April 21, 2012

“UNCTAD should conduct studies on the primary commodities sector to promote better understanding of the issues of commodity speculation, the interaction between trade and competition policy, and others, with the aim of developing proposals that address the global food and commodity crisis. It should work on the strengthening of multilateral arrangements to minimize commodity price volatility and other related problems.” This is one of the many recommendations placed by civil society organisations to UNCTAD member states who will meet in Doha, Qatar from 21st to 26th April 2012 to discuss contemporary issues and challenges of globalisation.

The theme of the 13th quadrennial conference of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development is “Development-centred globalisation: Towards inclusive and sustainable growth and development”. Its sub-themes are:

Enhancing the enabling economic environment at all levels in support of inclusive and sustainable development

Strengthening all forms of cooperation and partnerships for trade and development, including North-South, South-South and triangular cooperation.

Addressing persistent and emerging development challenges as related to their implications for trade and development and interrelated issues in the areas of finance, technology, investment and sustainable development

Promoting investment, trade, entrepreneurship and related development policies to foster sustained economic growth for sustainable and inclusive development

Reacting to the Civil Society Declaration to UNCTAD XIII, CUTS Secretary General Pradeep S. Mehta said: “UNCTAD has a historically significant role to provide necessary checks and balances to the global economic governance system. This role is under stress. I am particularly happy to see that many former UNCTAD staff have taken the cudgel for this cause.”

On the eve of UNCTAD XIII, Mehta reminded the world community what Raul Prebisch, the founding father of UNCTAD, said in 1986: “To renew our ideas is an imperative. UNCTAD should progress by critical enquiry through its own critical research.”

The Civil Society Declaration to UNCTAD XIII has many progressive ideas and their effective implementation will provide much needed direction to address the causes of global financial crisis and to mitigate its effects.

“UNCTAD should conduct a comprehensive study on the linkages between the financial economy and the real economy, and on how effective regulation of the financial economy as well as the real economy can help the impoverished not just to insulate themselves from future financial crisis but to put in place a rapid-response mechanism to deal with new challenges that could emanate from future financial crises,” the Civil Society Declaration says.

In a Statement to UNCTAD XIII, CUTS International said: “It is UNCTAD’s publicly stated credo to work with civil society in every which way, as indeed other intergovernmental organisations like WTO and the World Bank, and governments in many countries work closely with the civil society.”

CUTS supports the civil society’s “call to governments to ensure the active, meaningful and effective inclusion and participation of civil society in policymaking and policy implementation. The inclusion and input of civil society is essential for ensuring ownership and effectiveness in the design of development and economic policies, processes and institutions, and in the elaboration and implementation of international cooperation.”

CUTS International is a non-governmental organisation having more than three decades of experience of working on trade, regulatory and governance issues, particularly in Asia and Africa. It has a permanent observer status as an NGO accredited to UNCTAD. A CUTS delegation led by its Secretary General and from among its centres in Geneva and Lusaka will take an active part in UNCTAD XIII by presenting its views on several high-level panels on contemporary issues of trade, development and regulations and organising events on a number of issues including on interaction between trade and competition policy.

For more information, please contact:
Pradeep S. Mehta, +91 98290 13131 (India), +97470210711 (Doha, Qatar), psm@cuts.org