added, given the ongoing negotiations at the WTO on Trade Facilitation.
Feasibility study* conducted by UNDP suggests the following mission statement and key activities:

“Using top-quality research and advocacy the Institute endeavors to improve the ability of landlocked developing countries to benefit from international trade, with the ultimate aim of raising human development and reducing poverty.”

Key activities should include:

Research papers and briefings on trade-related issues of LLDCs

Domestic and international advocacy on LLDCs

Promoting trade-related interests of LLDCs in international forums including the WTO and UN


short and medium term goals
Short and medium-term goals
  • Publish policy paper on trade-related issues facing Mongolia
  • Compile and publish briefings and research papers on trade and LLDCs
  • Establish a website
  • With support and assistance of UNOHRLLS, establish and maintain regular contacts with LLDCs representatives, as well as transit and donor countries
Help formulate and express the interests of LLDCs in international forums, identify priority areas, and deliver material or advocacy work related to those areas

Establish and maintain relations with a Group of LLDCsat the UN Headquarters in New York, and with informal group of such countries at the WTO in Geneva

Establish and develop a network with other institutions, universitiesand consultants working in related areas

Achieve formal consultative status at the UN Economic and Social Council

long term goals
Long-term Goals

Can include the following:

  • Expand, if demand exists, to a fully-fledged research institute and aim to attract visiting professors on a regular basis
  • Publish a series of high-quality research papers on trade and landlocked issues, through peer-reviewed journals or as a book
  • Establish a reputation as aforemost international institution on research and analysis on trade and LLDCs

Above-mentioned Feasibility study suggests that the Think Tank should initially consist of three staff:

director, one analyst and an operations/administrative officer. Consultants should be recruited. Board of governors, and an advisory council may be set up.

At the beginning stage, the Think Tank is currently operating with interim director and one analyst, who are fixed term staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

financing issues
Financing Issues
  • Under this base-case scenario funding from the Government is expected to be approximately US$93,000 in the first year of operations using government rates and US$177,000 using domestic commercial rates
  • Voluntary support from fellow LLDCs will be a key to mobilize other resources
  • A second scenario is also presented: given additional donor funding, staffing levels can be expanded during the second year and the level of activities increased. Another four staff at commercial rates would require additional external donor financing of US$200,000 during year two
  • Ideally government and donor funding will remain at these levels over the medium to long term. Five years of funding would total to US$1.84 million. In the event of international funding being secured, a trust fund may be set up under international oversight
creating links with other institutions
Creating links with other institutions


  • National Development and Innovation Committee
  • Institute of Strategic Studies
  • Transit Mongolia Programme
  • National University of Mongolia
  • Mongolian Development Research Centre
  • Mongolian University of Science and Technology
  • Centre for Policy Research
  • Proposed Mongolian Economic Policy Analysis Institute
  • Proposed Mongolian Centre for Responsible Mining


  • WTO
  • UN Regional Commissions
  • UNDP and its Regional Bureaux
  • World Bank and Regional Development Banks
  • LLDCs, including their academia
  • International and regional research organizations and programmes such as South Centre, ITC, AITIC and Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Programme
way forward
Way forward

What status would the Think Tank have?

There could be two options:

a/ determine its mandate and status through establishment of intergovernmental agreement between LLDCs orUNGA resolution

In this case, South Centre seems to be a well-functioning example. Collective effort and active support of LLDCs is essential.

Mongolia desires an intergovernmental status to the extent possible.

b/ Think Tank could be a research centre with public and academic involvement.

way forward18
Way forward
  • Enhance cooperation between national officials of LLDCs by exchanging information and experience through Think Tank’s website that will be soon established
  • Documents containing information on Think Tank’s activities will be sent by the Permanent Mission of Mongolia in NY and Geneva
  • Mongolia is actively looking for funding. Some donor countries and international organizations expressed their readiness to make financial contribution
international think tank for the landlocked developing countries contact details
International Think Tank for the Landlocked Developing Countries Contact details

Mr. SurenBadral

Interim Director of International Think Tank for LLDCs

Department of International Organizations

Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade

Tel: 976-51 262657