Statement by India at the 65th Annual Session of the Trade and Development Board, UNCTAD - Delivered by Ambassador Virander Paul, Deputy Permanent Representative on 06 June 2018

Statement by India at the 65th Annual Session of the Trade and Development Board, UNCTAD - Delivered by Ambassador Virander Paul, Deputy Permanent Representative on 06 June 2018

Thank you Mr. President,

The delegation of India wishes to thank the outgoing President for the work accomplished during his tenure and congratulates you and other new office bearers on their election to the Bureau. We express the hope that GRULAC is able to reach consensus to fill the vacant posts of this vital body of the TDB.

2. We thank the Secretariat for the preparation of this annual session and request it to submit all the background documents sufficiently in advance in accordance with Rule 29 to allow adequate preparation.

3. The topics of the high-level segments have enriched the discussions in the session. There is a growing crisis in multilateralism in international trade, in particular, with regard to their developmental impact, compounded further by eroding trust and rising protectionism. Development centered globalization and multilateralism, including in trade, is clearly the way forward and must be revitalized to realize shared prosperity of all and to leave no one behind through its transformative impact and by fostering global partnerships central to the realization of Agenda 2030. Ensuring a sustained positive trend in global output, trade and investment is critical to this process. And while trade and development are inter-twined, trade by itself will not result in development. Countries also need to build effective resilience to potential shocks for sustainability of their trade and development.

4. The ongoing digital revolution is profoundly affecting the economy including trade. Developing countries need to be better prepared to capitalize the opportunities and embrace the challenges. For this, the extant digital divide in terms of access, affordability, skills, infrastructure, technology, aid, investment, capacity, policy and overall readiness needs to be bridged.

5. There are significant gaps in financing for development and in fulfillment of the international commitments. One of the ways to address this is to combat illicit financial flows, for which international cooperation is necessary.

6. India recognizes UNCTAD’s central and crucial role in the integrated treatment of trade and development and other inter-related issues through its three mutually-reinforcing pillars of research & analysis, inter-governmental consensus-building, and technical assistance. We want a stronger, fit for purpose and result-oriented UNCTAD that is Member-State led and driven and fully and adequately supported by the Secretariat. This may entail the following among other things:

  1. Strengthen UNCTAD’s partnerships within the UN trade and development system. In this regard, we request the Secretariat to submit a strategic plan of action and its periodic assessment.
  2. Revitalize the inter-Governmental machinery and ensure a structured, transparent and inclusive process of working and consensus building in all its bodies, fully and adequately supported by the Secretariat. The process of revitalization should focus on strengthening the outcomes of the intergovernmental bodies that feed into the larger UN system.
  3. Undertake rigorous follow-up on the implementation of the decisions and recommendations of the inter-governmental bodies.
  4. Comprehensively review the terms of reference and rules of procedure of the various inter-governmental bodies.
  5. Ensure full transparency in the working of the Bureau and share a written record of its deliberations and decisions with all Member States.
  6. Formulate a coherent results based management approach that includes human resource, financial, communication and independent, efficient and effective evaluation strategies.
  7. To make the secretariat geographically equitable and diverse and gender balanced. We request the Secretariat to periodically report on this issue.
  8. Make effective and innovative use of digital tools and technology for more inclusive participation, greater transparency, member state capacity building and technical cooperation including by means of creation of a global developmental observatory and virtual consortium of developmental think-tanks and experts.
  9. Organize regular briefing of Member States by the Secretary General, before major inter-governmental sessions.
  10. Hold important sessions as this without coinciding with other major UN meetings. This current session coincides with the ongoing International Labour Conference in ILO.

7. Further, we request the secretariat to provide the following:

  1. Periodic status update on the implementation of all outstanding recommendations of the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) recommendations
  2. Latest and comprehensive implementation report on the key recommendations of the UN JIU Report of 2012.
  3. Latest and comprehensive follow-up report on the implementation of the recommendations made by the first and second eminent persons panel
  4. A break-down of the 470+ Secretariat staff in terms of level, work allocation, nationality, gender, source of funding, new recruitments and career advancement inter alia.

Mr. President,

8. The Nairobi Maafikiano contains a strong mandate for UNCTAD. The challenge confronting us is to find ways to effectively implement it in accordance with UNCTAD’s raison de etre that remains as valid today as in its founding year. The pre-ambular words of the final act of UNCTAD I reads:

"In an age when scientific progress has put unprecedented abundance within man's reach, it is essential that the flows of world trade should help eliminate the wide economic disparities among nations."

9. The upcoming mid-term review of the Maafikiano later this year would provide member States an opportunity to assess and streamline the work of UNCTAD for turning actionable decisions into tangible results. This must be fully seized.

10. UNCTAD is a platform for frank and open deliberations, including on highly sensitive and contentious development issues and for creating a zone of comfort for constructive engagement for all developmental stakeholders and fostering partnerships. It is a forum for brainstorming for development and not a negotiating body. Bearing this in mind, allows open-mindedness and space for deliberations of new and bold ideas and initiatives. Only such an approach will enable the organization to play a key role in multilateralism by generating necessary inter-governmental consensuss.

11. We hope that the deliberations in this session will help arrive at specific and actionable outcomes for phase II. India would like to reiterate its full support to UNCTAD that needs to continuously reorient, reinvent and revitalize itself to remain relevant and to express its readiness to work with other member states on the shared agenda.

Thank you.

06 June 2018

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