unctad.org | Multi-year expert meeting on commodities and development (third session)
Multi-year expert meeting on commodities and development (third session)
23 - 25 March 2011
Room XXVI, Palais des Nations

Key Issues

Trade and development implications of developments in commodity markets

  • Developments and challenges in commodity markets: current situation and outlook.

  • Review and identification of policy actions to mitigate the impact of highly volatile prices and incomes on commodity-dependent countries, and to facilitate value addition and greater participation in commodity value chains by commodityproducing countries.

  • Identification of innovative approaches to resolving commodity-related problems based on effective multi-stakeholder partnerships.

Input from experts:

Experts nominated by member States are encouraged to submit brief papers (approximately five pages) as contributions to the work of the meeting.

The papers should be submitted to the UNCTAD secretariat in advance of the meeting and will be made available at the meeting in the form and language in which they are received.

Papers, which should draw on the expert’s experience, may address one or more of the following issues:

  • What have been the drivers of price trends in recent years in commodity markets and what are the opportunities and challenges faced by commodity-dependent developing countries stemming from these trends?

  • What instruments can be used or what mechanisms can be set up to assist commoditydependent developing countries in mitigating exposure to price risk in commodity markets?

  • How can such mechanisms be quickly deployed, be effectively countercyclical, operate on the basis ex ante, automate eligibility requirements and restrict conditionality?

  • What are the policy measures through which commodity-dependent developing countries could enhance their participation in commodity value chains, including value addition in the medium-to-long term?

  • What are the relevant partnerships that can strengthen the contribution of commodities to development in commodity-dependent developing countries? How can such partnerships relate to national initiatives?

For more information, contact:

Samuel Gayi
Head, Special Unit on Commodities

Tel.: +41 22 917 2131
Fax.: +41 22 917 0509
E-mail: samuel.gayi@unctad.org



The third session of the Multi-year Expert Meeting on Commodities and Development will be held from 23 to 25 March 2011, in room XXVI of the Palais des Nations, Geneva. The meeting will be opened at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, 23 March.

Background and purpose of the meeting

The Accra Accord (para. 208) mandated the Trade and Development Board to establish a multi-year expert meeting on commodities. The objective of the meeting is to enable commodity-dependent developing countries, in accordance with the Accra Accord (see para. 10), to harness development gains from the booms in commodity prices, deal with trade and development challenges related to commodity dependence, derive increased benefits from the global integration of markets and meet the internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals (Accra Accord, paras. 77, 92 and 208). The terms of reference established by the Trade and Development Board for the multi-year expert meeting on commodities are contained in document TD/B/55/9.

The Multi-year Expert Meeting on Commodities and Development is expected to provide a forum for sharing country experiences with regard to benefiting and assuring development gains from the boom in commodity prices, as well as for examining information to assist countries in dealing with long-standing challenges of commodity dependence, including overcoming difficulties in diversification. It will generate lessons learned from those experiences and, as provided for in paragraph 207 of the Accra Accord, identify "practical options and actionable outcomes" for addressing at the national, regional and international levels the opportunities and challenges of long-standing commodity trade and development issues, and assuring development gains from the boom in commodity prices. Such options and outcomes may be in the form of "inventories of best practices, checklists, indicative guidelines, sets of criteria or principles, and model frameworks" (para. 207). The multi-year expert meeting will also review and evaluate UNCTAD´s contribution to assisting developing countries in the area of commodities.


Member States of UNCTAD are requested to nominate experts no later than 9 March 2011.

Experts, who will participate in the meeting in their personal capacities, are expected to have proven expertise in the subject and may be selected from ministries such as those dealing with trade, agriculture and natural resources (e.g. minerals and metals, oil and gas), as well as from the private sector, including representatives of producer associations or cooperatives and other non-governmental organizations. In addition, experts from international and regional organizations will be invited as resource persons.

Specialized agencies and intergovernmental bodies wishing to participate in the meeting, as well as non-governmental organizations in the general category and those in the special category wishing to participate as observers, are requested to inform the UNCTAD secretariat of the names of their representatives by 9 March 2011.

Financial assistance

Depending on the availability of funding in the Trust Fund for Financing the Participation of Experts at the time, funds may be made available to finance the participation of a limited number of officially nominated experts from developing countries and countries with economies in transition. Governments requiring funding are therefore invited to explicitly request financing in their letters of nomination. The decision as to which experts should receive financing will be based on the principle of equitable geographical representation; needs of beneficiaries, in particular least developed countries; and on the expertise of the experts concerned. Changes in the names of nominees will be considered as new nominations.

Nominations with requests for financing should be received no later than 28 February 2011 and should be accompanied by the following information about the nominee:

  • Curriculum vitae
  • Mailing address
  • Telephone and fax number
  • E-mail address
  • Name of a contact person in the country´s permanent mission in Geneva

It should be noted in this connection that, once the list of experts to be financed has been finalized, all travel arrangements will be made in accordance with United Nations rules and regulations, and use of the least costly fare will be authorized.

Background documents and contributed papers

The provisional agenda for the meeting, together with the secretariat´s annotations thereto, will be circulated as document TD/B/C.I/MEM.2/12. In order to facilitate the discussion, the UNCTAD secretariat has prepared three issues notes, which will be circulated as TD/B/C.I/MEM.2/13, TD/B/C.I/MEM.2/14, and TD/B/C.I/MEM.2/15.

Experts are encouraged to prepare and submit brief papers (approximately five pages) related to one or more of the issues contained in the provisional agenda to the meeting, as well as those relating to their country´s experience. These papers will be made available to the meeting in the form and language in which they are received.


The meeting will take place at the United Nations Office at Geneva, Palais des Nations. Simultaneous interpretation will be provided in the six official languages of the United Nations. Upon arrival, participants are requested, before entering the Palais des Nations, to collect their badges 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 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 entrance gates. Furthermore, luggage may not be brought into the buildings unless the Security Service gives special clearance.

Nominations and enquiries

Nominations and related communications concerning representation at the meeting should be sent to the UNCTAD secretariat, Intergovernmental Support Service, Palais des Nations, CH-1211 Geneva 10; fax: 41 22 917 0214; e mail: meetings@unctad.org.

All other enquiries should be addressed to Mr. Samuel K. Gayi, Head, Special Unit on Commodities, Office No. E-9030, UNCTAD, Palais des Nations, 1211 Geneva 10, tel.: 41 22 917 2131; fax: 41 22 917 0509; e-mail: samuel.gayi@unctad.org; or Ms. Catherine Katongola, tel.: 41 22 917 1468; fax: 41 22 917 0509; e-mail: catherine.katongola@unctad.org.


Supachai Panitchpakdi
Secretary-General of UNCTAD
9 February 2011


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