A first meeting of experts, aimed at developing a conceptual and operational framework for analysing the process of integration of low-income countries into the global economy, so as to exploit the opportunities globalization offers in a manner supportive of sustainable human development, is being organised by UNCTAD from February 3 to 5, in Geneva (see programme in annex).
Renowned international experts, such as Professor David Bloom, from the Harvard Institute for International Development and Professor Manuel Agosin, from University of Chile, will be present. Together with representatives of international organizations, research institutions and international business community, they will examine the causal relationships between sustainable human development variables - such as the equitable distribution of growth, poverty alleviation, protection of the environment and the economic advancement of women - and integration-oriented policies in the areas of trade, investment and finance.
This meeting is being held under the aegis of the joint UNCTAD/UNDP Global Programme entitled "Globalization, Liberalization and Sustainable Human Development" (see press release: TAD/INF/2749). This new Programme will assist 10 to 12 low-income countries, such as Zimbabwe, Ghana, Guatemala, Nepal, Tunisia and Uzbekistan, to develop policy and institutional tools necessary to reap the benefits of globalization while minimizing its risks. This programme will initially cover a period of three years (1999-2001). It will be executed by UNCTAD with US$ 2.9 million allocated by UNDP towards the total programme cost of US$ 4 million.
The Programme will involve country assessment studies undertaken in close cooperation with the United Nations Resident Representatives and with the direct involvement and participation of all "development actors" in the countries concerned (government, private sector, research institutions and NGOs). On the basis of these studies, national workshops will be organised to assist the countries in the elaboration of a development plan that encompasses sustainable human development objectives.
The discussion at the meeting will be based on three background papers: "The sequencing of structural adjustment programmes: what are the issues?" by Mr. John Toye, Director, Division on Globalisation and Development Strategies, UNCTAD, focusing on the problem of timing of reforms and providing a brief case study of Indian economic reforms; "Trade and Finance: A Sustainable Human Development Centred Conceptual and Operational Framework" by Professor Manuel Agosin; and "Globalization and Developing Countries: Foreign Direct Investment and Growth and Sustainable Human Development", by Mr. Daniel Chudnovsky from CENIT (Centro de Investigación para la transformación) of Buenos Aires, Argentina.