The Commission on Trade in Goods and Services, and Commodities, at its third session (28 September - 2 October 1998), decided to convene an expert meeting on "examining trade in the agricultural sector, with a view to expanding the agricultural exports of developing countries, and to assisting them in better understanding the issues at stake in the upcoming agricultural negotiations". The Expert Meeting on Trade in the Agricultural Sector will be held from 26 to 28 April 1999 in the Palais des Nations, Geneva. The provisional agenda, together with the secretariat´s annotation thereto, is being circulated as document TD/B/COM.1/EM.8/1.
The objective of the Meeting is:
- to identify ways and means to enhance the agricultural export opportunities of developing countries, taking into account, inter alia, the continuation of reform processes in the agricultural sector; and
- to strengthen the capacity of developing countries to participate effectively in the upcoming negotiations on agriculture, by analysing the negotiating issues at stake and identifying elements of a positive agenda for developing countries.
To facilitate the experts´ discussions, the UNCTAD secretariat will circulate a background note as document TD/B/COM.1/EM.8/2, (23 pages, 95kb). Discussion at the Meeting would also be facilitated by additional information provided by member States. Specific country experiences in the field of the subject matter would be of particular relevance. Member States which are in a position to supply such information are requested to do so well in advance of the Meeting. Experts participating in the Meeting are also encouraged to submit brief papers to the UNCTAD secretariat, which will be made available to other participants in the form and language in which they are received.
Member States are requested to nominate experts, who will participate in the Meeting in their personal capacities. Experts are expected to have proven expertise in the subject, and may be selected from the academic world, the public and private sectors and NGOs.
With regard to the financing of the participation of developing country experts in UNCTAD expert meetings, attention is drawn to Trade and Development Board decision 456 (XLV), the text of which is attached, and in particular to paragraphs 1(a)(ii), 1(b) and 2 of that decision.
Members States of UNCTAD are requested to nominate experts at an early date. Specialized agencies and intergovernmental bodies, should they wish to participate in the Meeting, as well as non-governmental organizations in the General Category and those in the Special Category who wish to participate as observers, are also requested to inform the UNCTAD secretariat of the names of their representatives at an early date.
All communications concerning representation at the Meeting should be sent to: the UNCTAD secretariat, Intergovernmental Support Services, Palais des Nations, CH-1211 Geneva 10 (tel: +41 22 907 5007; fax: +41 22 907 0056, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. All other enquires should be addressed to the Secretary of the Meeting (tel.: 41 22 907 5637).
Secretary-General of UNCTAD
1 February 1999