Helping developing countries cope with global crises

20 June 2022

UNCTAD chief Rebeca Grynspan said vulnerable nations need more support to face a severe cost-of-living crisis while still trying to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.


© Tati Nova photo Mexico/Shutterstock.

Developing countries need more help as the world faces the most severe cost-of-living crisis in a generation in the wake of the war in Ukraine, UNCTAD Secretary-General Rebeca Grynspan said on 20 June.

She was delivering opening remarks to the 69th session of UNCTAD’s Trade and Development Board, the organization’s governing body, which is meeting at the Palais des Nations in Geneva from 20 June to 1 July. Read her statement.

“Member states are worried about what is happening to their debts, how their currencies are depreciating, and how importing food and energy is getting more expensive even as prices rise,” Ms. Grynspan said.

She added that member states know how much trade disruptions are affecting them, how much more they are having to pay in freight rates and how delays are harming their vulnerable populations.

Support to endure yet another major crisis

Ms. Grynspan said countries are asking for support at multilateral institutions, alarmed by what may happen if their citizens must endure yet another major crisis barely two years since COVID-19 – and if poverty and hunger rise with it.

She said UNCTAD is playing a key role in advocating for developing countries and helping provide concrete solutions on how to navigate the crisis, including in its coordinating role in the Global Crisis Response Group convened by UN Secretary-General António Guterres.

Ms. Grynspan will later address the board on the progress made in the implementation of the Bridgetown Covenant, the outcome document from the organization’s 15th ministerial conference held in October 2021.

Africa, digitalization and development finance also on the agenda

During the meeting, member states will examine UNCTAD’s Digital Economy Report 2021, Economic Development in Africa Report 2021 and activities undertaken by the organization in support of Africa.

The Trade and Development Board will also deliberate on the reports of the intergovernmental group of experts on e-commerce and the digital economy and the intergovernmental group of experts on financing for development.

Government representatives will discuss UNCTAD’s contributions to the implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of the major UN conferences and summits in the economic and social fields.

They will also examine UNCTAD’s technical cooperation strategy and discuss institutional, organizational, administrative and related matters.