Eminent Persons Panel holds first meeting

01 February 2006

Meeting for the first time, the Panel of Eminent Persons examined ways of enhancing UNCTAD´s development role and impact. The panel also met informally with Geneva-based ambassadors to exchange views and ideas.

The Panel of Eminent Persons, set up by UNCTAD SG Supachai to strengthen the organization´s impact, held its first meeting in Geneva from 23 to 24 January. This brainstorming session examined global trends and the ongoing UN reform, and their implications for UNCTAD. It also reviewed the functioning of the organization and its strategic positioning vis-à-vis other international organizations.

From left to right: Dr. Supachai Panitchpakdi, Joaquim Alberto Chissano, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Gro Harlem Brundtland, Benjamin William Mkapa and Jagdish Bhagwati.

This first meeting was attended by Fernando Henrique Cardoso, who chairs the Panel, Gro Harlem Brundtland, Joaquim Alberto Chissano, Benjamin William Mkapa and Jagdish Bhagwati. Senior aides present as observers, included Jarmo Viinanen on behalf of Tarja Kaarina Halonen. Dr. Supachai and Deputy Secretary-General of UNCTAD, Dirk Bruinsma, participated as well.

During the session, the Eminent Persons met informally with Geneva-based ambassadors over two luncheons and at an evening reception, exchanging views on UNCTAD´s work, role and impact. Hosting the social events were the Secretary-General of UNCTAD; Masood Khan, the Ambassador of Pakistan and current Chair of the G-77 in Geneva; and Ambassador Wolfgang Petritsch of Austria, which currently holds the Presidency of the European Union.

Dr. Supachai´s initiative is seen as a timely endeavour. Ambassadors expressed their support for the work of the Panel and looked forward to its report.

Eminent persons with their senior aides

The Panel of Eminent Persons is scheduled to meet again in early April.