The Panel of Eminent Persons was established by Dr. Supachai in 2005 when he became the Secretary-General of UNCTAD. The Panel members advised, in their personal capacities, the Secretary-General on how to enhance UNCTAD's development role and impact.
Specifically, the Panel focused on:
Proposing options to improve the three pillars of UNCTAD´s work (i.e. research and policy analysis, consensus-building, and technical assistance) and their interface, with a view to making the organization more dynamic, effective and efficient in implementing its vision and mission.
Exploring ways and means for UNCTAD to strengthen cooperation and create synergies with other international organizations and to enhance the interactions with other development partners, including the private sector and civil society.
The Panel submitted its first report in June 2006. The Report looked at what strategies UNCTAD could follow in order to fulfill its development mission and enhance its effectiveness and impact. The report of the Panel was shared with UNCTAD member States and disseminated to the UN delegates in New York. The UNCTAD member States welcomed the report and after intensive deliberations endorsed most of the recommendations therein. A number of the recommendations were reflected in the final outcomes of the UNCTAD XII ministerial conference in Accra, Ghana in 2008, and were subsequently implemented.
In the wake of the global economic and financial crisis, a number of processes are underway with the aim of reforming the global economic and financial systems. The challenge for these interwoven processes is to ensure overall policy coherence and integrated approaches to development, as well as fairness and equity for all stakeholders in the global economy, especially the most-vulnerable, in the interest of promoting inclusive growth and sustainable development.
In order to pursue a development-centred globalization, one challenge is how to address the key and emerging economic development issues and to advance developing countries' interests in the areas of trade, investment, enterprise development, technology, finance, commodities, as well as other development related issues - as they fall within the mandates and core competencies of UNCTAD.
The 2005 Panel included: H.E. Mr. Fernando Cardoso, former President of Brazil; Ms. Gro Bruntland former Prime Minister of Norway, and Mr. Lawrence Summers, former Treasury Secretary of the United States.
The three have now resigned and - in addition to the other remaining original members - the reconstituted 2012 Panel now includes: Mr. Thabo Mbeki, former President of South Africa; Lord Mark Malloch-Brown, former Minister of State in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the British Government; Ms. Mari Elka Pangetsu, Minister of Creative Economy and Tourism of Indonesia; Mr. Mohamed "Mo" Ibrahim, founder of Celtel and the Mo Ibrahim Foundation; and Ms. Margarita Cedeno de Fernandez, Vice-President of the Dominican Republic.
The Panel met twice in Geneva and held several informal exchanges in between these meetings. The final Report in the form of a think piece, focusing on the key interests of developing countries in key economic areas, and proposing pragmatic initiatives that can be taken up by UNCTAD and other international institutions, will be released on 21 May 2013.