GROUP OF 77
GENEVA

STATEMENT BY CHAIRMAN OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA IN GENEVA, H.E. AMBASSADOR DELMER URBIZO (HONDURAS): WORKING PARTY ON THE MEDIUM TERM AND THE PROGRAMME BUDGET FOR THE BIENNIUM 2008 2009, GENEVA 48TH SESSION, RESUMED (Geneva, 9-11 July 2007)


Mr. Chairman,

  1. Thank you for giving me the floor to speak on behalf of the G77 and China. And let me thank you for your chairmanship of this Working party and assure you of my group’s support. I’m confident that you will guide us to complete our task successfully. Since members reviewed the programmatic content of the Programme Budget for the next two years in January this year, we wish to centre our contribution to this meeting on the relationship between the programmatic content and the allocation of resources.
  2. The G77 and China is unhappy and concerned that no sustainable mechanism for the financing of experts has been found and requests that this issue should continue to be on the agenda.
  3. It should be recalled that the previous biennium recorded an overall decrease of resources of 2 per cent or about US $ 2million. We expected this biennium to either have an increase beyond the 2 per cent loss of the past, or at least to reverse the gap. Instead, there’s a marginal increase of 0.2 per cent over the last biennium, which in money terms is only about $ 208,300. It means, we are far from recovering the lost US $ 2million. This does not reflect a positive trend for UNCTAD’s work particularly when we have all agreed in the Mid-Term Review to strengthen the three pillars of UNCTAD’s work.
  4. The disproportionate decrease of temporary posts financed through extra budgetary resources should not put any administrative and substantial burden to the regular budget posts particularly those related to research and analysis pillar.
  5. The Mid-term Review has provided policy guidance with respect to both the policy orientations and the institutional dimensions for strengthening of UNCTAD. Subprogramme 1 provides an illustration of the research and policy analysis of UNCTAD, a pillar on which the outcome of the Mid-term Review placed particular emphasis. Globalization and interdependence, development strategies, macroeconomic policies, debt and development finance, policy coherence and systemic issues, global governance and in general global issues and the supporting statistical services are integral part of UNCTAD's mandate and, consequently, of its work. We are pleased to see that, compared with the programmatic content that we have reviewed at the January session of the Working Party, there are no major departures.
  6. The question of policy space, an issue to which G-77 attaches great importance, continues to be reflected and we expect that the secretariat will continue work in this direction, in particular by developing a methodology for the integration of this concept at the international level. We also appreciate that the request addressed by the Mid-term Review aimed at developing "practical solutions and policy options for developing countries to cope with existing and emerging development challenges" is properly reflected. DMFAS, the support to G-24 on International Monetary Issues and Development, the policy advice on making globalization work for development and support for enhancing developing countries capacity for reliable and timely statistics necessary for the decision making process are just some examples. We expect that the programme will continue in this direction which would further reinforce the inherently inter-linkages among UNCTAD’s three pillars, i.e. research and analysis, consensus building and technical cooperation. We are looking forward to make this interplay fully operational by providing the necessary mechanisms that allow that such important issues falling under the purview of this sub-programme be properly addressed within UNCTAD. And lastly, we note with satisfaction that sub-programme 1 makes a direct link with UNCTAD's contribution to the follow-up to the Conference on Financing for Development, which is fully in line with paragraph 2 of the Sao Paulo Consensus and paragraph 22 of the Mid-term Review. For all these reasons we would like to see this programme further reinforced.
  7. South-south cooperation is a useful tool for pooling the expertise of the countries of the south, sharing and learning each others’ experiences, and developing the capacities within the south. Developing countries of the south hope to receive strong support from UNCTAD for south-south cooperation and also in facilitating triangular cooperation by bringing the resources and institutional support from the north for cooperation among the countries of the south. We have, however, concerns about making south-south cooperation a cross-cutting issue in all areas of work of UNCTAD. UNCTAD is a universal forum and south-south cooperation can only be but one of the areas of focus. South South Cooperation is only a complement, but do not replace the need of North South Cooperation, because, inter allia, most of the resources, state of the art technologies and know how are available in the North.
  8. In the light of the above, we see a need for a strengthened mandate from UNCTAD XII, which can then be reflected in a revised budget to the GA with request for increased resources to UNCTAD. We wish to request the Working Party at its present session to request the GA of the urgent need to substantially augment resources allocated to UNCTAD, and to follow up on this request after UNCTAD XII.