unctad.org | Trade and Development Board, Twenty-sixth special session
Statement by Mr. Supachai Panitchpakdi, Secretary-General of UNCTAD
Trade and Development Board, Twenty-sixth special session
14 Jun 2012


Thank you very much, Mr. President.
At the outset, I would like to make this statement that we all at UNCTAD are deeply appreciative of the exercise that has been carried out by the Joint Inspection Unit in its Review of Management and Administration in UNCTAD. If there would have been some confusion as to when the secretariat would like to look at the review report then it was mainly because it came at a time that we were having some very intensive debates on what was to be expected as the final outcome document coming out of the thirteenth Conference at Doha. But I think we have actually cleared up the air and we understand actually what took place and what didn’t take place and I really have, again, great appreciation for the way all of you, the member States, the delegations, and those of you who have been involved in the negotiations and those who worked behind the scenes who helped in coming to certain understandings that after all our debates and discussions and the inspection report, we are here to strengthen the process of how to approach the next generation of globalization in a way that institutions like UNCTAD could be improved, could be guided, could be mandated, in the best possible manner, so that we can exercise our authorities, our expertise, our research, our discourses, dialogues, here and around the world, so that we can give the right kind of approaches to countries that would have to deal with the ongoing economic, social and environmental adjustments, while at the same time seeing to it that our growth is more inclusive and goes towards eradication of poverty and deals with the issues of all forms of inequalities – gender, geographical, generational – all forms.
So again, this is in appreciation of the JIU Report, and there are evidences in this report that point to some of the positive impact if we talk about results-based management. The report does discuss the positive impact achieved by UNCTAD’s work in several areas. The report also acknowledges progress achieved in several initiatives taken up by the secretariat to reform management and administration for UNCTAD. In fact, it was mainly based upon one of my first acts when I came to UNCTAD in September 2005. In October 2005, I initiated the establishing of a panel of eminent persons that resulted in a report that gave rise to all kinds of discussions and subsequent implementation of the reform process for management and administration. If you recall, it became part of the UNCTAD XII Conference in Accra as sub-theme number 4, and in spite of some differences in our opinions, collectively we agreed on the way that UNCTAD’s management and administration could be enhanced, and this already started since 2005. So you can see that this JIU Report is part of the ongoing process of improving, enhancing the way that we can manage and administrate our work at UNCTAD. It is an ongoing process, something that we would keep on striving to achieve, to do our best. The best may not be adequate, or some things cannot be done at the moment. But we will try to do even better than our best, because the situation requires us to be as vigilant as possible.
The Report does note results in areas of research and analysis coming from the Readership Survey (which is very well done). The Readership Survey did show an essentially positive assessment of UNCTAD reports in terms of substantive policy contributions, analytical qualities, and so on and so forth. There has been very appropriate mentioning of DMFAS and ASYCUDA, which are our landmark projects. As for some of our other landmark projects, such as the Virtual Institute, work has been found to be impressive by the JIU Report, and, as you can see now that I have also been trying, actually before the Report was launched, to strengthen the work of the Virtual Institute by merging the Virtual Institute activities with the activities of the global network of research institutes, that had been proposed as one of the recommendations coming out of the Panel of Eminent Persons’ report, if you recall, from 2006. In areas of partnerships with other agencies, the JIU Report does mention the leadership that we have taken in the creation of the UN Inter-Agency CEB Trade and Productive Capacity Cluster that has been proposed by us at UNCTAD, by myself at the CEB meeting, and always been led by UNCTAD since it was launched by the UN Secretary-General in 2008 during our UNCTAD XII meeting. So, I would say that these are some of the positive appropriate sides of the recognition of the work that we have been doing jointly with the guidance, I would say all the time, from the membership.
