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The discussion on these topics, which will include presentations by national experts and experts from relevant international organizations and commodity bodies, as well as representatives of the private sector and civil society, will serve to put into focus and inform UNCTAD member States on the salient developments in key commodity sectors and markets from a development perspective.
The discussion will provide a context for appraising the opportunities and challenges arising from new developments in the commodity markets and provide policy options for commodity-based inclusive growth and sustainable development.
To facilitate the discussion, the UNCTAD secretariat has prepared two background notes:
Recent developments and new challenges in commodity markets, and policy options for commodity-based inclusive growth and sustainable development
This background reviews recent developments in key commodity markets and analyses the factors that contributed to fluctuations in commodity prices in 2014. Imbalances between supply and demand are weighing prices down for most commodities in agricultural, metals and ores and energy markets. This downward pressure was maintained throughout the year with short term fluctuations. For some commodities, prices stabilized towards the latter part of the year and even recovered some of their losses.
These developments have significant impacts on commodity-dependent developing countries (CDDCs), investors as well as farmers. UNCTAD therefore explores some policy issues relating to the recent developments in global commodity markets and provides recommendations that could help CDDCs to achieve sustainable development and inclusive growth. In particular, policies and actions are suggested to address potential impacts of falling prices and mitigate exposure to high price fluctuations. Also discussed are the recent debates on export restriction measures introduced by some commodity exporting countries.
Mitigating the negative impact of commodity markets on global food security, and increasing Commodity-Dependent Developing Countries (CDDCs) access to market intelligence, financial resources, and export markets: Policy actions
Commodity markets over the past decade have been characterized by high prices and heightened price volatility. By discussing commodity price fluctuations and reviewing major actions devised to mitigate their adverse effects, this note stresses that countries, in particular the most vulnerable, are still exposed to the vagaries of commodity price fluctuations although price volatility has declined over the last three years. There is a need to improve existing options or continue exploring innovative ways to mitigate the adverse effects of price volatility, at national, regional and international levels.
The combination of technological progress, expansion of global value chains, rising South-South cooperation, and most recently, the adoption of the Bali Package by WTO member countries, provide new opportunities to address the persistent constraints facing CDDCs in finance, market intelligence and market access. Sound government policies and an innovative private sector are crucial to seizing these opportunities and delivering positive development outcomes.
Objectives of the meeting
The Meeting is expected to provide a forum for sharing country experiences with a view to identifying and implementing appropriate policies at the national, regional and international levels; to addressing the impacts of the volatility of commodity prices on vulnerable groups; and to helping commodity-dependent developing countries formulate sustainable and inclusive development strategies, including those that promote value addition and economic diversification.
The Meeting will identify the ways and means for these countries, particularly those in Africa and least developed countries, to maximize development benefits from commodity production and trade, including the promotion of diversification and the integration of natural resources policies into their national development strategies (Doha Mandate, para. 31(i)).
In accordance with paragraph 56 (g) of the Doha Mandate, it will share the experiences of developing countries to achieve more sustainable and strengthened agricultural production, food security, investment in agriculture and export capacity, taking into account the special needs of African countries, least developed countries and net food-importing developing countries, as well as the needs of small-scale farmers. The Meeting also aims to focus on the empowerment of women and youth.
The Meeting will generate lessons learned from those experiences and identify practical options and actionable outcomes for addressing at the national, regional and international levels the opportunities and challenges of long-standing commodity trade and development issues. It will also review and evaluate the contribution of UNCTAD in assisting developing countries in the area of commodities.
Contributions from Experts
Experts are encouraged to prepare and submit brief papers (approximately five pages) related to one or more of the issues contained in the provisional agenda for the meeting and on issues relating to their country's experience.
These papers will be made available at the meeting in the form and language in which they are received.
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