TWN Info Service on WTO and Trade Issues (Apr12/20)
27 April 2012
Third World Network

UNCTAD XIII: Doha outcome a very significant achievement, says G77
Published in SUNS #7359 dated 27 April 2012

Doha, 26 Apr (TWN) -- What was achieved at UNCTAD XIII has been very significant, said the G77 and China at the closing plenary of the Committee of the Whole at the UNCTAD conference here this afternoon.

The European Union welcomed the Doha mandate which it said gave it a very solid mandate for the next four years. The JUSSCANNZ group said UNCTAD XIII had a positive conclusion, and all had shown their commitment.

The NGOs, in a statement, said they were concerned that some countries tried to circumscribe the work of UNCTAD on the financial crisis, but the NGOs interpreted the outcome to mean that UNCTAD can address the root causes of the crisis in order to avoid future crises.

"For the G77 and China, the most important issue has been reaffirming and building upon the Accra Accord," said Ambassador Pisanu Chanvitan of Thailand, who has coordinated the group's preparatory committee for UNCTAD XIII.

The group was thus very pleased that the Doha outcome document contains this point, he said. "UNCTAD now has a clear road map for its work in the next four years."

The G77 and China coordinator also said that the Doha outcome reiterated the role of UNCTAD as the UN focal point for the integrated treatment of trade and development, and interrelated issues in the areas of finance, technology, investment and sustainable development.

This need for an integrated approach is even more valid and relevant in the world today which is facing various problems and crises, including the crises in finance and the environment, which has effects on trade and overall development, he said.

"Therefore, we consider it important for UNCTAD to play an even more important role through its three pillars in providing a holistic and inter-related approach to addressing global issues and problems in the years to come. We in Doha have contributed to making this possible by reiterating the role of UNCTAD as the focal point for this."

Ambassador Chanvitan thanked all G77's partners for their understanding and their cooperation in successfully negotiating these two most important issues (referring to Paras 16 and 17) in the outcome document and all the other issues as well.

He added: "The G77 and China believes that although the negotiations were quite tough at times, the shared understanding that we arrived at has laid the goodwill and foundation for our mutual cooperation. We definitely look forward to a renewed and higher spirit of cooperation in the various meetings and fora in UNCTAD in the years ahead."

The European Union (with a European Commission representative speaking) said that the EU welcomed the results of the Conference and the Doha mandate. "The Doha mandate gives UNCTAD a very solid mandate, it is balanced and ambitious," he said.

He added that all the member states can feel comfortable to work with this mandate in the next four years.

He said that the EU showed its commitment to UNCTAD during the process. Its three pillars are highly important and very much appreciated by all of us. We always wanted an outcome in Doha and UNCTAD can do its work within its mandate.

He added that the results in Doha show that very important work is given for UNCTAD in the next four years. UNCTAD should remain the focal point for trade and development and other related issues. We want to see UNCTAD deliver results and enhance synergies and complementarities with other organisations.

He said that we live in difficult times and all organisations are urged to work with available resources. "We want to strengthen UNCTAD and its impact. Its work is fundamental not only for developing countries but for us all. The EU is satisfied with the outcome and the outcome reflects all members' interest."

The JUSSCANNZ group (which includes the US, Japan, Canada, Switzerland, Norway, Australia and New Zealand), represented by the Swiss Ambassador based in Geneva, said there was a positive conclusion. All showed commitment and no one gave up and we overcame our difficulties.

He said that the results of this conference, which we welcome, are of utmost significance, first, because the multilateral community has registered a success, secondly, the programme of work to focus on activities has been specified, and thirdly, there were valuable side events that gave UNCTAD a profile. He added that the outcome gives a four year direction to UNCTAD and everyone benefits when UNCTAD does good work.

Zimbabwe (for Africa) praised the Chairman for remaining calm and focused, when the road to Doha was strewn with challenges.

Iran, for the Asian group, said the outcome showed commitment by all to the global agenda. It was pleased that the text reaffirmed the Accra Accord and paved the way to strengthen UNCTAD.

El Salvador, for GRULAC, said that it was recognised in the conference that UNCTAD has a key role to play regarding the financial crisis.

Nepal, for the LDC group, said the balanced document reinforced our conviction that the multilateral approach is the best and that UNCTAD is more relevant than ever.

China said that we came to Doha with doubts if we could produce an outcome document, but the partnership of all parties led to a success.

The NGOs, represented by Nathan Irumba of SEATINI, said that the NGO community had expressed its concerns at attempts by some countries to circumscribe the work of UNCTAD especially on the financial crisis, as they were not keen for UNCTAD to do work on this.

However, the final outcome gives support to UNCTAD to work on the crisis and its impacts. Civil society will hold UNCTAD and its members accountable to this mandate. It was crucial that the Accra Accord was reaffirmed. Civil society was amazed that this became a point of debate but it was happy that the conference ended with this affirmation.

Civil society wants UNCTAD to address the root causes of the crisis, and even though this point that was proposed was not mentioned in the outcome document, "we interpret that UNCTAD will address the root causes, as there is a need to avoid more crises."

"In future, don't circumscribe the work of UNCTAD and take on the interpretation that we have given here," concluded the NGO statement.

Ambassador M. Maruping, who is President of the Committee of the Whole, who was much praised by all speakers, expressed his gratitude to the friends of the Chair (Ambassadors he had appointed to assist him), the Group Liaison Unit of UNCTAD, the Secretariat staff, and all member states that had all made it possible for the outcome document to be agreed to.+