The UN’s leading development organisation just got a renewed mandate for its work, but not without difficulty because the developed countries are tighter with their concessions to the developing countries. The process in attaining it shows the not too healthy state of North-South relations.
The United Nations’ leading organisation for discussions on economic issues has recently concluded its conference, held once in four years, by adopting two declarations.
That is seen as another success in international co-operation, this time on trade, development and related issues. However, agreement was reached only after a lot of difficult wrangling between the developed and developing countries.
The process showed up the shaky and not too healthy state of North-South relations.
The 14th session of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (dubbed Unctad 14) was held in Nairobi between July 17 and 22.
Formed in 1964, Unctad is the UN’s premier economic development organisation. In its heyday from the 1960s to the 1980s, Unctad was a major trade negotiating centre, specialising in global commodity agreements.
It helped lead the developing countries’ initiative for a “new international economic order”.
It was also designated the UN’s focal point for the integrated treatment of trade and development and with areas of finance, technology and investment.
For over half a century, Unctad has championed the cause of developing countries. But in recent years, under the influence of developed countries, its role was downgraded.
Many important issues were given to other organisations, over which the developed countries have more control, such as the OECD, World Trade Organisation, IMF and World Bank.
The two declarations adopted in Nairobi summarised the countries’ views on trade and economic issues and Unctad’s role in the next four years.