(Geneva, 15 February 2010)

Mr. Chairman,
Mr. Deputy Secretary-General of UNCTAD,
Distinguished Colleagues,

I have the honour to make this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.

First of all, let me congratulate you, Mr. Chairman, upon assuming your chairmanship at this very important meeting of the Working Party on the Strategic Framework and the Programme Budget. We have every confidence that under your able guidance and leadership, this meeting will achieve successful outcomes. You can rest assured of our Group's full support and cooperation throughout our deliberations.

The Group of 77 and China also wishes to express its appreciation to the UNCTAD Secretariat for preparing background and relevant documents for consideration at this meeting.

Mr. Chairman,

The Group of 77 and China wishes to reiterate the great importance it attaches to UNCTAD's publications. Over the years, these publications have provided developing countries with wider perspectives on the global economic situation as well as other specific issues and challenges that are of particular relevance to their development processes. The flagship publications, in particular, have been important sources of information and analysis for developing countries. They have served to inform national policy making, and have assisted developing countries in engaging in the broader development discourse in the United Nations system.

Similarly, UNCTAD's other publications have also been of much importance to developing countries. While some of the more focused publications may not have as broad a readership as the flagship publications, they nevertheless have proven valuable for individual countries which are interested in specific issues. We therefore look forward to UNCTAD continuing its excellent work in this area, and expect UNCTAD to continue to deliver ahead of the curve analytical work.

Moreover, we wish to express our appreciation to UNCTAD for its work to assist the Palestinian people, particularly the publications issued in 2009 and those which are scheduled to be completed in 2010. We believe that these publications are particularly useful and are in line with the needs of the Palestinian people. In this regard, the Group wishes to explore the possibility of expanding the quota for UNCTAD's publications on Palestine, should the need arise.

Mr. Chairman,

Given such importance of UNCTAD's publications to developing countries, the Group wishes to reiterate its emphasis on the quality, timeliness, and relevance of UNCTAD's publications, particularly to developing countries, and the need to maintain the secretariat's intellectual rigor and independence. The Group therefore would like to underscore the following elements.

First, while being satisfied with the current number of publications projected for 2010, we are of the view that UNCTAD's publications should focus more on topical issues as well as new and emerging issues of interest to developing countries.

Second, the Group is open to shorter, more focused publications dealing with specific issues and developments, such as the publications which were prepared on the global financial and economic crisis. We believe that these publications received outstanding responses due to their specific focus as well as their timeliness in addressing the crisis affecting developing countries.

Third, UNCTAD's publication policy and communication strategy should also focus on improving mechanisms to evaluate the usefulness of UNCTAD's publications and utility to member countries which would benefit future planning.

Mr. Chairman,

Regarding the results of the readership survey, the Group of 77 and China believes it is unfortunate that the response rate is rather low, compared to the previous year. In this regard, the Group wishes to highlight a few points for your consideration.

First, the Group is of the view that a low response rate does not reflect a lack of interest on the part of developing countries with those publications. In fact, there are other factors that may contribute to such a low response rate that should be taken into account in addressing the matter. One of the factors that is particularly crucial to the Group is the issue of translation. We are seriously concerned about the fact that some flagship publications were not translated in a timely manner so as to allow countries to appreciate the content of the publications before the survey was conducted. We would therefore be interested to engage in a discussion as to how this issue could be addressed and improved during the course of this meeting.

Second, although the readership survey can serve as a means to assess the usefulness and quality of UNCTAD's publications, it should not be considered as the only tool for this purpose. In this regard, the Group has stressed the need to explore ways to improve assessment mechanisms of UNCTAD's publication and we are open to discuss any alternative method of assessing UNCTAD's publications.

Mr. Chairman,

The Group of 77 and China notes with appreciation the Secretary-General's efforts to address the backlog of work, as well as the need for more topical and relevant work within the Secretariat. The Group would also appreciate an explanation as to why the Secretariat was unable to deliver some of its expected publications in 2009, and what could be done to prevent this situation from future recurrence.

Regarding UNCTAD's Communication Strategy, the Group would like to see UNCTAD step up its effort to enhance its outreach to wider audiences in developing countries, including both public and private sectors, academia and civil society, through the organization of seminars and workshops on the main areas of UNCTAD research and policy analysis, including the findings of the flagship reports.

Mr. Chairman,

In closing, the Group of 77 and China welcomes this opportunity to engage in a fruitful and constructive discussion during this meeting on how to enhance UNCTAD's ability to deliver its publications in the future.

I thank you.