New UNCTAD and MSG partnership to boost trade and development in Melanesia

20 December 2023

The organizations will enhance their cooperation in areas including non-tariff measures, trade regulations and export competitiveness in the sub-region.

© Shutterstock/Photos BrianScantlebury | A women sells crafts in a market in Fiji.

UNCTAD has signed a new agreement with the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Secretariat to enhance the benefits of trade for Melanesian nations in the Pacific.

The memorandum of understanding (MoU), signed in November 2023, marks a new chapter of cooperation between the UN’s trade body and MSG, a coalition of five members committed to fostering a sub-region in Melanesia characterized by peace, harmony, security, social inclusion and prosperity.

The signature of the agreement coincides with the completion of the “Green trade for sustainable development in Pacific small island developing States of the Melanesian Spearhead Group” project implemented by UNCTAD and the MSG Secretariat, set to conclude in December 2023.

The MoU is expected to enhance cooperation between the two organizations, contributing to sustainable socioeconomic development through increased competitiveness and exports in the Melanesian region and an improved business environment.

The memorandum will serve as a foundation for developing and implementing joint technical cooperation projects focused on areas such as identifying non-tariff measures (NTMs), improving trade regulations and boosting sustainable exports through voluntary sustainability standards (VSS).

MSG Secretariat Director General Leonard Louma stated: “The MoU underscores our commitment and opportunity to collaborate with UNCTAD in the identified areas and in turn contribute towards sustainable development in the MSG sub-region”.

UNCTAD Director of International Trade and Commodities Miho Shirotori said: “We are committed to supporting Pacific small island developing states in achieving sustainable development, and I look forward to deepening our ongoing cooperation under this new partnership”.