The Preparatory Committee for UNCTAD XIII: Hearing with civil society and the private sector, took place in Geneva on 7 March 2012.
Panellists and delegates from member States reflected on the importance of including Civil Society inputs when addressing the most pressing topics on the developmental agenda, including the sustainability challenges, financial regulation and its associated issues, and the policies on trade and investment agreements.
Ms. Esther Busser, of the International Trade Union Confederation, asked for a global paradigm shift towards employment-centred policies that create jobs, maximize the foreign direct investment benefits to local economies, ensure equitable growth, and re-establish an active regulatory role of the State in balancing the markets.
Ms. Lidy Nacpil, representing Jubilee South Asia Pacific Movement on Debt and Development, echoed this position in calling for "radical" policies for addressing the climate challenges. Policies that have been deemed "innovative" have not succeeded, she remarked. "Radical" should be the key word for guiding our policies instead, to mean bold, courageous and truly transformative.
Focusing on the financial sector, Mr. Aldo Caliari, Center of Concern, proposed three areas for remedial action: rethinking macroeconomic policies, a comprehensive reform of the international monetary system and tighter financial regulation.
Mr. Gyekye Emmanuel Tanoh, Third World Network Africa, stressed the urgency of the matte and the need for immediate action, so that substantive reform of the financial sector premised on and supportive of transformation of production capacities and regional structures of commodity-dependent developing countries' economies could be made to truly work for an inclusive real economy and sustainable development.
Ms. Kinda Mohamadieh, Arab NGO Network for Development, said that UNCTAD's role needed to evolve further into an organization supporting developing countries rethinking their development policies, how trade and investment policies could support development process and not add stress on development policy space and policy tools, with full engagement of their citizens and social stakeholders.
Mr. Mark Halle, International Institute for Sustainable Development, fully agreed, asking UNCTAD to take an active role in looking after the interests of developing countries on this matter, assisting them in understanding investment agreements and protect their interests.
UNCTAD Deputy Secretary-General, Mr. Petko Draganov, welcomed the participants, reminding them of UNCTAD's long-standing close relationship with Civil Society, including through the organization of the annual Public Symposium.
The Hearing was chaired by Trade and Development Board President, and President of the Preparatory Committee for UNCTAD XIII, His Excellency Mr. Anthony Mothae Maruping, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Lesotho.