In his address to all delegations today, His Excellency Dr. Hamad bin Abdulaziz al-Kawari, Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage, Qatar, and Chair of the National Preparatory Committee for UNCTAD XIII, said that the coming quadrennial conference was an opportunity to “truly demonstrate and exercise political will and leadership” in promoting the development of humanity.
The magnitude of the challenges before the international community kept the role of UNCTAD as important as at its inception, he said. Challenges such as the worst financial crisis ever, climate change, food insecurity, unsustainable development and the resulting social and political upheaval made UNCTAD XIII a timely event for big ideas and bold vision, Dr. Al-Kawari noted.
In his introductory remarks, the Secretary-General of UNCTAD, Dr. Supachai Panitchpakdi, said that the Conference came at a crucial time for the world economy. While there had been a tentative recovery from the crisis, the world economy remained fragile. It was therefore time to think how, following the UNCTAD spirit of cooperation and consensus-building, UNCTAD member States could best deliver more inclusive and sustainable economic outcomes guaranteeing a better future for everybody, Dr. Supachai said.
The quadrennial UNCTAD conference will be held in Doha, Qatar, from 21 to 26 April 2012. The theme of the conference is “Development-centred globalization: Towards inclusive and sustainable development paths”. The session will be attended by Heads of State, high-level government officials, and representatives of civil society, the business community and academia. At the numerous events organized during the Conference, the Organization’s 194 member States will discuss the current state of the world economy and the challenges that this poses for development, and will identify policy solutions. They will also set UNCTAD’s work programme for the next four years. Official negotiations on the outcome text of UNCTAD XIII are ongoing.
Dr. Al-Kawari encouraged the delegates to “seize the opportunity” and “make history”. The delegates’ work in negotiating the outcome document of the Conference, which will guide UNCTAD’s work over the coming four years, is of “fundamental importance”, said Dr. Al-Kawari. He urged delegates to continue to work in a constructive manner, keeping in mind the importance of the Conference and the stated objective of “bringing prosperity and development to humanity”.
Dr. Al-Kawari underlined that Qatar had always felt a special responsibility to contribute to the global effort for the holistic development of humanity. It was this spirit of unity and focus that had given rise to the commitment to host UNCTAD XIII and to ensure its resounding success, he said. He reminded delegates of the country’s record of successfully organizing major international events, crowned by Qatar’s selection as host nation for the 2022 World Cup. Qatar was also bidding to host the 2020 Olympic Games, hoping for the same kind of international support and a successful outcome. In the meantime, one could look at the quadrennial UNCTAD conference as a “cooperative Olympics of development”, Dr. Al-Kawari said.
Highlighting some of the Conference events, Dr. Al-Kawari placed special emphasis on the high-level event intended to give new prominence to the role of women in development, and on the World Investment Forum – the third and most ambitious one to date.
Today’s briefing to delegations 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.