(Geneva, 5 September 2011)

Mr. President,
Deputy Secretary General,
Ladies and Gentlemen

I have the honour and privilege of speaking on behalf of G-77 and China at this 59th Session of the Working Party on the Strategic Framework and the Programme Budget.

First and foremost let me congratulate those just elected to the Bureau, particularly you, Mr. President. You will certainly enjoy the full support and co-operation of G77 and China. The Group has high confidence in your able leadership.

Let me also express sincere gratitude to the just out-gone members of the Bureau for their excellent work during their tenure.

1. Mr. President, the 59th Session of the Working Party on the strategic framework and the programme budget provides ample opportunity to examine the core of UNCTAD's work through its key pillars and to devise steps towards enhancing the effectiveness of the technical cooperation provided by UNCTAD.

2. The Group fully acknowledges the efforts undertaken by the Secretariat towards this end in 2010 and  welcomes profound insights provided in the documents presented to the Working Party, which by and large, faithfully reflect the spirit of Accra. This is also a good point at which to thank the Deputy Secretary General for his comprehensive and enlightening opening remarks amply paving way for the discussions to follow.

3. Technical cooperation, as the third pillar of UNCTAD activities, is the means by which the work undertaken under the other two pillars is consolidated and concretised so as to benefit member states through actual operations on the ground. Moreover, technical cooperation assists developing countries in addressing key challenges and putting in place viable policies and strategies aimed at taking advantage of the new trade and investment opportunities.

4. Technical assistance is needed in order to more effectively deal with the new challenges that have emerged. They include attaining inclusive, high and sustained economic growth rate with stability underpinned by strong trade recovery and also building some resilience in developing economies. They also include taking advantage of the dynamics of South-South trade, investment and financial flows which move opens new avenues for expanding sources of economic growth and socio-economic development. The continued strive to strengthen multilateralism emerges as a key consideration. This is especially so as pre-eminent symbol of that quest for trade multilateralism, namely the DDA negotiations seems to have lost momentum.  In this context, UNCTAD, that is, the  Secretariat and member States, face the imperative of working harder and even more closely together to support a process of  meaningful trade integration that would generate accelerated economic growth and rapid socio – economic development culminating in human development in all countries.

5. As principal beneficiaries of the technical assistance activities of UNCTAD, Member States of the Group of 77 and China attach great importance to this important part of UNCTAD’s work. The Group values the main principles and goals of UNCTAD technical cooperation as enshrined in the technical cooperation Strategy of UNCTAD and in subsequent decisions adopted by the member States. The Group would like to reaffirm its support to the principles that should be at the core of the technical cooperation policy of UNCTAD which include: demand driven orientation, ownership by developing countries, funding predictability, transparency, efficiency and requisite independence.

6. UNCTAD technical cooperation must, therefore, continue to be demand driven and respond to the needs and priorities of beneficiaries. The Group  hopes that this session of the Working Party will be an opportunity for a proactive debate among all stakeholders and allow both development partners and beneficiaries to review activities based on the requests for assistance and availability of funds. Transparency and coherence in the planning and implementation process of technical cooperation, will be addressed with the view to making it more efficient and to increasing the impact and sustainability of projects' activities. All these are of paramount importance. In this regard, the Group would like to reiterate the main feature of UNCTAD assistance which is to have a close interface between the research and analytical work of the Secretariat on trade and development issues and the design and implementation of operational activities.

7. The Group acknowledges the genuine efforts of the development partners in supporting the technical cooperation programmes of UNCTAD. It has been noted with gratification that in 2010, contributions from development partners slightly increased as compared to 2009.  In this context the Group would like to reiterate the importance attached to sustainability in the support lend by the development partners.

8. The Group of 77 and China, however, notes with concern that despite the road map drawn and adopted in 2009 for the joint work, the contribution of UNDP in funding technical cooperation programmes, for perhaps good reasons that can be explained, has been decreased. In this regard the Group urges UNCTAD Secretariat to further strengthen its collaboration with the UNDP on relevant technical cooperation activities.

