The much-anticipated thirteenth ministerial conference of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development was officially opened today at the Qatar National Convention Centre, in Doha, Qatar.
Inaugurating the conference, His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Emir of Qatar, expressed his assurance that the six-day proceedings would strengthen UNCTAD as an organization that can “meet the aspirations of our peoples to achieve sustainable development.”
He reminded of both Qatar and UNCTAD’s long record of promoting the development cause, and conveyed the pleasure felt by the nation of Qatar at organizing the conference.
The recovery from the crisis has been slow and uneven, and widespread challenges persist, warned United Nations Secretary-General Mr. Ban Ki-moon, in a statement read by Ms. Asha-Rose Migiro, Deputy-Secretary-General. Recognizing the paramount importance of the conference, the Secretary-General called on UNCTAD XIII to set the “foundations of the post-crisis development consensus,” reminding the gathering that “much is at stake.”
At the ceremony spoke distinguished heads of state and government: H.E. Mr. Moncef Marzouki, President, Republic of Tunisia; H.E. Mr. Issoufou Mahamadou, President, Republic of Niger; H.E. Mr. Ikililou Dhoinine, President of the Union of the Comoros; Ms. Hannah Tetteh, Trade Minister, Ghana, on behalf of H.E. Mr. John Atta Mills, President of Ghana; H.E. Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister, Republic of Turkey; H.E. Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, and Mr. Abdelkader Bensalah, President of the Council of the Nation, Algeria.
The dignitaries’ statements pointed to UNCTAD’s essential role in addressing the comprehensive challenges that lie on the development path. Some of these they identified as balancing the markets and defining the role of the state in development, reducing inequality, promoting inclusive growth, and helping poor countries achieve their development goals. There is a fundamental need to rethink some of the established development policies, rejecting business as usual, so that sustainable development can result, they concluded.
The ceremony featured "NORTH… SOUTH… EAST… WEST", a vibrant dance drama especially created for the occasion by renowned Middle Eastern dance troupe, Enana Dance Theatre.