unctad.org | Commission on Enterprise, Business Facilitation and Development, 12th session
Commission on Enterprise, Business Facilitation and Development, 12th session
04 - 05 February 2008

Key Issues

The Commission on Enterprise, Business Facilitation and Development will address the key issues of transport, logistics and global value chains. It will also consider its progress made since the eleventh session as well as during the 2004-2008 quadrennial UNCTAD cycle.

Transport and logistics

Many developing countries´ firms, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), find their competitiveness reduced due to high transport costs and their low connectivity to global transport networks, combined with weak productive capacities.

An insufficiently developed overall business climate with inadequate transport and trade facilitation and a sub-optimal service infrastructure can undermine a country´s ability to attract investment and participate successfully in international trade.

Global value chains

Global value chains (GVCs) are interdependent economic systems with complex coordination mechanisms which require efficient logistics and infrastructure solutions to run smoothly.

This means that policies should ensure that the trade-supporting institutional and physical infrastructure within the circuit of GVCs is effectively improved, especially for SMEs. This is an important prerequisite for enterprise development and consequently the development of productive and trade capacities.

Policy response

While a good physical infrastructure is important, SMEs often find it just as problematic to deal with dysfunctional institutional settings and related inefficiencies.

Adequate and targeted policies therefore require prior analysis and understanding of the needs of GVCs, including those in the area of logistics, and a subsequent focus on how SMEs´ entry into these GVCs can be facilitated.

Progress report

The commission will consider progress in work mandated since the eleventh session as well as during the 2004-2008 quadrennial UNCTAD cycle.

It will examine work done in the areas of improving the competitiveness of SMEs through enhancing productive capacity, as well as efficient transport and trade facilitation, to improve participation by developing countries in international trade.



The twelfth session of the Commission on Enterprise, Business Facilitation and Development will take place on 4 and 5 February 2008 at the Palais des Nations, Geneva, starting at 10 a.m. on Monday, 4 February.

The Commission will consider one substantive agenda item and the reports of related expert meetings. Under the substantive item, the Commission will examine the policy options available to developing countries for improving the competitiveness of their small and medium-sized enterprises through improved integration into global value chains. The options include reducing transport costs and enhancing connectivity to global transport networks through trade and transport facilitation measures, thereby increasing their enterprises´ access to global markets.

The Commission will discuss the outcome and recommendations of the expert meetings on "Regional cooperation in transit transport: solutions for landlocked and transit developing countries" and "Enhancing the participation of small and medium-sized enterprises in global value chains".

Membership of the Commission is open to all States members of UNCTAD. States members of UNCTAD wishing to attend the session are requested to provide the Secretary-General of UNCTAD with the credentials of their representatives and the names of their alternate representatives and advisers by 7 January 2008. States that are not members of the Commission are entitled to be represented by observers. Other participants (specialized agencies and intergovernmental bodies, as well as non-governmental organizations in the General and Special Categories wishing to participate as observers) are requested to indicate the names of their representatives by the same date.

Upon arrival, participants are requested, before entering the Palais des Nations, to collect their badge at the United Nations Security Service, Pregny Gate entrance, 14 avenue de la Paix. The Security Service is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Because of the security measures in force, participants are strongly advised to arrive before 9 a.m. in order to complete entry procedures in good time and proceed to the meeting in the E-Building (Bâtiment E) of the Palais. Participants are requested to carry a passport or similar national identity card with them. Taxis are not allowed to enter the grounds of the Palais des Nations, and visitors will therefore be dropped off at the requested entrance gates. Furthermore, luggage may not be brought into the buildings unless the Security Service gives special clearance.

Communications concerning representation should be sent to the UNCTAD secretariat, Intergovernmental Affairs and Outreach Service, Palais des Nations, CH-1211 Geneva 10; fax: + 41 (0)22 917 0214; e-mail: correspondence@unctad.org.

All substantive enquiries should be addressed to the officers concerned:

Item 3 of the provisional agenda, sub-theme small and medium-sized enterprises and global value chains:

Item 3 of the provisional agenda, sub-theme transport and trade facilitation:

(p.p. signed)

Supachai Panitchpakdi
Secretary-General of UNCTAD
19 December 2007


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