Nevertheless, if I may be frank, as the Inspector has also been quite frank and straightforward, of course the Report could have been helped if some more of the evidences and comments and the efforts to correct some of the inaccuracies that have been proposed by the Secretariat could have been taken on board, and I would understand that sometimes opinions would differ, but generally, honestly, we have made our proposals. I think the pages of our comments and responses amount to something like 59 pages of our comments and responses, not the last one but the ones that were made on the draft report of the JIU. So, not much, or maybe nothing, has been taken on board, and that is something that I would like to indicate as probably a lack of balance in the way opinions from the secretariat should be listened to. I also would have hoped that more concrete evidences, substantive evidences, could have been presented, so that some of the sweeping, and as the Inspector himself has expressed, some of the harsh comments, could have been better understood by the member States, so that they can indicate to us as to what particular areas of lack of transparency, loss of accountability or lack of vision that we could improve upon, because what I am going to say will be just to clarify some of these issues, that we are mindful of this, we are aware of some of these issues, and we would like to demonstrate to you some of the work that you have done together with us to help actually, in making great improvements in various areas of UNCTAD’s work, and, of course, if this report would have paid some attention to some of the substances, contents of our reports it would have been more balanced. Of course, I admit the JIU Report refers to some of our flagship reports, in particular it mentions the Trade and Development Reports, it mentions the World Investment Reports, but there are other reports that illustrate our substantive work, and I am confident that member States around the world have been greatly appreciative of this work. I don’t have to reiterate how much of our reports and research work have been used last year during the LDC-IV Conference, for example, in Istanbul last year. So, these are just some of my own personal remarks that certainly, if it would have been possible, I would have expected to see better balance to be presented by this important JIU Report.
Now, there are several areas of very strong and very critical sweeping judgements that have been passed in this report on the way we manage, I manage, we administer, I administer this organization, that I think would need, not really a rebuttal or a rejoinder or back-and-forth arguments, but just some clarifications, some clarifications, so that, as member States who have to look at what should be the consequences of this report, as we also at the secretariat have already begun to look at the consequences for our own work, because we are mindful of the things that have been indicated in the report that need to be improved. So, just for clarification, for your future deliberations on the consequences and the outcome for this report, that you could be as fully informed as possible from our side. I would pick up six areas. I cannot be exhaustive in the way the report has been so graphic in certain areas, but let me pick up six areas, and I cannot go into details in all areas, but let me give you some of the information and the kind of areas and directions of work that we are trying to push forward so that we can fulfil some of the things that have been actually indicated to us in the JIU Report.
There are six areas. One area is about our organizational identity in a so-called existential crisis, uncertainty, about our identity. I think it was in our first meeting with the team of inspectors that I did mention that. UNCTAD, really… we have this identity problem, because we don’t have really a clear-cut, concrete, explicit constituency. If I were at the World Trade Organization, of course trade ministers would be my constituency. If I were in the World Health Organization, yes, of course, public health ministries would be my constituency. If I were in the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), I would have the ministers of industry as my major constituency. But I am pleased that UNCTAD’s constituency is national governments around the world. We are responsible to the macroeconomic developmental framework of countries around the world that would have to be an integrated picture of all of these ministries together. We are very proud of our integrated framework background, but yet, this is one problem that actually indicates the kind of lack of identity, and it was mentioned to me by some of the leaders when we met when I sometimes asked why governments do not speak up for UNCTAD work; they say because everybody can speak up or everybody can remain silent. I will come back to this, but just to go over the six areas that I would come back to give you my comments on what are we doing, what we have done to be able to tackle some of these issues. And, some of which, we need, of course, your guidance on, we need your support, support from the member States, and we need to be reminded by reports such as the JIU Report, so that we can, again, be as humble as possible as to what we have achieved or failed to achieve. So, the first one is about our organizational identity.
The second one is the clear and common vision from top management that seems to be found lacking in this report. The third one is the decreasing commitment and leadership from member States. The fourth is the claim in the report that one of the several areas of UNCTAD that has become more and more bureaucratic is in the area of research and analysis, where we are reducing our own endogenous research and analysis and findings. Number five is, seemingly, the lack of results-based management under my management, under my watch. Number six is that the staff at large, according to survey results, seem to indicate to the report that there is an organizational malaise and an in-depth loss of trust and confidence into the functioning of the secretariat in terms of leadership, management transparency, communication, and fairness of treatment for the career development of staff. This is a whole mouthful, and a massive accusation of the shortages in the way I manage this institution, and this cannot be let go without having the right kind of clarifications from my side and from the side of my own staff. So let me go to them one by one, as concisely as I could possibly afford to do.
The first one, I think, came as no surprise to all of you, to most of you, if you have been involved with UNCTAD’s work, that there has always been something of an anxiety, an uncertainty, with UNCTAD’s presence. You would recall when we were created in 1964, we had a difficult birth, a difficult birth, in fact, some member States were not always in full agreement with the coming into existence of such an institution like UNCTAD. This is some time past, but I have to remind you that we have gone through a massive reorganization, I think, if I remember correctly, from the Midrand UNCTAD IX (1996) Conference, by which our divisions were downgraded. We used to have something like eight or more than eight major divisions. After Midrand, we were downgraded to half that number of divisions. The LDC division was downgraded to a programme, Commodities was downgraded to a programme. So you can see that the threat, the existential threat for UNCTAD, is not just imaginary or a paranoia, it’s real. The birth of the World Trade Organization in 1995 weakened our own intergovernmental machinery, and of course, the things that UNCTAD used to be proud of in terms of our underpinning international multilateral negotiations in various areas of commodities and international trade have been of course taken over, rightfully so, by WTO, but that has been part of the concerns with the existence of UNCTAD. And of course, at the LDC-III (I guess) summit, in Brussels in 2001, the platform for the LDC work of UNCTAD was further diminished, I would say dismembered, because nearly half of the resources that we had were actually reallocated to New York. So, these are some of the things I have to remind you about. When I came to UNCTAD in 2005, all these things had taken place. So, what I did was to try to set a new vision, to introduce the restructuring effort for UNCTAD.
