TWN Info Service on WTO and Trade Issues (Apr12/18)
27 April 2012
Third World Network

UNCTAD XIII: Doha outcome document lays out areas of future work
Published in SUNS #7359 dated 27 April 2012

Doha, 26 Apr (TWN) -- UNCTAD XIII concluded this afternoon with the adoption of an outcome document by consensus, after all-night sessions in two groups that finished at 5.00 early this morning.

A draft of 26 April 5.00 a.m, titled "President's suggested distilled negotiating text for UNCTAD XIII", was brought to the table at lunch time today for final cleaning up and confirmation by a meeting of regional coordinators and leading negotiators chaired by the President of the Committee of the Whole, Ambassador M. Maruping of Lesotho.

The text was then put before the Committee of the Whole early this afternoon and adopted, thus providing UNCTAD XIII with an agreed outcome. Having such an outcome by consensus was itself seen as a success, as it was not clear that it could be achieved, given the often acrimonious negotiations during the preparatory process.

On 24 April, the Group of 77 and China proposed that the two most important paragraphs (16 and 17) that address UNCTAD's overall mandate, be discussed first, rather than wait for the end of the negotiations.

This proposal was agreed to, and the two paragraphs were agreed to on 24 April evening, and then there was a conducive atmosphere for more collaborative negotiations on all the other issues.

The adopted text has five main sections, in line with the overall theme of UNCTAD XIII (development-centred globalisation) and the four sub-themes (enabling economic environment; trade and development; persistent and emerging development challenges; and investment, trade and entrepreneurship).

Each section contains a part on policy analysis, and a part on the role of UNCTAD. The "role of UNCTAD" text is seen as providing the mandate of work while the "policy analysis" provides the context for the work.

In the section on policy analysis on the main theme, development-centred globalisation, the document recognises the financial crisis and that the global economic recovery remains fragile. It also has paragraphs on food security, energy, climate, environment, financing, industrialisation, and social protection.

On the role of UNCTAD, para 16 reaffirms the Accra Accord which it says remains valid and relevant, while para 17 states that UNCTAD remains the focal point for the UN for an integrated treatment of trade and development and interrelated issues of finance, technology, investment and sustainable development.

These two paragraphs are seen to provide a broad mandate for UNCTAD to continue its present work on all the issues agreed to in UNCTAD XII in Accra in 2008, plus any additional issues contained in the present Doha outcome document.

The role of UNCTAD is elaborated in paras on being a forum for development dialogue; discussions on the green economy; trade and development; issues of interest to LDCs, landlocked developing countries and small island states and vulnerable small economies and middle-income countries.

In sub-theme 1 on enhancing the enabling economic environment, the document recognises efforts to improve the global economy to prevent financial and economic shocks and promote development.

It has paragraphs on the trading system, the Doha Development Agenda, refraining from unilateral measures, non tariff barriers, commodities, debt sustainability and debt crisis prevention and management, restructuring public debt, fiscal policies, regulation of financial markets, and responsible lending and borrowing.

The role of UNCTAD is elaborated in the areas of social protection floors, regional cooperation organisations, debt issues, non tariff barriers and measures, commodity dependence, technical assistance on trade matters, and programme for Palestine.

On sub-theme 2 on strengthening cooperation for trade, the document analyses global trade, development aid, aid for trade, regional integration, regional cooperation, South-South cooperation, and MDGs (Millennium Development Goals).

The role of UNCTAD is elaborated in respect of research on North-South and South-South cooperation, promoting South-South cooperation (including support to GST), regional trade, addressing opportunities and challenges of South-South cooperation, aid for trade, ODA, public-private partnerships, and support to LDCs.

On sub-theme 3 on development challenges related to trade and development and interrelated issues, the document has policy analysis on the world economy, accession to the WTO, services, infrastructure, agriculture, landlocked countries and small island states, regional trade agreements, competition policy, empowering women, science and technology, information technology, environment and natural disasters.

The role of UNCTAD is elaborated in relation to assistance for WTO accession, protectionism, services, financial services for SMEs and individuals, migration, remittances, agriculture, organic farming, food security, trade facilitation, small island states, vulnerable economies, economies in transition, competition and consumer protection, gender, employment, science and technology, trade and environment, insurance and catastrophic risk.

On sub-theme 4 on promoting investment and trade, the policy analysis covers trade, FDI, building productive capacity, industrial policies, diversification of commodity dependent countries, technology and balance of the IPRs system, including on traditional knowledge and genetic resources in line with the WIPO development agenda, and middle-income countries.

The role of UNCTAD covers work on investment policy, FDI and other capital flows, technology transfer, productive capacities of LDCs, trade capacity building, trade and economic diversification, continue work on IPRs, international investment agreements, SMEs and entrepreneurship. +