Mukhisa Kituyi, the new Secretary-General of UNCTAD, identified some of the major challenges facing UNCTAD and shared his perspectives for a strengthened and reinvigorated Organization.
He emphasized that one of his priorities would be the building of consensus among all stakeholders to ensure that UNCTAD positions itself to be on the cutting edge of economic and social development thinking, in support of the quest of all member States to achieve inclusive and sustained growth. He stressed the value of innovative thinking and collective solutions, and underscored his commitment to pragmatic engagement with member States in pursuit of that goal.
The Secretary-General highlighted the need for a better communication strategy, that would articulate in a more efficient and timely way what the Organization was capable of delivering to member States. "Enhancing the contribution of UNCTAD and the impact of its activities at the country level is of paramount importance. UNCTAD's activities should be seen as making a difference in the lives of ordinary people," he said.
"Addressing the challenges facing UNCTAD means that the Organization must continue to improve the quality of its work and make itself more relevant. We must ensure that UNCTAD's policy recommendations and the ideas emanating from its reports are translated into concrete, implementable actions. All these efforts will need to be underpinned by full support, constructive engagement and collective ownership by all member States," he noted.
Hamad bin Abdulaziz Al-Kawari, Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage of Qatar, and President of UNCTAD XIII held in Doha in 2012, said in a special address that the outcomes of the Conference were being implemented in a "gradual and steady" manner. "UNCTAD represents the embodiment of the developing countries of the world for a brighter future, and the Trade and Development Board session is a yearly opportunity for those aspirations to be articulated," he said at the meeting.
"The next few years will provide a unique opportunity to fundamentally redesign the global approach to development," Mr. Al-Kawari said. "This should lead to a degree of inspiration not seen since the early days of the United Nations. Much has been accomplished, but so much more remains to be done," he noted, pointing to the expiry of the Millennium Development Goals in 2015.
Mr. Al-Kawari called on the global community to make a "frank and candid evaluation of what has worked and what has not. We will need to make commitments, take action, and provide resources," he said, "and ensure that the global development system delivers on its promises."
"A new and transformed development agenda is needed that is based on the concept of sustainable progress," the Minister said. He added that "UNCTAD, given its mandate, is especially well placed to help in setting such an agenda."
Mr. Al-Kawari welcomed Mr. Kituyi in his new role as UNCTAD Secretary-General, saying that he represented "the wisdom of Africa", and that under his leadership the Organization would make "a significant contribution to the broader development discourse".
Elected as President of the Trade and Development Board at its sixtieth session was Triyono Wibowo, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Indonesia to the United Nations, World Trade Organization, and other international organizations in Geneva.
Mr. Wibowo addressed the meeting, saying that the Organization was embarking on "a particularly important period, UNCTAD's fiftieth anniversary, leading up to the Millennium Development Goals review in 2015, and UNCTAD XIV in 2016, during this trying period globally in the financial, trade, economic, social and development arenas." He said: "It is my hope and expectation that the year ahead will be fruitful and successful. The circumstances we face are perhaps unprecedented in both scope and opportunity."
Mukhtar Tileuberdi, Ambassador of Kazakhstan to the United Nations in Geneva, and outgoing President of the Trade and Development Board, said at the meeting that "the future holds much promise and demands much of us. We have much to do if we are to be true to the demands of history."
"It is a time of great opportunity," and requires "great ambition and courageous action," Mr. Tileuberdi said.
Juri Seilenthal, Ambassador of Estonia to the United Nations in Geneva, who was President of the Trade and Development Board for the first six months of its fifty-ninth session, said that issues of trade and development gave UNCTAD an acknowledged role in the field of global development, and that the Organization "has something to offer to everyone. The fiftieth anniversary will be a good milestone to take stock of past achievements and set goals for the future."