Mr. Chairman.

At the outset, allow me to express on behalf of our Group our congratulations on your election.  Rest assured of our commitment to the successful conclusion of the work before us.  Allow us also to reiterate our commitment to fostering a positive and constructive spirit.

Allow us also to express our appreciation to the secretariat for the work, which went into preparing the documents before us.

Mr. Chairman.

Our group will not deal with figures at this Working Party although reference will be made to the budget in general terms. It is also not our intention to address details of the proposed Work Programme before us. Instead, we would like to reflect on broad trade and development interests of the Group for the period 2008 to 2009 of the Work Programme specifically highlighting our key interests and concerns and how we think UNCTAD should carry them forward. Regional groups and individual delegates may present their views on specific issues in more detail. Before referring to them, Mr Chairman, the Group would like to mention some key observations and issues:

FIRST: the delay of the circulation of this document has not given us enough time to have a full consideration of its content and our group reserve’s the right to make additional comments at a later stage.

SECOND: our Group appreciates the need for the secretariat to take into account-projected activities, including those, which require an intergovernmental mandate.  It therefore is of concern to us that the proposed Work Program anticipates implementation of some of the recommendations of the Eminent Persons Group, even before we have had the opportunity for a preliminary exchange of views on the specific recommendations.  We believe that this prejudges the result of our consultations on the EPG. We would instead prefer that the Secretariat make provisions for the implementation of all recommendations, while retaining the flexibility to realign resources at a later stage once our deliberations on the various recommendations have reached their full conclusion.

THIRD: the group also recalls that in the MTR there was an agreement in the urgent need to resolve the issue of the financing of experts, to this effect, the Group is of the view that the only sustainable solution to this involves the use of regular budget resources.

FOURTH: we believe that the proposed Work Program needs to include a more robust provision for UNCTAD to contribute fully to the follow-up and implementation of the major United Nations summits and conferences on development, including the Follow-Up Conference to the International Conference on Financing for Development, which will take place in 2008

Mr. Chairman, we would now like to articulate some views on specific aspects of the document before us.

Sao Paulo Consensus and MTR

The Sao Paulo Consensus (SPC) is the heart and soul of UNCTAD’s development role. It continues to provide the vision and directions for such work until the next conference. It is thus our belief that the Work Programme for 2008-09 presented by the secretariat should reflect continuing and outstanding areas in the SPC that would be addressed to promote trade and development. We would like the secretariat to provide such indications in its explanation of each component of the Work Programme.

Some time in the first part of 2008, after UNCTAD XII, we will have an opportunity to review the overall direction of the Work Programme to tailor it to the UNCTAD XII outcomes. We would thus approach this exercise on the Work Programme 2008-09 proposals both as a ‘maintenance budget’ in the sense of continuing the SPC mandate and as an important element in the context of preparing for UNCTAD XII.

At the same time, member States through the MTR last year reached consensus in a number of areas to enhance the development role of UNCTAD. Examples are: analysis of the impact of international policies and processes relative to national development strategies;  continuing work on analyzing the impact of international policies and processes on the scope for implementing national development strategies, taking into account all countries’ need for appropriate balance between national policy space and international disciplines and commitments; strengthening and disseminating analytical and research work; focusing on development-orientation of FDI and technology transfer; continuing to act as an advocate for development and retaining a strong development focus; working on corporate responsibility; increasing support for South-South cooperation; contributing to global consensus building on trade and trade-related issues; contributing to outcome of UN reform process and global conferences. We expect a number of these areas of work to be fully reflected in the Work Programme but of course, other areas of work could also be added..

In terms of the emphasis that the Group would like the Work Programme to project, we would make the following points with respect to the individual sub-programs:

Sub-Programme 1Globalization, interdependence and development, has included policy space and policy coherence, two of the issues central to our Group and we welcome this. But, we are particularly interested in how expected accomplishment on better policy choices is being translated into concrete activities and for intergovernmental deliberations. You will recall that during the MTR, G77 and China expressed a strong view in the establishment of an UNCTAD Commission on Globalisation. While the establishment of the proposed Commission will require an intergovernmental decision at UNCTAD XII, we believe that as the secretariat has already taken the liberty of anticipating the implementation of some of the EPG proposals, it should also budget for the proposed Commission.

Sub-Programme 2, investment, enterprise and technology sub-programme operates an important dimension of UNCTAD’s work. We are glad that issues of development contained in the SPC and MTR outcome will be addressed in the ad hoc expert groups and the publications will contain substantive information.

Sub-Programme 3, International trade sub-programme, is central to UNCTAD’s development mission. We are happy that the issues of our concern have been profiled in the Work Programme.

On Sub-Programme 4, Services infrastructure for development, trade efficiency and human resources development, we encourage UNCTAD secretariat to continue this good work.

Sub-Programme 5, Africa, least developed countries and special programmes continues to be of special interest within the Group of 77 and China. In particular, there is need for more commitment from trading partners of LDCs to ensure that the Brussels LDC III Programme of Action is implemented in full. For Africa, the continuing commodities problems, which we are all fully aware of need to be addressed urgently.

At a broader UN level, the G77 and China is concerned about the sanctity of UNCTAD as a pre-eminent development institution and a subsidiary organ of the UN. We do not want UNCTAD to be ‘downgraded’ in any form whatsoever in the UN budget exercise. We wish to send a message to the UN SG. For example, our view is that UNCTAD’s financial envelop should not be reduced. In the last budget exercise, UNCTAD was subject to a 2% cut. Cuts come at the expense of services to developing countries. Thus, we request the good office of the SG of UNCTAD to keep us informed of developments in this regard with the Controller and we will do our part, including liaising with our counterparts in NY, to secure a financial envelop that represents a growth for UNCTAD.


We expect UNCTAD XII to mainstream key development challenges and opportunities. We wish to see a major difference in the way globalization distributes prosperity accruing from it particularly to developing countries and as the Secretary General of UNCTAD remarked during the recent G77 and China Chairmanship handover ceremony in Geneva, that the Conference provides the opportunity, “not only to review [UNCTAD’s] past and future work programme but also to address emerging global concerns and the continuing challenges to trade and development.” UNCTAD XII must therefore make a major contribution to improved living standards of our people.

Ultimately, the central objective of the Conference could include, among other goals, reinforcing UNCTAD’s relevance; re-establishing the organization as one of the UN’s premier bodies on trade and development and restoring its negotiating role on development issues. In terms of specific substantive outcomes of the Conference, many of the trade and development interests and concerns contained in the SPC and MTR outcome will still be relevant for UNCTAD XII. In addition, or just to repeat, we will expect UNCTAD and its secretariat to continue to produce substantive work that is innovative, independent, and ahead of the curve on hard development issues. The Conference should also reaffirm strengthening of the three pillars of UNCTAD work.

Thank you Mr. Chairman

© The Group of 77