On 4 October 2004, UNCTAD´s Trade and Development Board held a half-day informal hearing with representatives from civil society and the private sector, allowing them to express their views on issues before the Board. The meeting was attended by member States, civil society organizations and the private sector and was chaired by Ambassador Love Mtesa of Zambia, Vice-President of the Board.
In their opening remarks and statements, the Ambassador of Zambia and the Officer-in-Charge of UNCTAD, Mr. Carlos Fortin, welcomed the continued cooperation with civil society and the private sector and called the Board´s attention to the importance of encouraging and supporting financially the participation of civil society representatives from developing countries.
Civil society actors underscored the importance of commodity issues as a priority for developing countries and welcomed the decision by UNCTAD XI to create an International Task Force on Commodities. Participants also referred to the event on Gender and Trade at UNCTAD XI and called for a proactive approach to follow up on the successful event and to mainstream gender into the current work of UNCTAD.
Regarding trade liberalization, speakers stressed that an appropriate trade and development policy should envisage gradual trade liberalization and that UNCTAD has usefully pioneered such an orientation through both research and gathering of empirical evidence. They added that UNCTAD should continue its assistance in fostering South-South trade. They reiterated the need for policy space for Governments and highlighted the factors that are hindering LDCs and Africa in general from integrating substantially into global trade. Reference was also made to the "WTO July package" and the emergence of "positive signs" and "worrying trends". The contribution of UNCTAD, as a competent and reliable partner, in the follow-up to the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals was also highlighted.
Funds provided by DFID (United Kingdom) and Finland made it possible for civil society representatives from least developed and developing countries to participate in the hearing.
Quick Links: | Summary of the 1st Hearing with Civil Society |