(Geneva, 23-25 July 2012)

Madame Chairperson, Mrs. Judith Arrieta (Mexico)
Mr. Petko Draganov, Deputy Secretary-General of UNCTAD
Distinguished Colleagues,

Madame Chairperson,

1. Allow me at the outset, on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, to congratulate you on your election. Rest assured of our ardent support as we work together to successfully complete the work before us.

Madame Chairperson,

2. We have two main tasks ahead of us. First, we continue our engagement on further improving UNCTAD's communication and publications policies. Second, we must work together in the spirit of Doha and guide the secretariat as it implements the Doha Mandate we so arduously negotiated. I will keep our comments and observations brief, Madame Chairperson, reserving more details for the discussions ahead of us.

3. With regard to the communications and publications policies, we welcome the efforts taken by the UNCTAD Secretariat in implementing the plans which member states agreed to. The new website, for example, represents an initial start toward improvement over the previous version, while retaining an ample room for further refinement. We note that it has become easier to search documents and to access background information on UNCTAD. We expect that improvements will continue to be made.

4. As the Group has already indicated on previous occasions, we also look forward to closer cooperation with permanent missions on UNCTAD's activities. There have been times when permanent missions have not been informed of UNCTAD's activities in our countries, including direct contacts with capitals. This is true of all levels of the secretariat. We expect that a greater effort will be made to keep permanent missions informed of such activities. This is not meant to be interfering with the day to day management of UNCTAD's work, but in order to allow the inter-governmental machinery to function better.

5. On the publications policy, we stress once again that the reduction in the overall number of UNCTAD publications should not be to the detriment of the delivery of services, including with regard to topics of special interest to developing countries. We also wish to reiterate the critical importance to improve the mechanism for timely distribution of documents and their translations, in order to better facilitate the intergovernmental meetings.

6. With regard to the substance of the publications, we expect that the work of the analytical pillar will continue to inform the intergovernmental machinery as well as national policies and decision making. We therefore expect that, while maintaining its strong intellectual rigor and independence, UNCTAD will continue to produce work which is relevant to the deliberations and policy making of the member states. We also expect that the analytical work of the secretariat will continue to be timely and forward-looking. We therefore look forward to analytical work which will serve as meaningful and relevant inputs for our broader intergovernmental work on the processes launched to review internationally-agreed development goals including the MDGs, as well as the process launched at Rio to define Sustainable Development Goals.

7. In closing, Madame Chairperson, I would like to say a few words about the adjustments which need to be made to the UNCTAD section of the proposed United Nations strategic framework for the period 2014-2015, as well as the review of the UNCTAD programme narrative for the biennium 2012-2013, in the light of the outcome of the thirteenth session of the Conference.

8. The Doha Mandate is a forward-looking document which seeks to strengthen UNCTAD in helping member states better face the economic and development challenges ahead. It also preserves the Accra mandates, except of course where explicitly superseded by the outcomes of UNCTAD XIII.

9. A few areas of special interest to the Group are worth highlighting. First, UNCTAD must continue to make a significant and meaningful contribution to the follow-up and implementation of the various global conferences and summits on development, including the process relating to the millennium development goals.

10. This task takes on added importance given the proximity of the target date of 2015, and the celebration of the 50th anniversary of UNCTAD in 2014. UNCTAD's work program should reflect a target of a significant contribution to the development discourse as a major outcome of the 50th anniversary celebration of UNCTAD. To this effect, our Group suggests organizing special development-focused, thematic meetings and workshops on the various inter-related issues during the lead up to the 50th anniversary celebrations.

11. Second, we continue to look to UNCTAD for ideas on how to address the implications of the global economic and financial crisis to the trade and development prospects of our countries. Given the the demand-driven nature of UNCTAD, we expect that the secretariat will continue to provide developing countries the analytical work we have continued to call for.

12. Third, the inter-related issues of commodities, food, and energy security remain very much at the top of our agenda. As do other issues of great importance, including sustainable development, productive capacity building and migration. We look forward to UNCTAD's continued good work in these areas, as well as the organization of briefings and meetings to contribute to our deliberations.

Thank you Madame Chairperson.