While most of us know what ALADI, ASEAN, MERCOSUR, and OAU stand for, this is less obvious for more obscure acronyms such as ALAIC, CHCAS, DICA or OLAFABA! Yet, the latter form part of the same family of economic integration groupings among developing countries. After a period of stagnation in the 1980s, economic cooperation among developing countries (ECDC) took on a new life towards the end of the decade, exemplified by an array of new associational agreements.
A publication issued today by UNCTAD provides a comprehensive description of subregional and regional integration groupings of developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean. This is Volume I - Regional and Subregional Economic Integration Groupings (171 pages) of a publication entitled Handbook of Economic Integration and Cooperation Groupings of Developing Countries(1).
UNCTAD, the principal United Nations body dealing with ECDC, monitors, publicises and advances the case for South-South cooperation. It is expected that the Handbook will enhance international awareness on and support for ECDC. Moreover, it will serve as a major reference source for policy-makers and academics in this field.
In a foreword to the Handbook, the Secretary-General of UNCTAD, Mr. Rubens Ricupero, notes that "the process of cooperation and regional integration is increasingly becoming an important stepping-stone towards the full integration of regional economies into a global economy." At the same time, "the pronounced trend towards regionalisation in recent years can also be seen as an implicit ´insurance policy´ for the developing countries in case globalization and liberalization produce undesirable consequences", according to the UNCTAD Secretary-General.
The Handbook provides detailed information and analysis on 21 major integration groupings. It covers:
- general facts on membership, headquarters addresses, dates of establishment, main objectives, basic economic indicators and brief histories;
- the institutional structures and various policy organs of these groupings, together with their functions; and
- those sectors and related programmes in which cooperative arrangements have been enacted, together with a progress report on programme implementation.
For the purpose of the Handbook, an "integration" grouping refers to those subregional and regional arrangements which have multisectoral objectives involving market integration, as well as cooperation in monetary, financial and fiscal areas, agriculture and industry, and other sectors. Groupings falling within this category include, for example, the Latin American Integration Association (ALADI), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN).
A second volume of the Handbook is under preparation.
1. This publication (Sales No. E.95.II.D.13) is available in English only. It may be obtained at the price US$58, from United Nations Publications/Sales Section, Palais des Nations, CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland, F: +41 22 917 0027, or from United Nations Publications/Sales Section, Room DC2-0853, United Nations Secretariat, New York, N.Y. 10017, U.S.A., T: +1 212 963 83 02 or +1 800 253 96 46, F: +1 212 963 34 89, E: email@example.com, Internet: http://www.un.org/Pubs/sales.htm.