The 12th United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) which opened in Accra yesterday would be aimed at limiting the impact of a potential global slowdown and ensuring that the benefits of 'second-generation globalisation', reached all the world's developing countries and poorest populations.
The conference would seek to identify policies for meeting the urgent needs of the peoples of developing countries and would discuss topical issues in trade and development, such as multilateral rules and disciplines on financial activity and currency flows similar to those regulating international trade. The theme of UNCTAD XII is: 'Addressing the opportunities and challenges of globalisation for development'.
UNCTAD XII has brought together Heads of State and Government, including the President of Ghana, John Agyekum Kufuor; the President of Brazil, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva; the President of Finland, Tarja Halonen; and the President of Sierra Leone, President Bai Koroma, as well as ministers, delegates, representatives of the private sector and non-governmental organisations, experts, artists and journalists.
Since September, representatives of UNCTAD's 193 member States have been trying to reach consensus on the text that would be adopted in Accra. The negotiating text reveals their vision of how to respond to current economic questions, and would define UNCTAD's work programme for the next four years.
These intensive negotiations would continue in Accra during sessions of UNCTAD XII's Committee of the Whole. Created in 1964, UNCTAD is responsible for helping developing countries integrate into the world economy so that they benefited as much as possible from trade, investment and development.
It aims to guide debate and reflection on global development questions so that the combination of national policies and international action generates sustainable development. It is the only organisation in the UN system that treat development questions in an integrated manner. Africa would feature prominently at the Accra Conference.
The Heads of State and Government would focus on measures needed for African countries to benefit more from globalisation and on what should be done to strengthen the international community's efforts to promote development-friendly trade and economic growth in Africa.
This debate would be chaired by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and moderated by UNCTAD Secretary-General Supachai Panitchpakdi.
The general debate, which begins today, would be transmitted live on the Internet and would give Heads of State and Government and delegations the opportunity to express their opinions on trade and development issues.