(Geneva, 25 November 2009)

Mr. President,
Mr. Heiner Flassbeck, OIC,
Distinguished Delegates,

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

First of all, I wish to express our appreciation to you, Mr. President, for your active and strong commitment to advancing the work of the Trade and Development Board ever since you assumed office. Your recent visits to New York and Washington D.C., where you held constructive dialogues at various international fora, has accentuated UNCTAD’s work in the eyes of the international community. The Group of 77 and China is also grateful for your initiative and continued efforts in holding regular breakfast meetings with the respective regional groups. These consultations have clearly served as a useful channel to communicate the views and concerns of various regional groups to help forge consensus. You can rest assured of our Group’s continued support and cooperation in the conduct of your responsibilities.

The Group of 77 and China also wishes to thank the UNCTAD Secretary-General and the Secretariat for the preparations for this meeting. On the agenda, we have two important developments under the Working Party on the Strategic Framework and the Programme Budget, namely the report on its 54th session on the draft proposed UNCTAD Biennial Programme Plan for the period 2012-2013, and the progress on enhancing the functioning of the Working Party.

Mr. Chairman,

May I also take this opportunity to express the Group’s profound appreciation to His Excellency Ambassador Hamid Baeidi Nejad of Iran for his able chairmanship and tenacious determination to seek a compromise conclusion during the three-day meeting of the Working Party, which reviewed the draft proposed UNCTAD Biennial Programme Plan for the period 2012-2013. However, it was highly unfortunate that the Working Party could not arrive at an agreed conclusion to endorse the said document. The members of the Group of 77 and China had actively participated in the said meeting and provided substantive inputs to refine the draft proposed Biennial Programme Plan. We believe that most parts of the revised draft document have now captured the essential needs of developing countries in line with the Accra Accord and relevant UN resolutions. It also provides comprehensive guidelines for the secretariat’s work plan and evaluation process during the next few years. We hope that the UNCTAD Secretary-General and his team can draw upon the key elements from this draft document for their future work before submission to the UN Secretary-General.

Nevertheless, the Group would like to register our serious concerns related to the process through which the Working Party had experienced last Friday in its attempt to finalize the draft Biennial Programme Plan. The Working Party was able to conclude most parts of the said document except for only one paragraph, despite the fact that it was directly quoted from the Accra Accord. At UNCTAD, we have always tried to uphold a cooperative spirit of compromise. It was therefore most disappointing, to say the least, that this could not be achieved last week due to some intransigent positions. We are deeply concerned that this development could well undermine the future process of the Working Party as well as the Trade and Development Board. In this regard, the Group urges all Member States to give their utmost efforts to engage in our deliberations in a cooperative spirit, with a view to reaching mutually beneficial outcomes. We hope to avoid the recurrence of such a situation in the future since it is not in any country’s best interests.

Another concern shared by most members of the Group relates to the operation and objectives of the work plan of the newly established Unit for Economic Cooperation and Integration among Developing Countries listed in section (e) under Subprogramme 1, “Globalization, interdependence and development”. We note with enthusiasm that the main priority of the said Unit is to enhance various aspects of South-South Cooperation. This is an area of UNCTAD’s work to which the Group attaches great importance, particularly in light of the current economic and financial crisis, as well as other global crises in the future that could adversely affect developing countries. Despite our appreciation for the secretariat’s explanation on its plan for the Unit, further clarification is needed in terms of the final structure and operation of the Unit, including the targets which the Unit hopes to achieve in the next few years. The Group requests that the secretariat in charge of the Unit expeditiously and promptly lay down its goals, both in terms of structure and plan, in close consultation with Member States. The Group of 77 and China will be following closely the development of the Unit and will provide full cooperation with the secretariat in this regard.

Mr. Chairman,

On this regard, and given the interest shown by the participating States on the Ad-Hoc Expert Meeting on to the contribution of migrants and remittances for development, held on 29 July 2009, and the usefulness of this meeting, the G77 and China requests that a Meetings of Experts on this issue should be convened in 2010 during the allotments provided in the calendar of meetings in May or June, once approved by the Commissions in May 2010, so that it could help prepare UNCTAD’s participation in the Global World Forum on Migration and Development that will be held in October 2010.

The Group of 77 and China welcomes the progress of the consultations on enhancing the functioning of the Working Party, especially the draft Terms of Reference, which was discussed extensively among Member States a few weeks ago in the session chaired by Mr. Elmer Schialer of Peru, Vice-President of the Board. In this light, the Group would like to thank Mr. Schialer and wish him all the best in this important endeavour, which will help gear the Working Party towards a more focused mandate and ensure its relevance to the UNCTAD system. The Group looks forward to continue working with him in the consultations next year. We also note with satisfaction the new schedule of the Working Party that would be incorporated into next year’s meeting calendar.

Mr. Chairman,

In closing, the Group of 77 and China wishes to emphasize the importance and relevance of the Working Party in assisting the Trade and Development Board in programme review and oversight, which will ensure that UNCTAD’s work plan effectively and efficiently corresponds with its mandate and the needs of developing countries. We look forward to the fruitful deliberations and successful conclusions of this meeting.

Thank you.

© The Group of 77