unctad.org | Trade and Development Board, Fiftieth session
Trade and Development Board, Fiftieth session
06 - 17 October 2003

Key Issues

Interdependence and global economic issues from a trade and development perspective

The specific topic under this item is "Capital accumulation, economic growth and structural change". The Board will have as background documentation the Trade and Development Report 2003, and there will be a panel of experts on 7 October (High-level Segment). The TDR 2003 addresses the present weakness of the world economy and growth disparities among developing countries. It analyses recent developments with regard to financial flows and international trade, as well as the level and structure of fixed capital formation, productivity growth, structural change, and international competitiveness in different parts of the developing world, with special attention given to Latin America.

Review of progress in the implementation of the Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2001-2010

Under item 3 (a), the Board will have before it the report by the secretariat entitled "UNCTAD-wide activities in favour of least developed countries: Third progress report" (TD/B/50/3). This report is a follow-up to the decision taken by the Board at its forty-ninth session whereby it requested the UNCTAD secretariat to report at each regular session on its activities on LDCs. The report provides member States with information on the scale and intensity of UNCTAD´s activities in these countries. An attempt is made to provide indicative and preliminary lessons drawn from activities undertaken, including, wherever possible, an assessment of the results achieved. The Board, after its consideration of this item, is expected to provide further guidance for the future activities of the secretariat in the least developed countries.

Under item 3 (b), the Board will have before it the report by the secretariat entitled "Main recent initiatives in favour of least developed countries in the area of preferential market access: Preliminary impact assessment". The report has been prepared in response to the request by the Board at its forty-ninth session in relation to the benefits effectively derived from LDC status in the area of market access. It offers an overview of the recent market access initiatives of Quad countries. It examines the utilization of market access preferences, with special attention being paid to the specificities of market access initiatives themselves, non-tariff barriers to trade, and the persistence of various sorts of protectionism and constraints faced by LDCs in respect of their supply capacities. The Board, after its consideration of this item, is expected to provide further guidance for the future activities of the secretariat in the area of enhancing existing preferential schemes and exploring other forms of international support measures in order to encourage structural transformation in the productive capacities of LDCs.

Economic development in Africa: Issues in Africa´s trade performance.

The Board will have as background documentation a report entitled "Economic development in Africa: Issues in Africa´s trade performance", and a panel of experts will be held on 13 October to discuss these issues. The report places in perspective the reasons for the declining shares of Africa in world trade. It reviews the structure and composition of the continent´s trade and the associated problems of commodity dependence; it also discusses the factors influencing both Africa´s ability to diversify into more market-dynamic sectors and its competitiveness, even in its traditional exports. Finally, it points to national and international policy measures that may be needed to help Africa overcome some of the hurdles it faces.

Review of the developments in the Post-Doha programme

The Trade and Development Board, under agenda item 5, has an opportunity to discuss progress attained in the Doha Work Programme (DWP) in areas of interest to developing countries, and to review the outcome of the Fifth WTO Ministerial Conference in Cancún, Mexico, from 10-14 September 2003. The Board can engage in the debate to take stock of the situation arising from the developments in Cancún, and its implications for future negotiations under the DWP, for the development dimension and for the multilateral trading system. UNCTAD´s role in helping with confidence building in the multilateral trading system would also be highlighted. The discussions could be both of general nature, as well as thematic covering, inter alia, the following areas/questions: (1) overview of the outcome of the 5th WTO Ministerial Conference and lessons for the future; (2) how to proceed on agriculture and non-agricultural negotiations as well as services; (3) how to tackle development issues (implementation issues, special and differential treatment, technical assistance); (4) how to approach the Singapore issues in the light of the Cancún impasse; (5) what follow-up is needed to the decision on TRIPS and public health and its implications; (6) how to address other issues (e.g., cotton; small economies; LDCs; trade, debt and finance; trade and transfer of technology); and (7) what are the process-related implications from Cancún for consensus building?

Technical Cooperation activities in 2002

Provision of appropriate technical cooperation services and capacity-building programmes in the areas of development, trade and investment are important means to assist developing countries´ efforts to integrate into the world economy and multilateral trading system. The Trade and Development Board will review the results of technical cooperation activities implemented by UNCTAD in 2002, including its thematic and geographical coverage, and identify and propose key elements for further enhancing the delivery and effectiveness of technical cooperation and capacity-building programmes with a view to its long-term sustainability. The Board will also review a draft new strategy for UNCTAD´s technical cooperation as well as the report on UNCTAD´s assistance to the Palestinian people.

Preparatory process for the eleventh session of the Conference (UNCTAD XI)

During the week-long conference (São Paulo, 13 - 18 juin 2004), a number of sessions on trade, investment, finance, technology and development-related topics will be organized around the main theme - "enhancing coherence between national development strategies and global economic processes". Debates will focus on ways to make trade work for development, bearing in mind the outcomes of the recent summits on Financing for Development and Sustainable Development. Emphasis will be on improving competitiveness and building capacity in the productive sector.
The conference is UNCTAD´s highest decision-making body. It meets every four years to set priorities and guidelines for the organization, and provides an opportunity to debate key economic and development issues.



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(TD/B/50/MISC.2) - 02/10/2003 - 3 Pages - 82 KB
(TD/B/50/CRP.1) - 16/09/2003 - 5 Pages - 24 KB
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(TD/B/50/CRP.1/Corr.1) - 07/10/2003 - 1 Pages - 9 KB
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The fiftieth session of the Trade and Development Board will open at 10 a.m. on Monday, 6 October 2003, in Room XX at the Palais des Nations, Geneva.

Provisional agenda and organization of work

The provisional agenda for the fiftieth session was approved at the consultations of the President of the Board on 7 July 2003. The provisional agenda and its annotations are circulated in document TD/B/50/1.


Members of the Board are requested to submit to the Secretary-General of UNCTAD by Monday, 29 September 2003, the credentials of their representatives and the names of alternate representatives and advisers who will participate in the session.

Other participants (i.e. members of UNCTAD not members of the Board, the specialized agencies, intergovernmental bodies and non-governmental organizations in the General and Special Categories wishing to participate as observers) are requested to inform the Secretary-General of UNCTAD by 29 September 2003 of the names of their representatives.

Upon arrival, participants are requested before entering the Palais des Nations to collect their entry badge at the UN Security Service, Villa Les Feuillantines, 13 avenue de la Paix (just opposite the main entrance to the Palais on the Place des Nations). The Security Service is open from 8.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. (non-stop). In order to avoid last-minute rushes and delays, it is advised that participants collect their ID badges early. From Villa Les Feuillantines to the E-Building of the Palais (Bâtiment E) it takes about 10 minutes walk. Participants are advised to carry a passport or similar identification document on them.

All communications concerning representation should be sent to the UNCTAD secretariat, Intergovernmental Support Service, Palais des Nations, CH-1211 Geneva 10 (fax : +41 (0)22 917 00 56; e-mail : correspondence@unctad.org).

Rubens Ricupero
Secretary-General of UNCTAD
10 September 2003


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