Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Briefing of UNCTAD XII Negotiations--The Killing of UNCTAD?

6.04pm--UNCTAD does not have an effective communications strategy (what does that mean?)

missed quite a bit, but interventions should seek to clarify some of that which I missed.

here goes.

6.05pm SESSION ON COMMODITIES, where developed countries wanted to push commodities on the shoulder of national govts. Last night, issue not resolved. Can you help on that? If not, how. Commodities are coming up strongly.

Secondly, can you explain what are the different groupings--and who was part of it.

THIRDLY--Strengthening of UNCTAD. How contentious an issue do you see this point where CSOs are pushing the strengthening of UNCTAD, thank you.

I would like to know the main reason why US and other countries want to abolish the policy...commissions? of unctad.

INTERVENTION--possibility of UNCTAD in the field. What is your view..why is it impt to have business at UNCTAD? what is motive of proposal? does UNCTAD have a mandate on???


6.08pm. On commodities, there are about three or four issues that they are trying to come up with. One on commodities ; One on Palestine. Third one is on unilateral sanctions on Cuba. They are still working on them. By eight o'clock, it would have been finalised. Different groupings--changes over the years. There are about one hundred and seventy-four countries, including China. Latin America, Caribbean, Asia, Africa. Then ofcourse, the EU, with its twenty-seven countries. Former soviet countries, etc. Then there is the loose grouping--Japan, the US, Norway, Australia; New Zealand, Japan. They do not always coordinate. This is the tradition in UNCTAD.

On the commission, this is contentious issue--for about three of five months. Official line is that they believe that the commissions do not add value in terms of policy. Many experts do not come from developing countries. Reps from member states of Geneva. They are the ones that attend and they sit there going through the same issues, etc. Also, to add value, the commissions have to come up with recommendations. At unctad, we work on consensus; the commission ends up coming up with a few conclusions and most of the time, the developing countries block it. This goes to trade and development board. It does not add up to anything...

Recently, Brazil and India have used language from UNCTAD forum to make case at WTO dispute settlement. Big countries cannot object to such language...there is that aspect as well. The time they spend debating with other countries should be addressed elsewhere

UNCTAD in the field--again tradition in core area, which is research and analysis. This is where it has been strong...we are very proud to come up with ideas that challenge...This is what has made UNCTAD different from the past. Some members think this is not helpful. They want UNCTAD more on technical cooperation; more capacity-building. Non-resident agencies; no presence in countries--c.f. imf/wb

EVALUATION--we have a mandate on regional groupings...usually, we work on agreements. We do for example assessments on services at the WTO...sometimes preparing position on working parties, etc...

NEXT ROUND OF QUESTIONS: if no more questions, we thank spokesperson from conference. THANK YOU ALL VERY MUCH session is ended @ 6.17pm

--editted@6.26pm Accra time--GMT

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