unctad.org | The world needs a ‘transformative agenda’, UNCTAD Secretary-General tells Astana forum
The world needs a ‘transformative agenda’, UNCTAD Secretary-General tells Astana forum
28 May 2014

​The need for a transformative global agenda to ensure a prosperous and stable future for humanity was underscored by UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi at an international forum on global economics held in Astana, Kazakhstan on 22 May 2014.

Moderating a panel discussion at the Seventh Astana Economic Forum, Dr. Kituyi brought together eminent discussants, including former Prime Minister of Italy and tenth President of the European Commission Romano Prodi and Nobel Prize-winning economist Christopher Pissarides, to reflect on UNCTAD’s fiftieth anniversary and its continuing goal to realize prosperity for all.

“When we look at the development framework for after 2015 … we are talking about an agenda that is transformative. By this we mean an agenda that addresses the need for development that is economically, socially and environmentally sustainable,” Dr. Kituyi said in opening remarks at the panel, which was held under the title “Transformation for Prosperity? Fifty Years of Continuity and Change”.

“This agenda needs to create conditions that will allow more countries to achieve the kind of ‘virtuous circles’ of productive investment, rising incomes, poverty reduction and expanding markets that bring about lasting economic and social transformation,” Dr. Kituyi said.

The panel was opened by Bakhyt Sultanov, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of Kazakhstan, and included welcome statements from Trijono Wibowo, President of the Trade and Development Board (UNCTAD’s governing body), Martin Sajdik, President of the UN’s Economic and Social Council, and Mukhtar Tileuberdi, Permanent Representative of Kazakhstan to the United Nations and other international organizations in Geneva.

The participants echoed Dr. Kituyi in calling for the return of development to the centre of multilateralism and consequently for a bold and transformative agenda to succeed the Millennium Development Goals when they expire next year.

Justice, and the need for an inclusive global economic system that allows for the full realization of human potential, was a key theme that emerged from the panel discussion. The panel was composed of:

  • Romano Prodi, former Prime Minister of Italy and tenth President of the European Commission

  • Domingo Cavallo, former finance minister and president of the central bank of Argentina

  • Christopher Pissarides, winner of the 2010 Nobel Prize in Economics

  • Taffere Tesfachew, UNCTAD’s Director for Africa, Least Developed Countries, and Special Programs

  • Manuel Montes, Senior Adviser at the South Centre

The panelists also emphasized that “business as usual” is not an option and that transformation from traditional to modern activities is necessary. The importance of changing ways of thinking and the contemporary political culture were also emphasized, especially in the context of fostering societies that accept greater equity and justice in the economic system. Also underscored was the importance of generating jobs, including in social sectors.

In addition, panelists discussed the importance of systemic reforms and building the capacity of states to play an active and enabling role in the economy, especially by creating a climate conducive for growth and development.

The panel, part of the Second World Anti-Crisis Forum, which is held under the auspices of the Astana event and addresses ways and means of helping place the global economy back on track following the global economic and financial crisis, was also organized as part of the global celebrations of UNCTAD's fiftieth anniversary.

UNCTAD is the focal point in the UN system for the integrated treatment of trade and development and inter-related issues, and holds its fiftieth anniversary in Geneva on the week of 16-20 June 2014.

Front row, (far right): Dr. Kituyi at the Seventh Astana Economic Forum, 22 May 2014


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