unctad.org | Multi-year expert meeting on commodities and development (fourth session)
Multi-year expert meeting on commodities and development (fourth session)
25 January 2012

Key Issues

Developments and challenges in commodity markets: current situation and outlook


UNCTAD should continue to play a key role, with appropriate coordination with other international and regional actors, including with relevant international commodity bodies, to address the trade and development problems associated with the commodity economy, giving due attention to all commodity sectors such as agriculture, forestry, fisheries, metals and minerals and oil and gas.

In this context, it should monitor developments and challenges in commodity markets and address links between international commodity trade and national development, particularly with regard to poverty reduction.

Accra Accord, paragraph 91

The expert meeting will monitor developments and challenges in commodity markets, giving due attention to key commodity sectors and consider their development implications as well as emerging issues such as the green economy, climate change and technology.

The discussion on this topic, which will include presentations by experts and representatives of relevant international organizations and commodity bodies, will serve to put into focus – and inform UNCTAD member States about – the salient developments in key commodity sectors and markets from a development perspective.

The discussions will provide a context for appraising the opportunities and challenges arising from the current developments in the commodity markets and provide outlook on possible future developments and challenges facing commodity-dependent developing countries.



The fourth session of the Multi-year Expert Meeting on Commodities and Development will be held from 25 to 26 January 2012, in room XXVI of the Palais des Nations, Geneva. It will commence at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, 25 January.

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 11 January 2012. 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 11 January 2012.

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 12 December 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.2/17. In order to facilitate the discussion, the UNCTAD secretariat has prepared two issues notes, which will be circulated as TD/B/C.I/MEM.2/18 "Review of UNCTAD activities to assist commodity-dependent developing countries, including small commodity producers, in their efforts to address commodity challenges and promote development gains from commodity production and trade", and TD/B/C.I/MEM.2/19 "Recent developments in key commodity markets: trends and challenges".

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 1648; fax: 41 22 917 0509; e-mail: catherine.katongola@unctad.org.


Supachai Panitchpakdi
Secretary-General of UNCTAD
25 November 2011


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