The Global Commodities Forum will be held from 7 to 8 April 2014 at the Palais des Nations, Geneva.
This year's Forum links two topical concepts in the development discourse -- global value chains and transparency -- and applies them to the challenges faced by commodity-dependent developing countries (CDDCs).
At UNCTAD, we have always believed that there is nothing inherent about resources that make them a "curse" -- their impact depends very much on policy; good development governance; and the commitment of Governments to turn natural resources into an engine of structural transformation.
Secretary-General of UNCTAD
The Forum will emphasize the importance of CDDCs adopting robust, transparent governance institutions to guide their involvement in the global economy -- either by participating in global value chains or by exporting their natural resources -- and to ensure that the benefits from international trade contribute to positive outcomes for their citizens.
UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi will open the event. Keynote addresses will be made by Peter Eigen, who founded Transparency International, was the founding Chairperson of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), and is a Member of Kofi Annan's Africa Progress Panel; and Stefano Ponte, a Professor at Copenhagen Business School, who is a leading voice on the governance of global value chains. Their interventions will examine the critical issues within their areas of expertise and propose a programme for future study, debate and action.
The global commodity trade is one of the world's largest industries, procuring from some of the world's poorest and most unstable countries. But its contribution to human development in most of those countries will be tiny without more transparency. Transparency prevents corruption and boosts accountability too.
Member, Africa Progress Panel
Special session on the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative
To complement this year's sub-theme of transparency in commodities, the Forum will devote a special session to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). Countries that implement the "EITI Standard", commit to disclose all payments made to governments by oil, gas and mining companies. Two national coordinators from EITI implementing countries - Nigeria and the Philippines - will share their countries' different experiences and outlooks in implementing the EITI process. The panel will also include a member of the EITI Secretariat and an outside expert.
Understanding governance in global value chains can help explain why some countries, regions and groups prosper in international trade, while others do not. It can also clarify what are the possibilities and limitations of upgrading, and what role the public sector can play in facilitating positive outcomes.
Professor, Copenhagen Business School
The objective of the session is to highlight development implications of implementing the EITI Standard, while emphasizing that the process is but one component of an effective national strategy for ensuring transparency in the natural resources sector.