And I did it with the setting up of the Panel of Eminent Persons, led by the former President of Brazil, President Cardoso, who was so kind as to have actually spent a lot of his time with us, and different leading experts in the areas of trade and development from various countries and various parts of the world, including the former President of Finland, President Halonen; the former President of the United Republic of Tanzania; and the former President of Mozambique. This was one of my first acts when I came to UNCTAD in September 2005, and in October 2005 we set up this panel. I shared with you the panel’s report, I brought it into discussion when we had a review of UNCTAD XI, and it was decided finally by the members to take on board not all, but various of the recommendations at UNCTAD XII in Accra. You would recall that this report, I called it Enhancing the Development Role and Impact of UNCTAD. By that time, I already was very conscious of the erosion of the impact of the role of UNCTAD in several areas. And I know that we can’t actually keep wanting to go back to the 1960s and the 1970s. Those days will not come back. We’ve gone past that. We are in a new generation of globalization; we are in a new economic power equation. So this is what UNCTAD now is all about.
That was long before I just want to make sure that you understand why I did all that, and the resulting implementation of the report that we have been carrying out. Several reforms in several areas: We have improved the intergovernmental machinery, by consolidating the Commissions’ work. We have instigated the multi-year expert meetings, so that the expert meetings can become more substantive, and can produce more impact on the way we work and more meaningfully. We have established, for the first time in the UN system, the Public Symposium, to work more closely with civil society, because it is not enough to work only among ourselves with the experts and government officials; we need to be listening to the parliamentarians, we need to listen to civil society, we need to listen to the business sectors, we need to listen to the academics. We have created the UN Inter-Agency Cluster on Trade and Productive Capacity; I have already said that. We have created genuine partnerships with other international organizations, and I can cite so many different joint products, joint publications. We’ve done work with ILO on employment and on unemployment, a few years ago in our Trade and Development Report.
We have done work with UNIDO on industrialization and the need to be looking at new ways of doing industrial policy, which is much needed. Even the United States is taking up the new way of approaching on industrial policy work. We have been doing a lot of work with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on food security, on agricultural marketing information, on agricultural productivity – so many things on food security. We’ve been working with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in so many areas to be able to substantiate our work as one in the UN. The UN as one. UNCTAD has been actually introducing the joint training programme for our resident coordinators around the world, so that resident coordinators could be representing all of us from the UN, because UNCTAD doesn’t have any resident representatives anywhere in the world. And we’ve been successfully introducing the elements of economic development and trade issues into the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF).
We have been working with WIPO, the intellectual property rights organization, in the areas of creative economy and development applications of the intellectual property rights agreements. We’re working with the World Trade Organization, particularly on the G-20 report on protectionism in the areas of trade and investment. And the list just goes on and on. We’ve been following your mandate to streamline publications. We’ve been reducing the number of publications, but we have created some new things which we think are needed, but we have reduced the large number of publications. We have been streamlining our technical cooperation, reducing the number of projects from more than 400 to now about 200-something, and we’re going to streamline more, the basic thematic parts of our technical cooperation. And we have launched into the global discussion just to make sure that we exist and we make differences; in some areas we are making a great difference, like in the area of investment. We’ve launched the World Investment Forum since Accra in 2008, and now we’ve done three in the series of World Investment Forums, so much so, that the constituencies of our investment forums have been expanding every year. It has gone from a thousand people, to now when we have a few thousand people attending the meetings. Some countries would like to own the forum on our behalf, to have a perennial place, a permanent place for this forum. But we want to have it be shared around the world, so we are moving this forum around the world to have rotation. So this is what I have been trying to do, to reduce whatever doubts that may have lingered in the way that we may be thinking about the future of UNCTAD. Because I do realize that when I came in, existential uncertainty and threats were real and not paranoia.
