United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)
UNCTAD, a subsidiary body of the United Nations General Assembly created in 1964, is the only United Nations body competent in the field of trade and development. The aim of UNCTAD is to integrate developing countries into the global economy in order to promote their development. It has progressively evolved into an authoritative knowledge-based institution whose work aims to help shape current policy debates and thinking on development, with a particular focus on ensuring that domestic policies and international action are mutually supportive in bringing about sustainable development.
The highest decision-making body of UNCTAD is the Conference of Member States which meets every four years to make assessments of current trade and development issues, discuss policy options and formulate global policy responses. The conference also sets the organization’s mandate and work priorities.
UNCTAD XII was held in Accra (Ghana) in April 2008.
The theme of the Accra Conference was “Addressing the opportunities and challenges of globalization for development”, the priorities of which were to extend the benefits of globalization to developing countries, whether it concerns trade, financing, investment, technology or innovation, helping developing countries to strengthen productive capacity and improving the productivity of developing countries’ commodities sectors.
The Trade and Development Board oversees the activities of the organization in-between the quadrennial Conference and meets in Geneva in an annual session, generally in October. The Board is supported, since1996, by three Commissions (Commission on Trade in Goods and Services and Commodities; Commission on Entreprise, Business Facilitation and Development; Commission on Investment, Technology and related financial issues).
Means of action:
To fulfil its mandate, the Conference performs three main functions:
It functions as a forum for intergovernmental discussions, supported by discussions by experts and exchange of experience, with the objective of creating a consensus;
It undertakes research and analytical work and collects data to provide input to discussions by experts and government representatives;
It provides technical assistance adapted to the needs of developing countries, paying particular attention to least developed and transition countries. Where necessary, UNCTAD cooperates with other institutions and donor countries for the provision of technical assistance.
UNCTAD collaborates with various economic and social bodies of the United Nations and multilateral financial institutions: it co-sponsors with the WTO, the International Trade Centre (ITC); it has signed with the UNIDO a memorandum of understanding on cooperation and works closely with the UNEP on its “trade and environment” program and with the UNDP which finances part of its technical activities. It promotes, along with the WTO, IMF, World Bank, ITC and the UNDP, the “Integrated Framework” initiative to facilitate the integration of LDCs into the global economy.
Updated on 16.11.10