Trade and Development Board, 74th executive session (Closing Plenary)

Statement by Rebeca Grynspan, Secretary-General of UNCTAD

Trade and Development Board, 74th executive session (Closing Plenary)

30 January 2024

Thank you, Mr. President.

President of the Trade and Development Board, H.E. Ambassador Febrian RUDDYARD

Your excellencies,

Distinguished delegates,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Dear friends,

I am very happy to be here with you today.

We close today one of the longest TDB sessions in recent memory, in what are without a doubt some of the most challenging times for multilateralism that UNCTAD in its six-decade history has witnessed.

And yet, despite the many challenges and the long hours of work this Board has been able to deliver, once more, on its mandate.

For that, I wish to share with all of you, and especially you Mr. President, and you, regional coordinators, my sincerest words of gratitude.

Gratitude to all of you, for your sympathy and patience in finding ways to agree beyond initial disagreement. We close this TDB with important agreed conclusions on our Economic Development in Africa Report, with relevant wording on the importance of enhancing Africa’s participation in global supply chains, especially those related to renewable energy, for the pursuit of economic development and structural transformation.

Gratitude to all of you for your sympathy and perseverance in the long days and adjourned meetings. Humans only persevere in that which matters to them. That we have persevered together in these halls is a testament to the increasing importance of this body. We leave this TDB with very valuable exchanges on item 6 of the agenda, on UNCTAD’s assistance to the Palestinian people, exchanges which have been recorded in the President’s summary. The UNCTAD Secretariat is very thankful for the support and the pragmatic approach you have taken to stand by the work done by our colleagues working in the Palestinian Unit, which next year meets the 40th anniversary of its creation in what are, no doubt, extremely painful and heart-rending times. We will continue that work according to your mandate.

And gratitude, to all of you, finally for your unwavering dedication to the principles of cooperation and consensus. This spirit of collective effort and mutual understanding is the cornerstone of effective multilateralism. Your commitment, even in the face of complex negotiations and extended discussions, is a powerful affirmation of our shared mission.

Again, really thank you to all of you and thank you to those that have taken on them to be able to get to this consensus.

Your excellencies

This year is very important for UNCTAD, as we celebrate our 60th anniversary. This means there will be a lot of work to do. Because UNCTAD’s birthday is not just an occasion to be joyful, it is an occasion to be busy. This means this Board will be very busy too.

On that note, I am happy to say that we now have a date for our anniversary celebrations. The 12th of June. A day we hope will become a watershed in the future of this institution. The SG has already confirmed his participation, the UN SG, as well as several Heads of State and Government. I kindly remind you that all your countries are invited at the highest possible level of participation and that we very much look forward to seeing you there. We will come back to you with more details shortly.

With that, I am very happy to close this TDB. The work we have done to get here should fill us up with confidence and a sense of duty towards the year to come. Thank you all. And again, thank you for all those that made this possible.