The second area: the lack of clear common vision from top management. I can’t say I’m hurt when I see this remark, but I do feel badly that after all that we have been doing – in terms of all these reforms that I, together with my team, that we have actually carried out – there are still some remarks on the lack of clear vision from the top management. I think I deserve something better than that. When I came in, and came up with all those reforms from the first year onward that I came to be in this organization with all of you. I think that the eminent persons’ report and subsequent reforms in major areas of our work are indicative witness to the commitments of this administration and this management under my watch. To have the vision to change UNCTAD from one that used to dwell in “Oh, but we have done so well in the 60s and 70s, can’t we do something more with the commodities agreement, Common Fund, can’t we do more work in terms of ODA, can’t we do more work on GSP (Generalized System of Preferences)?” No, because times have changed, now we’re doing work on policy space, we’re doing work on policy on productive capacity, we’re doing work on sustainable investment, we’re doing better work in the area of sustainable debt, and responsible borrowing and lending. We’re doing great works in the areas of trying to help LDCs graduate, which has never been heard before.
The number of LDCs had been increasing and the UN system together with all of you merely adjusted to deal with them. For me, I reject that. I want to see numbers fall and I said this from the time I came into UNCTAD. We cannot keep saying that in the 60s and the 70s there used to be only twenty-something LDCs and now we have about 50 LDCs and are satisfied with that. I don’t want to see in 2020, to have more than 50 LDCs. And that’s why at the LDC forum in Istanbul, the Istanbul Plan of Action did commit all of us to a gradual graduation of half of the LDCs and we are very, very committed to that. If this is not vision then I don’t know what you can call vision. When I came into this office, the internal in-house ideology was let a hundred flowers bloom, that this is purely a research organization and you can go and have your own minds, your own ideologies, these sorts of things. I came in and said “No”. We are not here to serve ourselves or our research preferences, we’re here to serve the global community, so we must be guided by that, and you can have your ideologies, you may like or not like any ideologies but you keep it at home. Here is our practical work that we have to lean on our three pillars. We start with our research, and then we go through the intergovernmental machinery, and then we also implement them on the ground. And I kept saying this as our vision time and again, time and again, and you would see that we are more linked, there are more linkages of all the things we have been working on in the last few years. We were confrontational when I came in, when I was in my former career reincarnation. You cannot image how many spats we had between the World Trade Organization and UNCTAD.
Yes, I was the first WTO Director-General to have signed an MOU with UNCTAD. There was no one from WTO who would like to sign an MOU with UNCTAD; I signed the first one. And I implemented them, when I was there at WTO, and I implement them all when I am here. We were all working in silos and we had a very difficult work relationship with the International Trade Centre, very difficult. I’m convinced that we have changed all this. I don’t think UNCTAD has been alienated from all the international community.
The vision, the foremost:
No. 1 that I did for UNCTAD, was to make UNCTAD more relevant, meaningful, and the eminent persons’ report recognizes that it is an ongoing process. I have now committed to the second report of the eminent persons’ group – why? – because I know that in terms of administration, in terms of management, we’ve done some work, not finished the work, but we need to initiate some new work in the areas of our substantive contents, because as I’ve said, we’ve gone into crisis after crisis, situations have changed and I need to consult my panels, and the Panel of Eminent Persons has been so kind in agreeing to create another panel now co-chaired by the former president of Finland, Ms. Tarja Halonen, and very prominent economist Jagdish Bhagwati. Again, with so many people from various parts of the world including the newly elected vice-president, the former first lady of the Dominican Republic, and also the former president of South Africa, President Thabo Mbeki, for example.
I am serious with the work that I am doing, so I’m continuing with this and you’ll be hearing what the eminent persons have been saying about our substantive work. I will not be hiding them from you, but the problem at the moment is that in doing this report while working on UNCTAD XIII, I cannot finish all this report in time. I, we, were wishing, I was saying to our eminent persons that we would like to launch this eminent persons’ report at Doha at UNCTAD XIII, but now I have to defer it, I have to postpone it, but the report will be launched for all of you, you would have a chance to look and comment on the report. And I wish and I would like to see your comments, and they all expect to see your comments.
Vision No. 2: The way we work together. I have been proclaiming, announcing my three C’s ad nauseum to my staff: coordination, communication, concentration. Coordination, communication, concentration. The three C’s. Some of them listened, some of them only now listen, but this is human. This is human. I keep repeating, and I will do until I depart from this organization. These are the three C’s that I have asked, I have ordered, I have commanded to all our staff and divisions, to adopt. I would say that almost all of them have been doing that, this is what I believed in and so I just don’t understand why the “lack of common vision from top management”.
