The President of UNCTAD XIII and the organization’s Secretary-General said at the closing of the quadrennial conference early this evening that consensus texts adopted here have the organization well-positioned to face contemporary challenges and to continue traditional work that remains relevant and effective.
UNCTAD XIII President Hamad bin Abdulaziz bin Ali Al-Kuwari, Qatar’s Minister of Culture, Arts, and Heritage, said “UNCTAD’s message of reform is a contemporary one that recognizes the changes that have taken place in the global economy in the last 10 years. A new generation of policies and reforms in trade, finance, investment and technology will be needed in this next phase of post-crisis globalization.”
The President will continue in the post for the next four years.
“This has been a process and an outcome that strengthens UNCTAD,” said Secretary-General Supachai Panitchpakdi. While “we can justifiably be proud of our record and our role within the United Nations system,” he said, recent trends and developments in the world economy and in situations affecting developing countries had merited the intensive discussion that took place during the meetings in Doha. The principal outcome document takes new concerns into account and also “fundamentally and unambiguously reaffirms UNCTAD’s mandate,” he told the closing session.
The 15-page, 64-paragraph Doha Mandate, as it is called, gives guidelines for the organization’s activities for the next four years; it reaffirms work priorities agreed in 2008 at the UNCTAD XII conference, including UNCTAD’s traditional research activities in matters of trade and related development issues of concern to poor nations. Consensus on the text was achieved by the organization’s 194 member States after several months of negotiations.
Mothae Anthony Maruping, Chairman of the Committee of the Whole that negotiated the document, said it is “short, clear, and concentrated” and reflects member States’ joint ambitions for UNCTAD.
In addition to the negotiations, the conference was a six-day marathon of panel discussions, report and publication launches, Ministerial conferences, and other events. UNCTAD’s Third World Investment Forum overlapped with the 21 April beginning of the quadrennial gathering. Total attendance during the week came to over 5,000.
On the UNCTAD XIII theme of “development-centred globalization,” the Doha Mandate states that “several challenges have to be met to realize development-centred globalization. In this regard, finance should support the real economy in support of sustained, inclusive and equitable economic growth and sustainable development. All countries, developed and developing alike, can pay serious political, economic and social costs from financial shocks.”
It continues, “Another challenge is eliminating hunger and achieving food security. Securing adequate access to food – one of the most basic human needs – is a priority.”
Issues related to energy must be addressed, the outcome text says, including volatile prices and access, including access to renewable energy.
“Development-centred globalization sets the stage for inclusive growth and development, and contributes towards reducing poverty and creating jobs,” the Doha Mandate continues. “Discussions on globalization should be balanced, highlighting its benefits, acknowledging its risks and addressing its challenges.”
Other matters noted in the text are that UNCTAD should continue its research and advisory work on issues of public debt and on the dissemination or diffusion of technology to developing countries.
The closing declaration of UNCTAD XIII, called the Doha Manar -- an Arabic word meaning a strong light visible from a distance that serves to direct travellers – states on behalf of the 194 member States that “Together, as a collection of sovereign nations, we have endeavoured to construct a shared, interdependent and prosperous world through increased economic, political and social processes. By working to maximize the opportunities arising from globalization in international trade and investment, we have sought to promote economic growth and development with particular attention to reducing the inequalities between us and within our nations, and to improving our capacities to fulfil common purposes and exercise more effective and responsible stewardship of our natural and planetary resources. Above all, we have sought to fulfil, individually and collectively, our peoples’ aspirations to live in peace and to enjoy in fullness lives that are rich and diverse, and ever more stable and secure.”
The Manar continues, “We commend UNCTAD as the focal point of the United Nations system for the integrated treatment of trade and development and interrelated issues in the areas of finance, technology, investment and sustainable development.”