Civil Society reps affirm support for UNCTAD, to remain engaged

28 September 2012

Representatives of key civil society organizations and networks that were actively involved in the UNCTAD XIII conference in Doha, Qatar in April this year, called on UNCTAD Secretary-General Supachai Panitchpakdi yesterday to reiterate their continuing support for the organization and their intention to remain closely engaged in the implementation of its mandates.

Ms. Deborah James of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, moderated the session. The Secretary-General gave a briefing on UNCTAD’s work and on the state of the global economy.

Civil society representatives expressed appreciation for the research and analysis work presented in UNCTAD’s Trade and Development Report 2012, which deals with austerity, the causes of the financial crisis, and the current trade rules, among other issues, and was also considered to be very helpful with regard to the least developed countries. In particular, civil society representatives commended the Report for explaining well what is happening on the ground.

The representatives also urged UNCTAD to be more present at the regional and field level, and for UN agencies to strive for coherence in the policy advice they give.

They also suggested a greater advocacy role for UNCTAD in the area of trade by helping developing countries "to change the global economic rules" and providing advice on economic partnership agreements and regional trading arrangements. The shift in emphasis towards sustainable development with the new investment framework was appreciated by the representatives.

In terms of further collaboration with civil society, Mr. Georgios Altintzis of the International Trade Union Confederation presented the following ideas:

  • To continue and to increase the funds that the CSOs receive in order to participate in civil society activities (including the Public Symposium).

  • The Divisions could consult with civil society before major reports are released and published.

  • Civil society could be granted more time to share their views with TDB plenary sessions, and could have some kind of status as observers on different committees.

  • To mobilize funds to keep the Non-Governmental Liaison Service (NGLS) functioning.

  • To continue holding consultations such as the current one (e.g. around the time of the Public Symposium).

Both the Secretary-General and the representatives of civil society expressed their satisfaction with the constructiveness of the meeting, and committed to holding further such consultations in the future.


The following civil society/non-governmental organizations participated in the consultations:

  • Arab NGO Network for Development
    Ms. Kinda Mohamadieh, Programme Manager

  • Center for Economic and Policy Research
    Ms. Deborah James, Director of International Programmes

  • Initiatives for Dialogue and Empowerment through Alternative Legal Service (IDEALS)
    Mr. Tony Salvador

  • International Trade Union Confederation
    Mr. Georgios Altintzis, Policy Adviser

  • Instituto del Tercer Mundo / Social Watch Network
    Mr. Roberto Bissio, Executive Director

  • Public Citizen
    Ms. Melinda St. Louis, Director of International Campaigns

  • Southern and Eastern African Trade Information and Negotiations Institute (SEATINI)
    Mr. Nathan Irumba, Executive Director

  • Third World Network
    Ms. Sanya Reid Smith, Third World Network Associate