Vision No. 3: I have been trying to break down all the silos but the silos have been very strong. We have been doing all configurations of interdivisional work that I would not want to annoy you or bore you with the details. But if you would have actually been looking at some of our joint work in areas of energy, food crisis, preparations for all these big meetings, LDCs, UNCTAD XII, the Accra Accord Steering Committee, the financial crisis interdivisional work, speculations in the financial markets, the commodities markets, so much of this work that… I don’t know… We still need to do more work. This is still unfinished. Because this has been so much ingrained in this organization that it will not take a few years; it could take probably ages, but we are doing the work, so that you would know that I have not ignored or overlooked this work. We’re still doing the work.
Vision No. 4: We have, I have, reorganized the whole of UNCTAD. When I came in, not for the sake of reorganization, but I looked at the Africa programme being separated from the LDC programme, and you would understand how wasteful this could be, because there are, or there were at that time, about 50 or 51 LDCs, and there were about 40 or 34 African countries in the LDC group, and they were in a separate division. Since my arrival, I have merged them together, and the effectiveness of the work and the resource effectiveness – this is all what you want from the resources. You cannot be saying and just paying lip service to results-based management without handling how efficiently your resources can be used, our resources can be used. Also that is necessary. It is not only the resource effectiveness but the effectiveness of the way we deploy our resources, and I have done that. I have also revamped one division which used to have a name that I cannot remember because everything that people forgot when people came back after Midrand they threw it into this division. I can’t remember the name. But this one now is the division that deals with technology, innovation, logistics.

And back then, nearly ten years ago, people would have thought: Look, what are you talking about, technology is important, but is it part of our development path? Yes, UNCTAD has always been the focal point, the secretariat, of the Commission on Science and Technology for Development, but not much had been done on this kind of application of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) – I have highlighted that. There came, after this rearrangement, this reallocation within UNCTAD, a flow of work in the area of science and technology for development, and one of the very, very good reports that I would still like you to go back and read is one report on how technology could make a difference on food security in Africa – agriculture development and technological development and innovation for Africa. Very key reports written some time something like three years or four years ago, still being used; still I try to make sure that people in Africa give attention to the reports, and we will come back to this report and update it also in the next few years. We have worked so well with the General Assembly and, with the thoughtfulness and constructive recommendation from the UN Secretary-General, we’ve been able to have a return of the Unit on Economic Cooperation and Integration Among Developing Countries, a South–South work which we came back to at the start of my management term here; we have highlighted so much as South–South, North–South and triangular cooperation, particularly the South–South cooperation. So this has been brought back to UNCTAD after it was taken away in 1996.
Vision No. 5: Our partnership programmes with other institutions and organizations. I have alluded to some of our joint work.
Vision No. 6: Contribution to UN as One, with a UN cluster system, training of resident coordinators. We have inserted trade and development back into the process of the UN development assistance framework (the UNDAF).
Vision No. 7: You can see that, without the vision, how come so many different UNCTAD terminologies are being accepted globally at the moment? Policy space, productive capacity, developmental States, sustainable debt, responsible borrowing and lending, responsible investment, developmental regionalism – all these are terms coined by UNCTAD, not for the sake of coining terms, but because we have policy recommendations and substance behind all this.
Let me go to comment No. 3… one of the serious several risks that we are seen to be under by the report. This is the decreasing commitment and leadership from member States. I would have to ask back to the member States. Are you really intentionally decreasing your commitment and leadership from your side, from the member States? I don’t see that. If you see that, you will have to tell me, because according to this report, the survey has been done and you’ve been telling our colleague the Inspector about this. If you think you want to decrease commitment, if you think you don’t need leadership, your leadership with us, then I need to know – why, in what area. I need to have evidences. Because in all the work we’ve been doing with all of you, whether it’s consultations, whether it’s sessions, expert group and commission meetings, UNCTAD XII, XIII… you’ve been demonstrating full support, recognition of our work, and so on and so forth. I cannot imagine, I cannot imagine… maybe something that has eluded my attention, or I haven’t paid enough attention in certain areas. We have been asked to work in so many different areas that I cannot imagine. Two or three years ago we were asked by the President of the General Assembly to do the major substantive work in his report on financial crisis and its impact on development. You would recall this report, and just being revived just a few weeks ago at Headquarters in New York. We have been supporting LDCs’ conferences, the work on LDCs has been done, you can listen to our LDCs colleagues. UNCTAD has been leading all this.
