United Nations Conference on Trade and Development

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United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
Abbreviation UNCTAD
Formation 1964
Headquarters Geneva, Switzerland
Website www.unctad.org
The headquarters of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development are located in the Palace of Nations (United Nations Office at Geneva, Switzerland).

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) (French Conférence des Nations unies sur le Commerce et le Développement (CNUCED)) was established in 1964 as a permanent intergovernmental body.

UNCTAD is the principal organ of the United Nations General Assembly dealing with trade, investment, and development issues. The organization's goals are to: "maximize the trade, investment and development opportunities of developing countries and assist them in their efforts to integrate into the world economy on an equitable basis."[1]

The primary objective of UNCTAD is to formulate policies relating to all aspects of development including trade, aid, transport, finance and technology. The conference ordinarily meets once in four years; the permanent secretariat is in Geneva.

One of the principal achievements of UNCTAD has been to conceive and implement the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP). It was argued in UNCTAD that to promote exports of manufactured goods from developing countries, it would be necessary to offer special tariff concessions to such exports. Accepting this argument, the developed countries formulated the GSP scheme under which manufacturers' exports and some agricultural goods from the developing countries enter duty-free or at reduced rates in the developed countries. Since imports of such items from other developed countries are subject to the normal rates of duties, imports of the same items from developing countries would enjoy a competitive advantage.

The creation of UNCTAD in 1964 was based on concerns of developing countries over the international market, multi-national corporations, and great disparity between developed nations and developing nations. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development was established to provide a forum where the developing countries could discuss the problems relating to their economic development. The organisation grew from the view that existing institutions like GATT (now replaced by the World Trade Organization, WTO), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and World Bank were not properly organized to handle the particular problems of developing countries. Later, in the 1970s and 1980s, UNCTAD was closely associated with the idea of a New International Economic Order (NIEO).

The first UNCTAD conference took place in Geneva in 1964, the second in New Delhi in 1968, the third in Santiago in 1972, fourth in Nairobi in 1976, the fifth in Manila in 1979, the sixth in Belgrade in 1983, the seventh in Geneva in 1987, the eighth in Cartagena in 1992 and the ninth at Johannesburg (South Africa) in 1996.

Currently, UNCTAD has 194 member states and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. UNCTAD has 400 staff members and a bi-annual (2010–2011) regular budget of $138 million in core expenditures and $72 million in extra-budgetary technical assistance funds. It is a member of the United Nations Development Group.[2] There are non-governmental organizations participating in the activities of UNCTAD.[3]

Membership[edit]

  UNCTAD Members
  UNCTAD Members at the Trade and Development Board
  Members, List A
  Members, List B
  Members, List C
  Members, List D
  Members, to be assigned

As of October 2012, 194 states are UNCTAD members:[4] all UN members and the Holy See. UNCTAD members are divided into four lists, the division being based on United Nations Regional Groups[4] with six members unassigned: Armenia, Kiribati, Nauru, South Sudan, Tajikistan, Tuvalu. List A consists mostly of countries in the African and Asia-Pacific Groups of the UN. List B consists of countries of the Western European and Others Group. List C consists of countries of the Group of Latin American and Caribbean States (GRULAC). List D consists of countries of the Eastern European Group.

The lists, originally defined in 19th General Assembly resolution 1995 serve to balance geographical distribution of member states' representation on the Trade Development Board and other UNCTAD structures. The lists are similar to those of UNIDO, an UN specialized agency.

The full lists are as follows:

List A (100 members): Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Benin, Bhutan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, China, Comoros, Côte d'Ivoire, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Laos, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi , Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Micronesia, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Qatar, South Korea, Rwanda, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Tanzania, Vanuatu, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
List B (31 members): Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Holy See, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States.
List C (33 members): Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, Venezuela.
List D (24 members): Albania, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Montenegro, Poland, Moldova, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Macedonia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan.
Not assigned countries (6 members): Armenia, Kiribati, Nauru, South Sudan, Tajikistan, Tuvalu.

Other states that do not participate are Cook Islands, Niue and the states with limited recognition.

Meetings[edit]

The inter-governmental work is done at five levels of meetings:

  • The UNCTAD Conference – held every four years:
  • The UNCTAD Trade and Development Board – the Board manages the work of UNCTAD between two conferences and meets up to three times every year;
  • Four UNCTAD Commissions and one Working Party – these meet more often than the Board to take up policy, programme and budgetary issues;
  • Expert Meetings – the commissions will convene expert meetings on selected topics to provide substantive and expert input for Commission policy discussions.


Reports[edit]

UNCTAD produces a number of topical reports, including:

  • The Trade and Development Report [2]
  • The Trade and Environment Review [3]
  • The World Investment Report [4]
  • The Economic Development in Africa Report [5]
  • The Least Developed Countries Report [6]
  • UNCTAD Statistics [7]
  • The Information Economy Report [8]
  • The Review of Maritime Transport [9]
  • The International Accounting and Reporting Issues Annual Review [10]
  • The Technology and Innovation Report [11]

Other[edit]

UNCTAD conducts technical cooperation programmes[9] such as ASYCUDA, DMFAS, EMPRETEC and WAIPA.

In addition, UNCTAD conducts certain technical cooperation in collaboration with the World Trade Organization through the joint International Trade Centre (ITC), a technical cooperation agency targeting operational and enterprise-oriented aspects of trade development.

UNCTAD hosts the Intergovernmental Working Group of Experts on International Standards of Accounting and Reporting (ISAR).

Partnership Initiatives[edit]

UNCTAD is a founding member of the United Nations Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) initiative along with the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP-FI), and the UN Global Compact.

List of Secretaries-General and Officers-in-Charge[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Number Secretary-General Dates in office Country of origin Remarks
1 Raúl Prebisch 1963–1969 Argentina
2 Manuel Pérez-Guerrero 1969–1974 Venezuela
3 Gamani Corea 1974–1984 Sri Lanka
4 Alister McIntyre 1985 Grenada Officer-in-Charge
5 Kenneth K.S. Dadzie 1986–1994 Ghana
6 Carlos Fortin 1994–1995 Chile Officer-in-Charge
7 Rubens Ricupero 1995–2004 Brazil
8 Carlos Fortin 2004–2005 Chile Officer-in-Charge
9 Supachai Panitchpakdi 1 September 2005 – 30 August 2013 Thailand
10 Mukhisa Kituyi 1 September 2013 – Present Kenya
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