(Geneva, 14 March 2011)

Madam Chair,
Deputy Secretary-General of UNCTAD,
Distinguished Colleagues,

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

2. First of all, I wish to congratulate you on assuming the chairmanship of this 58th session of the Working Party on the Strategic Framework and the Programme Budget. This meeting provides us an opportunity to examine the implementation of the Communication Strategy and the Publications Policy adopted by UNCTAD.

3. UNCTAD's publication policy is an issue of considerable importance for the Group of 77 & China as it is one of the principal means by which one of the pillars of UNCTAD - its analytical pillar - is concretized. Through its analytical pillar, UNCTAD can both directly inform the policy making process in capitals and in the inter-governmental machinery. It is therefore an important point of principle for the Group to preserve and protect the intellectual integrity and independence of UNCTAD publications policy. Consequently, the Group has taken the principled position of ensuring easy access from all Member States to UNCTAD publications. Nevertheless, the Group has remained cognizant of the resource constraints facing the Organization.

4. Without prejudice to our important work in the year ahead, I would like to emphasize some points of key importance for the Group of 77 and China, and we intend to amplify and expound on these points as a group in the discussions ahead.

5. One of the key criteria in judging outreach and publications is relevance of the flagship publications. We note the fundamental approach this year, which was to identify innovative policies and strategies in the wake of the crises. For example, the Trade and Development Report looked at employment; the World Investment Report looked at boosting agriculture in developing countries and overcoming the food crisis; the LDC report looked at innovative ways of providing support to LDCs; and, the Technology and Innovation report looked at agriculture in Africa.

6. The Group of 77 and China welcomes these reports as tackling issues of importance to the developing countries, and consider that they responded to developing countries' needs.

7. One major set back relating to publications concerns translation. The TDR became available in English last summer, but has only recently become available in the other languages. The LDC report is still not available in French, even though it is regarded as a basic contribution of UNCTAD to LDC IV. Other flagship publications simply do not appear in languages other than English. The performance here needs to be improved. We also wish to emphasize the importance of all publications to be made available in all the UN languages. It is important to strengthen UNCTAD's capacity to deal effectively and in a timely manner to this continuing problem. It is also important to underscore that publications, when available in all the languages, can then only be fully utilized by the whole membership in their Capitals and the entire member states can usefully benefit from UNCTAD's research and analysis. We emphasize the importance of ensuring the availability of key documents translated in all languages for the forthcoming processes, including the preparations for UNCTAD XIII.

8. Concerning the programming of the flagship publications, we welcome the improved spacing of flagships throughout the year. This helps raise the profile of each report. For those publications that are discussed in the Board, it is important to make them available as early as possible.

9. On the publications programme, we note the comments on streamlining, as provided for in the publications policy. While we accept the measures taken so far in this connection, we emphasize that these measures should not result in any part of UNCTAD's mandate being neglected. Research and analysis is a key function of UNCTAD and of vital interest to developing countries.

10. We welcome the new communication products which include, Policy briefs; the investment monitors; UNCTAD this week, and, E-alerts. These products are useful in themselves, and they reflect the type of innovative thinking, quality and topicality, which we expect from UNCTAD. We also welcome Sectoral studies and Case studies but we should emphasize on continued consultations with the countries concerned.

Madam Chair,

11. We note the information provided on the overhaul of the Website. The website is an important tool for communications and outreach. We are concerned about the time being taken to complete this task and hope that the necessary resources and priority are being devoted to this work, especially in the context of preparations for UNCTAD XIII.

12. We also note the information supplied on branding, a mission statement, a motto and a graphic identity. The group of 77 & China would like to have more information on this issue, and once again we have concerns about the time being taken. We look forward to more rapid progress.

13. On the Readership Survey, we note that this is the third survey conducted by the secretariat, and we appreciate the efforts made. The response rate, while not as high as in the first survey, is much better than in the second survey. We encourage the secretariat to pursue its efforts to improve the response rate, and call on member States to increase their own efforts in this connection.

14. We note the conclusion to the effect that there is continuing demand for hard copies of reports. While we welcome the availability of UNCTAD publications on the web page, we emphasize the importance of printed copies, and - in all working languages - in many developing countries where internet access remains a challenge.

15. Concerning the list of publications for 2010, we note that many publications are still "in drafting". We would like to know the reason for this, and if it will not jeopardize the publications programme for the biennium. As for the list for 2011, our individual members will be giving their comments with a view to ensuring that the issues of most interest to them are being taken into account.

Madam Chair,

16. We consider that the communications strategy and the publications policy are being implemented in a generally satisfactory way. We urge the secretariat to pay special attention to the issues we have flagged, especially with regard to the translation of publications and the web site. Outreach is key to ensuring the impact of the organization.

17. I would like to assure you of our continued support and cooperation in the successful accomplishment of the work we have before us, and we assure you and our developed partners of our continued commitment to improve and enhance the positive spirit of cooperation and consensus-building in UNCTAD's intergovernmental machinery.

Thank you.