STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY H.E. MR. SIHASAK PHUANGKETKEOW, AMBASSADOR AND PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF THAILAND TO THE UNITED NATIONS AND OTHER INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS IN GENEVA, AT THE FIFTY-SECOND SESSION OF THE WORKING PARTY ON THE STRATEGIC FRAMEWORK AND THE PROGRAMME BUDGET
(Geneva, 26 January 2009)
I have the honour to make this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
Let me first of all, congratulate you, Mr. Chairman, upon assuming the Chair at this important meeting of the Working Party on the Strategic Framework and the Programme Budget. I have every confidence that this Working Party will yield successful results under your able guidance.
This meeting is of much importance for a number of reasons. First, it is an opportunity for us to provide comments and inputs for consideration of the budget process in New York. It is also the first opportunity for us, ever since the Development Package was approved, to engage on issues pertaining to the Working Party.
As a whole, the Development Package represents a clear and unequivocal message that our work must focus on enhancing the UN’s development work. It also provides us with clear guidance that, in accordance with the Accra Accord — and now consistent with the decision of the General Assembly — our deliberations at this meeting must clearly be aimed at strengthening UNCTAD.
We therefore wish to thank and congratulate the UNCTAD Secretary-General and the Secretariat for their continued efforts to ensure that UNCTAD is a forum where developed, developing and least-developed countries cooperate, with the aim of supporting developing and least-developed countries in their development efforts.
With regard to the draft Proposed Programme Budget for the biennium 2010-2011, the Group of 77 and China is primarily satisfied that the document captures the specific content of our previous agreements at the Working Party and the Trade and Development Board. We are also aware that most of the content of the draft is in line with the Work Plan 2008-2011 and the Strategic Framework 2010-2011, which has already been reviewed by the Working Party and the TDB. Most importantly, it was already approved by the UN General Assembly last month. We therefore believe that the document, with perhaps some minor refinements, provides an excellent basis for the implementation of the outcomes of Accra. In this regard, we look forward to a constructive discussion in the days ahead.
As a whole, the G77 and China wishes to emphasize that we are receptive to proposals to expand UNCTAD’s work and its resources to more accurately reflect its importance and relevance to developing and least-developed countries, particularly, against the backdrop of the global food, energy and financial crises. That said, we cannot support any further constriction or reduction of UNCTAD’s activities, particularly in light of the strong messages coming from the General Assembly regarding the need to strengthen the UN’s development pillar, including UNCTAD. We would therefore be interested in knowing whether there is sufficient flexibility in the next biennium to intensify UNCTAD’s work.
Two important areas of UNCTAD’s work that the Group wishes to highlight are publications and the ad-hoc expert meetings. We believe that these are essential tools to address major development issues that fall within UNCTAD’s mandate. Therefore, we are of the view that the current numbers of publications and the ad-hoc expert meetings are appropriate. We wish to also seek clarification from the secretariat as to the possibility of expanding the scope of these essential activities in the next biennium.
We wish to also stress the importance of adequate participation by experts from developing countries, and particularly, least-developed countries, in expert meetings. We strongly encourage member states to arrive at an agreed solution to the issue of financing of experts, including contribution to the trust fund, that has persisted for quite some time now. Such a solution is necessary in order to ensure adequate participation by experts from developing and least-developed countries, so that UNCTAD’s substantive work sufficiently addresses the concerns and priorities of those countries.
In closing, the events of the past few months have clearly shown why UNCTAD must stay ahead of the curve and respond quickly to developments in the global economy. It is crucial that UNCTAD’s capacity to react promptly to developments in the global environment is enhanced. This is what we must achieve through the deliberations of this Working Party.
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