It must be useful to some of our member States. The work that we have jointly done with WTO, OECD for G-20… if G-20 doesn’t see the importance of UNCTAD, I don’t think we would be producing this joint report on protectionism with WTO and OECD. There are several more areas of work that we have been asked to do by the members, a long queue of members waiting for us to do work in certain review of policy areas, which is so important. Review of policies in UNCTAD is just like trade policy review at the WTO. The review of investment policies, review of science, technology and innovation policies, review of competition policies – all these policies need to be reviewed. And when you ask me about results-based management, I am just surprised that, if you don’t even spare so much time as to look at some of these reviews, aren’t these reviews supposed to be indicative of the results – that we are working? If there would have been no results, why would we be doing all these reviews? Why do countries bother with their reviews, if we just go and tell them “look, I mean, you just set up one investment promotion authority and be done with it.” We review them, and we recommend, and we comment, we criticize. And we bring you all together, together with the civil society and business, businesses.
But one thing which actually has been… I don’t know… kind of information that the Inspector has obtained, not his fault, maybe my fault, maybe our fault, but he indicates in the report, the report indicates, that there is lack of support now for UNCTAD because the extrabudgetary contributions for UNCTAD have been declining. I have to go back to you, because you are the one who gives us… because extrabudgetary support is given based upon the demand coming from your side. If there would be no demand for UNCTAD services, you don’t have to give us extrabudgetary support. We would be working with the normal biennial support from New York, about 70 million US dollars a year, 140 per biennium… which is very, very small. You would not bother to give us anything extra. But the report indicates that… you know… that the judgement is passed, is arrived at, because you can see the trough of the extrabudgetary contributions in 2010 at a very low level. Now, to be fair to you, to be fair to me, to be fair to my staff, I looked back into a series of extrabudgetary contributions from the day, from the year I entered, 2005, to this year, oh, to last year, 2011, and this year I haven’t got the figure for 2012. But, of course, because sometimes there is more demand, sometimes there is less demand, sometimes governments finish some projects, sometimes they want to start some new projects, so there has not been a trend of your rising care for us or your decreasing attention to UNCTAD.
There’s no trend. When I came in, it was $35 million in 2005, and then, it must have been my bad performance because, in 2006, it went down to $29 million. $35 million in 2005, to $29 million… And then, I don’t know what I did, or what my colleagues have been doing, but in 2007, I have the round figure for you, in 2007 it went up to $40 million again. To 40. I may have not done right or done wrong, I don’t know what, but it went to 40. In 2008, it came down to 33.8… 34… back to the level of 2005. If the report would have looked in the way we economists tend to look at figures, you don’t look at just one set of figures – you analyse things, you analyse the whole trend, to see whether this is happening. Otherwise you have to tell me, because you are the members who support me, or not want to support us. In 2009, it went down to 29. In 2010, it went up to 31. And last year, lo and behold, when we were told that we just lost your attention and your leadership, it went up to a record level of extrabudgetary funds: 43 million US dollars. Can you imagine? I wouldn’t claim it was my work, it must have been our staff’s work, all my colleagues’ work. I would attribute to them all, the way that they have been working very hard, in several areas that I don’t want to mention but this is really a demonstration of their commitment. And I thinkit’s because of them understanding our vision, and because there must have been some vision there.
Anyway, let me move to the fourth threat to UNCTAD, the risk that one can see from UNCTAD, that UNCTAD management would be having to cope with. We have become more and more bureaucratic, reducing our own endogenous research work. I have been working in various positions in my life, but I have been trained first and foremost as an academic. I have brought research to nearly all institutions that I have been involved with… in my government work… If you ask our colleagues at the World Trade Organization… I don’t always have to refer to my friend Pascal Lamy, but he has been admitting all the time, that the World Trade Report, which is one of the flagship reports of WTO at the moment, was created under my watch. I drove research under the WTO also, because I thought trade negotiations would have been much facilitated if the negotiators had also understood what they are negotiating about. And when I was at WTO, I was looking at the Trade and Development Report of UNCTAD, and I thought it was such a good report. That was why I started the World Trade Report with WTO. So, there is nothing that I would love to do here more than to enhance and perfect and support the work of research within UNCTAD.
To be saying that I’m creating bureaucracy and trying to wean away from our endogenous work, it’s just something which, you would have to tell me that… why should I be doing all this sort of thing? We are doing more work with the network, because this is what I have agreed with the eminent persons: we have to work with outsiders, because sometimes, and, people talk about peer reviews of our work, and the report says that we do not do peer reviews of our reports, only in some areas – in the World Investment Report and the Trade and Development Report – otherwise we don’t do peer reviews. You can go and ask my colleagues in all the divisions. They are told to do peer reviews and they are doing the peer reviews, you just have to ask them.
