TWN Info Service on WTO and Trade Issues (Apr07/14)
12th conference under UNCTAD (known as UNCTAD XII) will be
A meeting of the UNCTAD’s Trade and Development Board met recently and agreed to adopt “addressing opportunities and challenges of globalization for development” as its overriding theme.
Below is an article on the TDB decision. It was published in SUNS on 24 April.
Theme and sub-themes for UNCTAD-XII agreed on
Riaz K Tayob (TWN),
Trade and Development Board of UNCTAD has adopted the theme and sub-themes
for UNCTAD-XII, which is to be held on 20-25 April 2008 in
The TDB's 41st Executive Session adopted "Addressing the Opportunities and Challenges of Globalisation for Development" as the over-riding theme for UNCTAD-XII.
The meeting, held here on 18-20 April, also adopted the following four sub-themes for UNCTAD-XII:
(1) Enhancing coherence at all levels for sustainable economic development and poverty reduction in global policymaking, including the contribution of regional approaches;
(2) Key trade and development issues and the new realities in the geography of the world economy;
(3) Enhancing the enabling environment at all levels to strengthen productive capacity, trade and investment: mobilizing resources and harnessing knowledge for development; and
(4) Strengthening UNCTAD; enhancing its development role, impact and institutional effectiveness.
consultations on the themes and sub-themes have been held for several
weeks before the TDB executive session. They were chaired by Ambassador
Don Stephenson of
The result was a consensus text that was endorsed by the Trade and Development Board (TDB). It was also agreed that the expanded Bureau of the Board undertake the next steps for the preparation of UNCTAD-XII.
Stephenson said that during consultations, the criteria for the selection of discussion topics at UNCTAD-XII had to be narrow enough to focus on priorities, wide enough to permit a broad scan of issues and interesting enough to include new or controversial issues.
He added that many of the issues are not new and the issue was how to breathe new life into these debates. The main theme, he said, recognised that the benefits of globalisation were not shared equally.
The first sub-theme (enhancing coherence at all levels for sustainable economic development and poverty reduction) is intended to invite discussion at all levels, including national, bilateral and regional, said Stephenson.
Stephenson said the second sub-theme (key trade and development issues and the new realities) is intended to include discussion on what growth in developing countries means for South-South and North-South trade.
The third sub-theme (enhancing the enabling environment at all levels to strengthen productive capacity, trade and investment: mobilizing resources and harnessing knowledge) has a broad focus because all countries need productive capacity and to increase employment and living standards, said Stephenson. It presents an opportunity to look at many substantive areas like increasing supply capacity and improving infrastructure.
The fourth sub-theme (strengthening UNCTAD) has an inward and outward focus, Stephenson said. The sub-theme poses questions such as: How does UNCTAD work for its clients, the developing countries? Is UNCTAD adequately equipped and organised to be effective?
UNCTAD Secretary-General Supachai Panitchpakdi said that once the theme has been decided, it is practice for the Secretary-General to give a report of his ideas on the theme. This would be made available to member states in June. He suggested that there should be a brainstorming and a preliminary exchange of views on the report. He preferred the process to be as informal as possible.
In addition, Supachai said that he expected the UNCTAD-XII preparatory committee to prepare "as clean a text as possible."
J. Delmer Urbizo of
Benin, for the Least Developed Countries, said that there is increased pressure for reform of the UN when participation by least developed and developing countries is made particularly difficult by governing bodies of international organisations.
Ambassador Arcanjo do Nascimento of Angola, for the Africa Group, said that UNCTAD-XII must address issues central to African countries including problems related to commodities, productive capacity, international competitiveness, and multilateral and regional trade negotiations. He said that for tangible results, priorities will also need to be agreed to at the conference.