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UNCTAD Process Update

Established in 1964, UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) promotes the development-friendly integration of developing countries into the world economy. UNCTAD has progressively evolved into an authoritative knowledge-based institution whose work aims to help shape current policy debates and thinking on development, with a particular focus on ensuring that domestic policies and international action are mutually supportive in bringing about sustainable development. The organization works to fulfil this mandate by carrying out three key functions: it functions as a forum for intergovernmental deliberations, supported by discussions with experts and exchanges of experience, aimed at consensus building; it undertakes research, policy analysis and data collection for the debates of government representatives and experts; and it provides technical assistance tailored to the specific requirements of developing countries, with special attention to the needs of the least developed countries and of economies in transition. When appropriate, UNCTAD cooperates with other organizations and donor countries in the delivery of technical assistance.

UNCTAD Releases Report on Economic Development in Africa
Geneva, 21 September 2006
UNCTAD’s 2006 report on Economic Development in Africa examines how the commitment by the international community to double aid to Africa might place the continent on a sustainable development path.

UNCTAD Mid-Term Review

At UNCTAD XI, in June 2004, member States decided that a mid-term review should be conducted by the Trade and Development Board in 2006. Paragraph 9 of the São Paulo Consensus, stated that “the results achieved from the implementation of the Bangkok and São Paulo outcomes should be subject to intergovernmental review. Specifically, a mid-term review should be conducted by the Trade and Development Board in 2006.” At its thirty-eighth executive session, in April 2006, the Trade and Development Board decided that the objectives of the Mid-term Review would be threefold to:

  • evaluate implementation of the outcomes of UNCTAD XI;
  • strengthen UNCTAD's role in each of its three pillars; and
  • conduct a policy dialogue at the highest possible level.

The process would aim not only to review the implementation of the São Paulo Consensus, but also to take into account major events and new developments since UNCTAD XI and to give a clear indication as to the direction UNCTAD should take in its work for the next two years leading to UNCTAD XII. The Mid-term Review would consist of three parts; the first part would begin on 8 May 2006 and would be primarily a stocktaking exercise with regard to the implementation of the São Paulo Consensus. The second part, on the three pillars, would take place in June 2006, and the third part, on policy dialogue, would take part in September 2006. The first part of the Mid Term Review took place in Geneva from 8–11 May 2006; and the second part took place from 12-15 June 2006. The third part of the Mid-term Review will take place from 3–10 October 2006 and will be a high-level dialogue with participation from governments, academia and civil society. The theme of the dialogue is “UNCTAD, development, and the way forward,” with the following sub-themes: globalization for development; coherence for development between national development strategies and international economic processes; and UNCTAD, the UN reform process and development.

Proposals and statements on the UNCTAD Mid-Term Review

UNCTAD high-level policy dialogue
Geneva, 4-6 October 2006
The UNCTAD  review process culminated in a high-level policy dialogue, from 4 to 6 October, with high-level participants from around the world discussing globalization for development, coherence between national development strategies and economic processes, and UNCTAD, UN reform and development.

UNCTAD Panel of Eminent Persons

In October 2005, the Secretary-General of UNCTAD, Supachai Panitchpakdi, established a Panel of Eminent Persons to propose new strategies for the Organisation aimed at heightening its impact. In an address to the Fifty-Second Session of the Trade and Development Board, the UNCTAD Secretary-General told delegates that in order for UNCTAD to be more effective, the Organisation would have to “focus work on areas where we can really make a difference,” with the objective of achieving results on the ground. He said “the test case for UNCTAD in the coming years will be its relevance and its capacity to deliver on those activities - be they research and policy analysis, consensus-building or technical assistance - that have the greatest possible impact on beneficiary countries.” He also stated “that a more focused, results-oriented and transparent approach would impact on three key levels: national, regional and multilateral.” The 8-member Panel presented there report entitled “Enhancing the development role and impact of UNCTAD” in June 2006. The report contains 21 pragmatic proposals that reflect current thinking on development.

Proposals and Statements on the UNCTAD Panel of Eminent Persons

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