Maybe peer reviews are not announced to you, maybe peer review is done in a way that they do it abroad somewhere else or here, I don’t know. But we are very adamant in doing peer reviews and are very adamant in having others comment on our work. I write letters for some key documents to ministers around the world, donors and recipients, to make sure that they got our report, read our report, and have some comments to send back to us. Because I want our reports to be read, research work to be done better. But of course, again, it’s maybe my own fault, because I went to some meetings, the last one was a meeting in LDC-IV last year. We had a panel discussion on the LDCs’ targets for the next decade. And there was one senior official coming from one of the major countries, member States of UNCTAD, of the UN – senior and very capable, I respect him a lot. He was saying something at the meeting. He just… you know… he showed this report, which is our LDCs report, the very well done LDCs report that we brought with us to LDC-IV. And he said “look, you all should read this report that has been produced by UNDP.” There are witnesses who saw this. So you can see that some of our senior colleagues – I don’t blame them, they may not know – because when we present our reports around the world, our colleagues from UNDP are presenting these reports, so the UNCTAD LDCs reports are being just presented to those who came to the LDC-IV meeting as this UNDP report.
Wonderful… I was involved with some APEC meetings in the last couple of years, particularly in the area of investment. There was one APEC, this is the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting… I was in one APEC meeting that discussed investment reports, and one of the panellists in my panel said: “We have here a wonderful report, the World Investment Report that is produced by OECD.” This is all so unfair. I’m not just cooking this up. World Investment Report produced by OECD?
During the Accra UNCTAD XII meeting; I was in Accra, there was this local newspaper in Accra that, at the time, because UNCTAD was there – the UN was there – so they were playing the big news. They said “we are launching today a major trading programme for our entrepreneurs, the Empretec programme of UNCTAD which is a programme that is sponsored by UNDP.” It was launched by our UNDP resident coordinators, but it was reported as a UNDP project. In some countries that have launched into competition rules and regulations, sometimes I ask them, “look, can we do something more for you?” And they answer “oh, are you doing things in competition?” So, I am saying this because it may be that we’re not recognized because we’re not doing well in terms of our own communications, so this is something that I may need to do better, but there are a lot of misunderstandings of what we do and what we don’t do.
Results-based management. No. 5: I have already touched on so many different areas, and so, let me say that, in terms of results-based management, I have already touched upon various reviews and assessments. Results-based management is not only on administrative terms. It’s not how much money are you using and are you using the money according to what we have given you? No! Results-based management would mean that people adopt your recommendations and would use in a wise way that would lead to a sort of developmental commitment by the governments, so that it can lead to the right policies in terms of our macroeconomic policies to balance markets with the role of the State, to have the right agricultural policies and industrial policies, to do better work in the areas of services, because countries would need that. These are the results. Better-working investment. Why do countries have to borrow if you have better investment? And that’s why we have to work more on review of investment. These are results-based things that I looked at. But sorry if you think you have to count the number of hits of enrollments, count the number of… I don’t know what… I cannot count….And it’s always so very difficult for economic policymaking exercises that we do in UNCTAD to always be based on results. But nevertheless, in terms of administration, we certainly would like to do more work so that the members can tell us that there must be some areas that we can improve. We are willing to listen. I know that our Secretary-General is also working on a UN-wide framework of results-based management, and we are actually going by that as a main thrust of our work.
My last point is in the area of the survey of staff at large. Certainly I hope it would not be too much if I would request from the Inspector that if I would have more details of this… what is it… staff-at-large survey. I know the survey cannot be done for the whole 100 per cent of the staff, but, to be able to have this judgement that there is an organizational malaise… If there is an organizational malaise, I don’t think that we could go to UNCTAD XIII and come back with the kind of results that, you would agree that, although our staff are not always involved in negotiations, our staff have been spending a lot of time and work in the substantive area. All the panels there were so much commended by those who could have the fortunate chance to attend. The new areas of work in services, innovations, gender, Aid for Trade, the Enhanced Integrated Framework… I can’t count them all. If there is a malaise – you know what happened with us when we planned to go to UNCTAD XIII? We had to reduce the number of proposals coming from our staff to establish more and more panels, joint sessions, more sessions… We had to reduce, because there were already too many sessions, more so than in the past. If there would have been a malaise, would they have liked to contribute? Or were they doing it because I forced them to do it? I didn’t force them. I was the one who asked for the reduction, because I couldn’t attend. I attended something like 48 or 50 or something. But I did attend, because I wanted to attend all of them, but I couldn’t possibly divide myself to attend. From the survey, it has led to conclusion in the report that there’s this in-depth loss of trust and confidence in the functioning of the secretariat, in our leadership and management. You don’t know how much we’ve been doing the work together to maintain the relevance of this organization.
