Info Service on WTO and Trade Issues (Jul16/13)
20 July 2016
Third World Network
UNCTAD-14: "Heavy lifting" now beginning, says Conference
Published in SUNS #8286 dated 20 July 2016
Nairobi, 19 Jul (Kanaga Raja) -- On the third day of the 14th session
of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD-14) here, the
Committee of the Whole (COW) was engaged in what the President of
the Conference described on Monday as some "heavy lifting"
in tackling the heavily square bracketed draft text of the Outcome
document, setting out UNCTAD's agenda policy and programmes of work
over the next four years.
At a media briefing on Monday (18 July), Dr Amina Mohamed, Kenyan
Cabinet Secretary and President of the UNCTAD-14 Conference said the
ceremonial part of the UNCTAD-14 conference is now over and the COW
was meeting from 18 July afternoon. She added "we are very pleased
with the way that the process is moving forward." She noted the
COW was meeting from 18 July afternoon, and "the heavy lifting
According to a source close to the discussions, the COW has a lot
of work to do in Nairobi, as unfortunately there are about one thousand
brackets to deal with (in the draft outcome text). Speaking to SUNS
on condition of anonymity, the source said that although a lot of
progress had been made in many areas in Geneva, some of the usual
issues are still bracketed. In this context, the source cited the
issue of debt restructuring, which has brackets around it, and the
issue of taxation, which UNCTAD is putting forward as a possible area
There is still a debate as to whether UNCTAD has the expertise and
competence to work on taxation, which Group B (the developed countries)
are questioning. The G77 on the other hand believes that UNCTAD should
be able to work on taxation.
The issue of policy space has come back again and is also in brackets,
hence needing a debate.
Another area is RBM - or Results Based Management - for UNCTAD, with
disagreements on whether it should be a major factor across the board
in the three pillars of UNCTAD, including the intergovernmental process.
According to the source, the G77 are a bit cautious about introducing
results based management into the intergovernmental process.
The "results based management" is something that the UN
is now pushing as well as the larger donor countries.
Civil society groups at the Conference have said the Group B countries
pushing it at UNCTAD, should first apply it in institutions controlled
by them - the World Trade Organization, the IMF and World Bank - and
to issues that the donors have long been pushing to distract from
and avoid main issues where they have to yield space to developing
Following the meeting of the COW, on Monday evening, those present
at discussions told SUNS that there has been no appreciable movement
and that the COW will be meeting again on Tuesday (19 July), and that
very little progress had been made on the first day. +