(Geneva, 9 June 2009)

Mr. Chairman,
Distinguished Delegates,

I have the honour to make this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.

First of all, let me welcome you, Mr. Chairman, upon resuming the chairmanship at this resumed 52nd Session of the Working Party on the Strategic Framework and the Programme Budget. I have every confidence that this meeting will produce successful outcomes under your able guidance.

The Group of 77 and China wishes to take this opportunity to again thank and congratulate the UNCTAD Secretary-General and the Secretariat for their continued efforts to ensure that UNCTAD is a forum where developed and developing countries cooperate, with a view to enhancing support for developing countries, particularly least-developed countries, in their development endeavours. We therefore wish that the deliberations at this meeting will be geared toward the further strengthening of UNCTAD.

Mr. Chairman,

The Group of 77 and China recognizes that this meeting is very important because it is an opportunity for the member states to discuss the Proposed Programme Budget for the Biennium 2010-2011 which is crucial to ensure that UNCTAD will be able to function effectively in carrying out its mandate provided for in the Accra Accord. Therefore, the Group is quite disappointed that member states are provided with the main document for our discussion just a few days before the meeting. This certainly affects the Group’s preparation to effectively participate in this meeting. We fully understand that this is, by no means, an intention on the part of the UNCTAD Secretariat. Nevertheless, we would like to urge the relevant bodies to step up their efforts and cooperation in ensuring that this situation will not occur again in the future. Having said that, we would like to have this issue properly reflected in the Agreed Conclusions of the Working Party.

Similarly, the Group notes with concern on the fact that the budget allocation processes for UNCTAD will take place in New York under the consideration of the Fifth Committee of the General Assembly. In order to enhance the relevance of the work and deliberations conducted here by the Working Party, the Group believes that it is necessary to have greater cooperation and coordination between the intergovernmental machinery of UNCTAD and the relevant bodies of the United Nations in New York. Especially, we need to set, once and for all, the clarity of the relationship, responsibility and procedures of our work between Geneva and New York.

Mr. Chairman,

At the outset, we would like to state as a matter of principle that we welcome any proposals to expand the scope of UNCTAD’s work and its resources to more accurately reflect its importance and relevance to developing countries, particularly least-developed countries, especially against the backdrop of the global economic and financial crisis, as well as the food and energy crises. The events of the past few months have clearly shown why UNCTAD must stay ahead of the curve and respond quickly to challenges in the global economy. We believe that, for instance, more work could be done to assist developing countries in dealing with the impact of the economic crisis. It is therefore necessary that the document we have before us should be flexible to a certain degree to enable UNCTAD to expand programmes and activities as and when we need or the opportunity requires. Similarly, we cannot support any proposals to tighten or reduce UNCTAD’s resources in such a way that would affect UNCTAD’s ability to achieve its objectives and mandate, as stipulated in the Accra Accord.

In addition, the Group wishes to express its dissatisfaction with the fact that the decisions taken by the Working Party in its January meeting were not given due consideration by the relevant bodies in New York. This is illustrated by the fact that the suggestion by the Working Party for the implementation of paragraph 183 of the Accra Accord concerning the Special Unit on Commodities is not properly reflected in the document. We wish to again emphasize the importance of this issue for our Group and to propose that the Working Party include such concern in its Agreed Conclusions.

Furthermore, the Group wishes to express its concerns on the fact that the resources and personnel allocated to the Division for Africa, Least-Developed Countries and Special Programmes under Subprogramme 5 are only half of those allocated to other UNCTAD Divisions. We believe that more should be done to address the concerns of those countries and it would be extremely difficult for UNCTAD to achieve these tasks if the current allocation of resources and personnel remain unchanged. In addition, the Group is concerned with the inadequacy of the fund for the organization of the upcoming United Nations Conference of Least-Developed Countries and wishes that this could be rectified in order to ensure the success of the Conference.

Mr. Chairman,

Two important areas of UNCTAD’s work that the Group has consistently highlighted through a number of occasions are publications and adequate financing for participation of experts from developing countries. We are of the view that these areas are crucial in addressing major development issues that fall within UNCTAD’s mandate. Therefore, we note with satisfaction the results contained in the Report on the Readership Survey of Main Publications of UNCTAD in 2008, provided by the Secretariat. We believe that the results reflect how these publications have been extremely useful for developing countries in formulating and reviewing their development policies in order to meet the global challenges. In this regard, the Group wishes to again reiterate its position that we cannot support any further reduction of the number of UNCTAD publications.

With regard to the issue of adequate financing for participation of experts from developing countries, particularly least-developed countries, the Group wishes to express its sincere appreciation to the Governments of Turkey, Switzerland and India for their kind contribution to the trust fund. However, the Group notes with concern the insufficiency of the fund, especially in ensuring adequate participation by experts from developing countries, particularly least-developed countries. It is necessary that the substantive work of UNCTAD sufficiently address the concerns and priorities of those countries. The Group therefore wishes to urge member countries, which are in a position to do so, to respond favourably to the Secretary-General’s efforts to attract more funding for this purpose.

Mr. Chairman,

In closing, the Group wishes to emphasize the importance and relevance of UNCTAD in assisting developing countries to achieve their developmental objectives, especially in light of the current global crises. Therefore, it is vital that UNCTAD’s resources are sufficiently allocated in order to ensure the improvement and enhancement of UNCTAD’s capacity to react promptly to developments in the global environment. This is what we all should try to achieve at this meeting.

Thank you.

© The Group of 77