It is the first session of the Trade and Development Board for UNCTAD's new Secretary-General, Mukhisa Kituyi, and participants took the opportunity to welcome him and highlight the issues they see as critical for UNCTAD's work over the next four years.
Ms. Busser said wages will play a crucial role in rebalancing growth towards domestic markets, which she noted is a goal for many governments.
The need for developing countries to balance export-led growth with greater domestic economic growth is a principal message of the UNCTAD Trade and Development Report 2013.
Referring to the report, Ms. Busser said policymakers should address three areas:
Strategies for increasing domestic and regional demand through sustainable and productive investment and job creation.
The establishment of social protection floors in developing countries.
On job creation, Busser said, "Many jobs are created that barely provide for a living, keep families in poverty, and are performed under poor conditions." She called for governments to undertake industrial policy and direct research and investment into higher-value-added production to increase the number of productive and decent jobs.
Governments should move away from a climate in which wages and trade unions are suppressed to one that empowers workers, promotes collective bargaining, and establishes minimum wages, she urged.
Social protection floors will allow for a minimum of social security and thus a minimum of spending by poor households, while at the same time reducing families' vulnerability, she told the meeting.
Ms. Busser also touched on global value chains, saying that they are not a "panacea for development" and need to be looked at in a critical way.