The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) hosted a discussion of the role of trade in the global partnership and the means of implementation of the post-2015 development agenda.
The event took place on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly's (UNGA) High-Level Thematic Debate on Means of Implementation for a Transformative Post-2015 Development Agenda.
10 February 2015: The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) hosted a discussion of the role of trade in the global partnership and the means of implementation of the post-2015 development agenda. The event took place on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly’s (UNGA) High-Level Thematic Debate on Means of Implementation for a Transformative Post-2015 Development Agenda.
‘Making the Sustainable Development Goals Work: Harnessing Trade, Investment, Finance and Technology for Sustainable Development’ took place on 10 February 2015, at UN Headquarters in New York, US.
UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi said the global debate is shifting to consider the design of a policy framework for the implementation of the next set of development goals. He called for three types of institutions to implement the development agenda: national governments with coherent policies; strengthened regional communities; and robust multilateralism with fair and inclusive trade. Kituyi also called for greater participation of developing countries in international financial institutions (IFIs) and a reorientation of financial governance.
Two UNCTAD experts presented their research and work relevant to the post-2015 means of implementation (MOI). Richard Kozul-Wright, UNCTAD Division on Globalization and Development Strategies, observed that there is a more hostile global financial environment for the implementation of the SDGs, extending from the austerity policies of developed countries. Anne Miroux, UNCTAD Division on Technology and Logistics, discussed how to ensure that developing countries can access new technology and science tools for development.
Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, CEO of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), said Africa has a much different context than when the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were designed. He stressed that the region’s focus on industrialization, infrastructure and job creation, alongside poverty reduction, will be critical as policymakers plan future development strategies. Abulkalam Abdul Momen, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh, stressed that trade can be an engine for growth and prosperity, “if it is allowed to function.” He called for specific mechanisms to support the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), including duty-free market access, incentives for foreign investment, and support for a science and technology mechanism.
Choong-hee Hahn, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea, said trade based on efficient productivity and a well-educated labor force has always been an important driver of growth. He emphasized the role of community ownership and social reform in his country’s development. Aldo Caliari, Centre of Concern, stressed the need for diverse means of implementation to be considered in an interlinked and holistic way. He recognized that UNCTAD has been long considering the integration of different forces, including trade, investment, debt and domestic resources, and called for a consideration of the inter-relationships between these actions.
UNGA President Sam Kutesa said economic growth is key in raising government revenues and creating productive employment opportunities. The LDCs, land-locked developing countries (LLDCs), and small island developing States (SIDS) are particularly challenged, he said, and require adequate infrastructure and participation in global trade.
In the discussion between Member State representatives, UNCTAD and participants, numerous delegates welcomed UNCTAD’s contributions and called on the institution to be more involved in discussion of the post-2015 development agenda and Third International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD3). “UNCTAD needs to play a central role to help us truly define the agenda with regard to means of implementation,” said Macharia Kamua, Permanent Representative of Kenya, and Co-Facilitator for the intergovernmental negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda. Guilherme De Aguiar Patriota, Deputy Permanent Representative of Brazil, called on UNCTAD to help strengthen the hand of developing countries in New York.
Member States also discussed the nexus of trade and development, particularly in the context of LDCs and LLDCs, whom many said are in need of differentiated support. A representative of China said capacity building and infrastructure must be central to national efforts. A few speakers cited the importance of establishing regional trade communities, with a representative from Laos speaking of his country’s experience with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) economic community. Other representatives inquired about the potential for trade to better foster sustainable development. [IISD RS Sources] [Event Programme] [IISD RS Story on UNGA Debate on MOI]