Civil Society presents stand at UNCTAD Board meeting

18 September 2012

The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) distributed a statement focussed on policy choice and policy space to the UNCTAD Trade and Development Board which began its 2-week session yesterday. The statement was coordinated with other civil society organisations involved with trade and development issues.

The ITUC is the world's largest trade union federation, and represents 175 million workers through its 311 affiliated organisations in 155 countries and territories.

In its statement, the ITUC called for a change in policy direction to reverse "the current policies of austerity, low quality growth, exploitation of workers and rising inequalities."

Welcoming the 2012 UNCTAD Trade and Development Report, the ITUC statement agreed that income inequality is not a natural outcome of globalization but right policy choices can be made to secure better income distribution that are conducive to growth and development.

The statement also called for closer cooperation between UNCTAD and ILO on industrial policy and industrial development given its high potential for employment, decent work, and national ownership of growth.

Calling for more policy space for countries, the statement urged UNCTAD to play an advocacy role at the global level in global policy responses. "The state needs to prevail against the conglomerates of private interests," the statement asserted.

Touching on the agreed conclusions reached by the Board on a U.N. Joint Inspection Unit report on administration and management of UNCTAD, the ITUC statement called on individual member States to "not seek, under the guise of oversight or guidance, a selective approach to the implementation of the work programme or a renegotiation of aspects of the programme they do not support."

The ITUC regional organizations are the Asia-Pacific Regional Organization (ITUC-AP), the African Regional Organization (ITUC-AF) and the American Regional Organization (TUCA).

The ITUC also cooperates closely with the European Trade Union Confederation, including through the Pan-European Regional Council, which was created in March 2007.

The chief executive of the ITUC is its General Secretary Sharan Burrow, supported by Deputy General Secretary Jaap Wienen.