We went to retreat together, we have our regular joint sessions, coordinating committees, steering committees. I think there must be some dissatisfaction somewhere. There must be, yes. I would admit that; if you work with 100-odd people I can’t have all of them to be satisfied. There must be a number of people dissatisfied. When we finish by appointing one person, I’m sure that there must be 3 to 5 or 6 or 10 people who’d be less satisfied, because they think they would be qualified for that post but they cannot be appointed. Now, if they think that the process of selection, which I follow, which I follow meticulously – the UN system – if there are intransparent cases, they can come to me, they can go to Headquarters, they can go to the court, they can take it to the tribunal, anything could be done. But in the past few years, yes, we have dealt with some cases, but there are some cases that come because of the recommendations of the oversight bodies … the oversight authority… and then we were taken to court because I execute according to what I have been recommended to, and there are some areas because I have to decide because this is upon deliberations, joint deliberations with New York, but very few, very few. So, all in all, I’m sorry to be such a nuisance to all of you to go into all these things, but let me end by saying that I’m not saying all this to negate the responsibility of UNCTAD at all. No. I fully realize that, with all the good intentions in the report, we have still mountains to climb, we have still mountains to climb. I would be the first one to admit, we still have mountains to climb. But we have to change the way we do this, and we have to be careful, we have to be careful in the way we pass judgement on each other. Because when I’m criticized, you are also criticized, because you may not have looked carefully at my work. You may need to spend more time with me maybe, and at all levels, not only at the level of experts or interns. You may need to send somebody with the interns so that we would know what the interns are thinking about what I do.
So, let me cite quickly six points that, to be balanced, I still have worries and have to comment.
The first one is still, I must do more work to make the three C’s of mine widely accepted under UNCTAD. The three C’s are still on-and-off being applied – sometimes not at all applied by some of my staff.
The second one: Townhall meetings: While the Inspector was preparing this JIU report, I had three townhall meetings. I have emphasized the need to do more research, to do “UNCTAD as one” – I call it One UNCTAD. Before we have One UN, we must have One UNCTAD. I have talked about ethics. I have talked about the future of UNCTAD. You can check what I said with my staff, whether I have said this. But these are things that I still have to go through. Research, One UNCTAD, ethics. I’m serious about all this, particularly ethics.
The third one: I need to fill posts, and the report raised legitimate concern with the time we use in filling our posts. But we’re not the worst one in the UN; we’re not the worst one. I want to be better, not that I’m saying this as an excuse, but we’re not the worst one; I want to do better, but there are extraneous factors. I don’t want to blame extraneous factors. But there are a lot of factors that I have to take into account and, one of these days, I know within the UN system we’re working on this, but I still have my concerns here, I still have to do better in filling posts.
Number four: I have always been aspiring to have more people from developing countries to participate in the work here. It’s good and well to have all of you participate, but the experts coming… you know… people from the capitals, people from the countries, it’s such a crucial thing, because sometimes things here do not get back. You do your work, but maybe it’s not like seeing with your own eyes. So I’ve been trying to get the experts to come from the capitals and to be with us, and you would recall that, since my first day here, I have been asking for your contribution for a trust fund for the experts to be supported in terms of coming to be with us.
I am still not satisfied (number 5) with resource efficiency. While this report was going on, I had already decided to ask one of our senior former colleagues to do another report for me, because I know him well, he knows the situation well, he’d been here with us for a few decades, so I asked him to do a report on resource efficiency, and I’m working on this report. One of these days I’ll be trying to tell you what I’m trying to do, because I need to shift resources within UNCTAD, among the different areas of work. There are areas of work in UNCTAD that need better attention and we don’t have resources, and there are areas in which we should forget it. But still, there’s people trying to just move forward by standing still, so I don’t want that to happen.
And the last part is that we need better understanding, more recognition from all of you, from the global community, to understand what we are trying to do. Now, all of this is partly contained within the recommendations. We have circulated our ideas on the recommendations, but we know that some of them we have to take up, some of them the members have to look at, some of them the General Assembly will have to look at, and some of them are our remit, so we would be certainly most willing to be committed again in sharing with our work that you have been always been supportive and sharing with us and we look forward to again sharing in a way that we would move forward together. Thank you very much and for your tolerance



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