Regional solutions for inclusive and sustainable development
The growing economic, health and environmental crises facing developing countries, along with a more inward turn of leading economies and their increasing attention to the geopolitical dimensions of trade, technology and financial flows, raises the threat of a more fragmented global economy and challenges the integrity of the multilateral system. As a result, regional arrangements, and their historically embedded identities, norms and values, may come to play a more prominent role and shape distinct regional responses to crisis management and development pathways.
Managing economic interdependence in such a polycentric world would require a more synergetic relationship between global institutions and regional arrangements. Contrary to the deep free trade agreements of the 1990s and early 2000s, or the recent megaregional agreements inspired by the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, open developmental regionalism could be an important element of making the voice of developing countries heard while reinforcing South–South cooperation towards achieving a more development-oriented international trade governance. Open developmental regionalism would limit binding commitments to border measures, while relying on cooperation and flexible policies that aim at regional harmonization of behind-the-border trade measures.
The meeting will focus on the existing scenario and the difficulties it poses for the realization of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The problems encountered by developing countries as they climb the ladder along global value chains will be examined, and the risks related to financialization and corporate arbitrage will be analysed.
Participants will also explore how new international agreements and institutional structures can sustain open developmental regionalism and facilitate the management of the diverging interests and sensitivities of developing and developed countries for a more inclusive and developmental international economic governance. In this context, the opportunities offered by regional trade agreements and regional value chains, and the role that regional development finance and infrastructural investments can play, will be examined in detail.
Contributions by Experts
Experts nominated by member States are encouraged to submit brief papers as contributions to the work of the Meeting. The papers will be made available at the meeting in the form and language in which they are received.
The papers, which should draw on the experts’ experiences, may address one or more of the following issues:
- How can Governments show more support for their national and regional public banks, including through finance and capitalization, guarantees or political willingness to support a more public and developmental mandate?
- What are the implications for the rising dominance of bilateral capital flows as compared to financial support for regional institutions?
- How can regional banks contribute better to the international financial architecture? Can they be a useful stepping-stone to a more equitable and effective multilateralism?
- The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis has exposed profound fault lines in the functioning of global value chains. How can this window of opportunity be exploited to relaunch regional value chains? What infrastructural investment is needed?
- The scope and impact of many regional trade agreements between economies of the global South remain limited, despite their diffusion since the turn of the millennium. What additional provisions and/or clauses, or complementary measures, are needed to make these trade agreements more relevant?
- How can the phenomenon of trade regionalism be understood and to what extent is it a stepping-stone towards a more inclusive, constructive and cooperative approach to multilateralism?
- What institutional arrangements may be suited best to manage the diverging interests and sensitivities of developing and developed countries for a more inclusive and developmental international trade governance?
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