(Geneva, 1-5 September 2008)

Thank you for giving me the floor to speak on behalf of the G77 and China. I will be making a short statement to cover the general overview of all the items of the agenda that we will be discussing.

Concerning agenda item 3: Discussion of 4 Year Work Plan of AA, the Work Plan is key because it is the translation into concrete action (the activities, publications, meetings) of the policy directions directed by member states in the Accra Accord (AA) as well as those contained in the decisions of the GA, ECOSOC or the TDB itself.. Let me highlight a number of key elements of the work plan that we are glad to see appearing in the proposed plan. The details will be discussed when we get to each agenda item.

We attach particular importance to the research capacity of UNCTAD and to its independence, development oriented and ahead of the curve characteristics in all its mandate of work. We support the policy orientations and the related work associated with it and the development perspective with traditional, structural and systemic issues, as well as with burning issues facing the world economy in general and the developing countries in particular. We are pleased to note not only the emphasis placed on interdependence and development strategies but also that on policy space, in the form of coherence between international economic rules, practices and processes, on the one hand, and national policies and development strategies, on the other, on consistency of international trade, investment and financial policies and arrangements, the impact of growth-oriented macroeconomic and financial policies on development and the development implications of globalization. On intergovernmental deliberations and consensus building, we wish to stress the need to come up with good ideas for policy innovation for development that be put into action at all levels.

On trade, we agree with the proposed plan in that it is largely a reflection of what we agreed in the AA. Just to highlight, it contains: capacity building for developing countries participation in the international trading system and trade negotiations, especially in the context of the multilateral trading system and regional trade agreements including in services, commodities, south south cooperation, competition, environment, new and dynamic sectors of world trade, emerging issues of migration, climate change, etc.

On investment, the proposed plan responds adequately to the new and reinforced mandates received by the Division in Accra. The Group notes that the reorientation of the work programme is reflected in a balanced manner in all three pillars of work: research and analysis, technical assistance and consensus-building. It acknowledges the efforts made by the sub-programme to optimize its delivery rate, in a general context of reduced resources. policy analysis on the development impact of FDI is important. The Accra Accord in its paragraphs 148, 149 and 150, requests UNCTAD to strengthen its support to developing countries with a view to help them create an environment conducive to attract and benefit from investment for development.

Concerning trade Logistics, Science and technology, the inputs to the plan are consistent with the AA commitments and include important issues like that multiyear expert meetings dealing with transport and trade facilitation issues in an integrated manner; research and analysis, as well as advisory services on issues that affect the trade and transport of developing countries: these include, among others, the impact of high fuel prices on transport costs, the implications of climate change for transportation, as well as issues arising in connection with trade facilitation and development and the national implementation of internationally agreed rules and standards; advice and assistance to developing countries in relation to negotiations on trade facilitation as well as the effective implementation of trade facilitation measures, with a view to improved transit transport solutions, customs modernization including UNCTAD’s ASYCUDA programme, single windows and institutional and regulatory frameworks. Mention has been made in the fields of science, technology and ICTs under a single programmatic entity.  Capacity building in knowledge Sharing, Training and Capacity Development aspects are also covered and we are happy with this.

Concerning agenda item 4: Review of technical assistance activities, our key message is the need to follow the main principles, all part of the broad agreement reached at UNCTAD XII. They include:

The need to deliver tangible results at the interregional, regional and national levels, to the benefit of all developing countries; be demand-driven and embrace country ownership; be based on the principles of transparency, efficiency, effectiveness and accountability; continue to address the needs of all developing countries, in particular LDCs; particularly address the needs of the African continent; be planned and implemented in a geographically balanced manner; continue to address the special needs and problems of landlocked developing countries; continue to address the special needs of small island developing States, and to address the special needs of other structurally weak, vulnerable and small economies; be in accordance with Trade and Development Board decisions 492 (LIV) of 2007 and 478 (L) of 2003; and also be in accordance with the conclusions of the Mid-term Review in 2006. We underline the need to respond, as in research and analysis, to the broadest possible and diverse needs of developing countries especially through the thematic approach, combined with other tools such as the Trade and Productive Capacity Cluster, the One UN Pilot Countries, and the Enhanced Integrated Framework for LDCs. Predictability of resources is also key.

Document TD/B/WP/202 provided by Secretariat has some important points, particularly the recommendations which we support, including: strengthening the role of the WP. Strengthening relationship and liaison between regional focal points mandated in the AA and TRTA activities by secretariat is equally important. We will discuss the details later.

With this understanding, the Group of 77 & China can accept the draft note as a basis for finalizing the work plan for UNCTAD for 2008 to 2011. In fact, we would like to endorse the draft note as presented.

Concerning agenda item 5: Progress report on implementation of Sub theme 4 AA, we support the secretariat's efforts and points made in document TD/B/WP/207. In particular, we are happy that Secretary General has created the AA Steering Group, committees and other mechanisms to start implementing the AA commitments including on communications and publications, food crisis, preparation of the Work Plan, inclusion of high level segment on MDGs in the TDB agenda, transforming into a substantially autonomous unit on commodities, reporting directly to him with its own clearly defined resources, etc, etc. Yes, we need to reach final agreement concerning the topics of the expert meetings soon. We support this document as a basis on which we can make improvements in order to strengthen the implementation process.

Concerning agenda item 6: Evaluation of TRTA activities:

(a) UNCTAD's investment advisory services: These activities were evaluated in September 2007 in which the evaluation team noted that "UNCTAD's investment advisory services have been relevant and have had an impact, and that the delivery of these services has been efficient and effective". Meanwhile, several strategic recommendations were made to the secretariat with the view to increase its impact and relevance. We commend the Division on Investment and Enterprise for the prompt and adequate implementation of these recommendations, as reported in the document TD/B/WP/204.

(b)  Also the evaluation team on accession to WTO provided important findings including that Secretariats work was useful and had an impact on beneficiaries. In this respect, we wish to remind-colleagues from the donor community to implement  recommendations (a) and the secretariat to implement recommendation (b) of the Report of the Evaluators that "Donors should provide UNCTAD with continuous and predictable multi-year funding to provide sustained, broader and deeper technical assistance and capacity building support that spans the entire range of pre-accession, accession and post-accession negotiations and implementation";  and that

"Enhanced budget resources should be provided to DITC in the area of trade negotiations to make it possible to accompany acceding countries continuously during the whole process of accession, including the post-accession phase, and ensure that they implement their obligations, adjust to the new regime and benefit from opportunities in the multilateral trading system;[ and that]  in this context, WTO accession should be a core activity of UNCTAD".