The Doha Mandate, adopted at UNCTAD XIII, stresses that development of services and access to them, supported by adequate regulatory and institutional frameworks, is important for sound socioeconomic development. The objective of the expert meeting is to identify best-fit practices at the levels of policymaking, regulations, institutions and trade negotiations that link services, development and trade in a balanced manner, including strengthening national services regulation.
The third session of the expert meeting will examine possible elements for the preparation of a toolkit consisting of a set of best-fit practices from which developing countries could extract information applicable to their own countries and circumstances that could assist them in enhancing efficient and effective regulations and institutions. This would potentiate the role of their services economy and services trade as an enabler of sustainable development goals in the context of the post-2015 development agenda.
Services sectors are in fact essential to the efficient functioning of all economies and strengthened productive capabilities and competitiveness. The quality of policies, regulations and institutional frameworks is the key determinant of services performance, and is decisive for harnessing the pro-development benefits of services sector development. Devising adequate regulatory and institutional frameworks that are best fit to national circumstances and priorities is a critical challenge for Governments.
This process should start with an assessment of services sector performance, and of the regulatory and institutional frameworks conditioning such performance. UNCTAD Services Policy Reviews have provided a useful toolkit to assist countries in meeting this challenge and devising an appropriate policy mix to improve services sector performance, export diversification and structural transformation. Lessons can be learned from country experiences towards the identification of best-fit practices for harnessing services economy and trade for sustainable development.
The issues that experts will address may include the following:
In what way do services economy and trade contribute to the post-2015 sustainable development goals?
What are the main binding constraints to the development of services and services trade?
How do policies and regulations affect services performance?
What is the role of regulatory institutions and governance frameworks?
How can the competitiveness of services enterprises, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises, be enhanced?
How can universal access to essential services, including financial inclusion, be ensured?
How can trade liberalization and regulations best be approached?
What data are needed for informed services policymaking and how can the collection of services-related statistics be improved?
Experts are encouraged to prepare and submit to the meeting brief papers (5-12 pages) related to one or more of the issues contained in the provisional agenda, which will be available on the UNCTAD website.
These papers will be made available to the meeting in the form and language in which they are received.
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