UNCTAD Annual Report 2022

Annual Report Image


Last year, difficult global crises re-appeared. The war in Ukraine, climate disasters, and the rising cost of living put to a stop the fragile post-COVID recovery witnessed in 2021. Food and energy prices skyrocketed to historic heights, increasing poverty and food insecurity to alarming levels. Rising interest rates worsened debt burdens, inviting capital flight and currency depreciation in the Global South. Climate disasters worsened, while rising geopolitics continued to disrupt the global trading system.

This world of ‘cascading crises’ called UNCTAD to rise to the challenge. In March 2022, UN Secretary-General António Guterres established the Global Crisis Response Group (GCRG) on Food, Energy and Finance to help tackle the global development effects of the war in Ukraine. UNCTAD played a key role in the GCRG, co-chairing its Finance Track while coordinating its Task Team. As part of this effort and under the leadership of the UN Secretary General, UNCTAD became one of the main negotiators of the two Istanbul Agreements signed in July 2022, the Memorandum of Understanding between the UN and the Russian Federation to facilitate the unimpeded access for their food and fertilizers exports to global markets, and the Black Sea Initiative. These agreements have helped to bring down the cost of food, while stabilizing global markets and keeping them open.

At the same time, UNCTAD’s flagship reports provided much-needed clarity to emerging trends affecting the world last year – from the supply-side causes of inflation to the development implications of global tax agreements, from disrupted maritime logistics to ending commodity dependence through the African Free Continental Trade Area. Furthermore, we advanced on the mandates of the Bridgetown Covenant, such as improving inter-divisional coordination and proving UNCTAD usefulness at a time of crisis. As a result of these efforts, our Trade and Development Board has shown growing levels and degrees of engagement from our member states.

However, much of the road is still ahead of us. The world is still in crisis, as global financial stability comes into question, and as the cost-of-living crisis refuses to abate. The Bridgetown Covenant four transformations are becoming increasingly urgent to build resilience, close gaps, and recover our capacity to meet the Sustainable Development Goals. Our performance this year will set the stage for the 60th anniversary celebrations in 2024, and UNCTAD16 in 2025. The mission is tall, but we will spare no efforts. The times are changing, but so are we.

Rebeca Grynspan


Rebeca Grynspan
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development

UNCTAD Facts and figures
Staff members
million USD regular
budget for 2022
million USD technical
cooperation expenditure
Publications, research
and analytical materials
in 73 countries

Pedro Manuel Moreno was appointed as Deputy Secretary-General in November 2022

Mr. Moreno brings over 20 years of experience in multilateral institutions, including the United Nations, having served in different program, management and strategic positions, both in the field and at UN Headquarters.


Pedro Moreno


In March 2022, UN Secretary-General António Guterres established the UN Global Crisis Response Group (GCRG) on Food, Energy and Finance to respond to the unprecedented interconnected food, energy and finance crises in the world. These challenges are particularly acute in developing economies.

The UN Secretary-General, together with six champion heads of state/government, provides high-level political leadership and coordination to the Global Crisis Response Group.

The UN Deputy-Secretary-General, Amina J. Mohammed, leads the Steering Committee of the GCRG involving 32 UN agencies, international and regional financial institutions, and multi-stakeholder partners.

UNCTAD Secretary-General Rebeca Grynspan leads and coordinates the work of the Task Team, which comprises the three workstreams on food, energy and finance and informs the GCRG’s Steering Committee. She also co-leads the finance workstream.

The Group collates data and generates analyses and recommends policy actions for decision makers to mobilize solutions and development strategies to support countries facing the interlinked global crisis with food, energy and finance.

In 2022 the Global Crisis Response Group produced three key policy briefs.

First Image

In July 2022, two agreements were signed in Istanbul to address growing global food insecurity around the world – the Black Sea Initiative (BSI), which allows for exports of grain and fertilizer, including ammonia, from Ukrainian Black Sea ports and the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on facilitating the export of Russian food and fertilizer to global markets.

Second Image

The United Nations Secretary-General established two UN task forces to take forward the Istanbul Agreements. One was led by UNCTAD Secretary-General Rebeca Grynspan and focused on the implementation of the MoU and facilitating exports of Russian food and fertilizers. The other focused on shipping Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea, and is headed by UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths.

UNCTAD’s Trade Hope report, released in October 2022, showed the importance of the Black Sea Initiative to deliver vital grain and foodstuffs to the world, offering hope for millions of people and exemplifying the power of trade in times of crisis.

15 million

The volume of metric tons

of foodstuffs exported under the Black Sea Initiative in 2022


The importance of the Black Sea Initiative exemplifies the power of trade in times of crisis


UNCTAD’s world-leading researchers produced over 200 reports and online tools. Our major publications in 2022 examined the state of the global economy, investment flows, international taxation, export diversification in Africa, the low-carbon transition in least developed countries, the decarbonization of maritime transport and statistics for economies around the world.


2022, UNCTAD brought together governments, businesses, civil society organizations and other stakeholders to jointly tackle pressing trade and developing challenges. Key moments included:

  • The 13th Debt Management Conference focused on how countries can deal with mounting debt burdens in times of overlapping crises
  • The 72nd executive session of the Trade and Development Board in October and its 69th annual session in June and July
  • The 25th session of the UN Commission on Science and Technology for Development
  • eCommerce Week focused on data and digitalization to bolster the global digital economy
  • The 4th Oceans Forum propelled a sustainable and resilient ocean economy benefiting all
  • Port Management Week gathered more than 80 port professionals from Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America and the Caribbean
  • The 2nd Illicit Trade Forum provided a platform for countries to collaborate on tackling this menace to development
  • The Global Forum for National Trade Facilitation Committees in February
  • Intergovernmental Group of Experts’ meetings on Consumer Protection and Competition
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The major part of contributions from developing countries are self-financed projects for ASYCUDA and DMFAS programmes, financed from proceeds of loans, credits or grants from international financial institutions.

Note: Reflects financing from member States, public donations and United Nations organizations.

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The UNCTAD Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA) programme administers and harmonizes customs transactions around the world. It continued to be the largest technical assistance activity of UNCTAD, accounting for 44.51% of total technical cooperation delivery in 2022.

In 2022, UNCTAD’s Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA) was used in 102 countries and territories, including 38 LDCs, 23 LLDCs and 41 SIDS. During the year, the programme signed 26 new national projects for a total sum of $19.7 million.


The UNCTAD Debt Management and Financial Analysis System (DMFAS) is a world-leading provider of technical cooperation and advisory services in the area of debt management. It was the second largest technical assistance activity of UNCTAD, accounting for 11.57% of total technical cooperation delivery in 2022.

In 2022, 61 countries used DMFAS to manage their public liabilities daily. This included three new country members that joined the DMFAS user community: Equatorial Guinea, the State of Palestine and Yemen.


The UNCTAD team is committed to advancing the sustainable development agenda and supporting developing countries, especially the least developed countries and countries with economies in transition, to integrate beneficially into the global economy. We thank all of them for their dedication.

We had over in our team in 2022 698 people

Report Downloads

Rising to the challenge - The transformative power of trade in times of crisis
09 Jun 2023
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