9. The Group of 77 and China also underscores the principle that all developing countries should benefit from technical cooperation programmes of the UNCTAD. To that end a balanced and equitable geographical distribution of technical cooperation programmes need to be observed. Although the donors may specify the targets for their assistance, the principles of demand driven orientation, ownership by beneficiaries and over-all balance and equitability should, to the greatest extent possible, be adhered to.   

Mr President, allow me to quickly address a number of areas relating to this Session.

10. Regarding the projects G77 and China has noted that inter-regional projects and programmes continue to be the main form of delivery accounting for about half of total operations. Inter-regional projects, which benefit all developing countries, are an efficient way of increasing cooperation among developing countries and of allocating expertise as well as of disseminating the analytical work of the Secretariat. The Group also notes the slight increase in regional project activities which now account for 14 per cent of total expenditures. The Group very much values this regional approach.  Country projects, the second major form of delivery of UNCTAD technical cooperation, are essential complements to interregional activities and are an effective way to respond to specific needs. All these modes of delivery add value. 

11. The Group notes with concern the decrease in the overall delivery of technical cooperation to LDCs. There was a decrease of about $ 3 million over the previous year. For LDCs that amount is significant. Expenditure decrease for both country and inter-regional projects, with total expenditure reaching $ 13.3 million in 2010 and accounting for 34 per cent of total delivery while it had been 42 per cent in 2009, justifies concern.

12. The Group also notes with particular interest that one of the cluster's aims is to ensure effective interface between the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) and the country-level operations related to trade and productive capacity nurturing, as deemed appropriate. This is to be so in accordance with national needs and demands with a view to injecting more coherence at the conceptual level and to fully integrate trade-related issues into the national policies, strategies and development plans and programmes.

13. G77 and China is somewhat perturbed by the decline of the financing of trade related activities of UNCTAD. The Group strongly urges partners, in their review of assistance programmes, to consider increasing support for UNCTAD trade activities in the years ahead. It should be noted that growth of trade is one of the credible ingredients among options for global real economy recovery and for sustaining its momentum. UNCTAD would then be in a position to strengthen assistance in building economic resilience, competitiveness and structural transformation in developing countries in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, as well as in Latin America and the Caribbean. In particular the Group wishes to highlight a number of areas where commendable work is being undertaken by UNCTAD, and with enhanced partner support. These include:

14. In preparing for UNCTAD XIII, it would be important to brainstorm, among other things, on the form and direction that UNCTAD’s technical and capacity building assistance should take in assisting developing countries to effectively address 21st century trade and development issues. UNCTAD’s technical cooperation pillar must emphasize the qualitative changes expected from trade growth namely, increased employment, food security, energy security, poverty reduction and affordable access to essential services.  Thus the G77 and China calls on all development partners to support trade programmes of UNCTAD with robust, predictable and sustainable funding.

15. G77 and China acknowledges UNCTAD’s assistance in the area of investment. It supports the efforts towards the development of capacity-building programmes stemming from the main conclusions reached in its flagship publication in this area – the World Investment Report. With the recovery from the economic crisis still very fragile and uneven, with the danger of a relapse looming very high, developing countries are in need of technical assistance in the area of investment policies and promotion through capacity-building and the exchange of best practices. Included would be global dialogue on the role of international investment in sustainable development. In this context, G77 and China encourages initiatives such as the UNCTAD World Investment Forum 2012, which will be held parallel to UNCTAD XIII in Doha.

16. Mr. President, many developing countries, particularly LDCs, often lack the technical capacity to collect, compile and analyse FDI data in way that meets set international standards. Most developing countries find the compilation of operational data of TNC affiliates challenging. In this context, the Group acknowledges UNCTAD’s support towards strengthening the capacity of developing countries’ relevant agencies to collect, compile, analyze and disseminate data on FDI and TNC activities, through the implementation of internationally recommended methodological standards. The Group also calls on UNCTAD to continue such technical assistance to achieve harmonization of data on statistics of FDI and activities of the TNCs, both at the country and regional level. This will allow comparative analysis and emergence of viable options in addressing challenges.

17. As countries continue to negotiate international investment agreements (IIAs), including bilateral investment treaties and free trade agreements with investment chapters, the network of IIAs is becoming more complex with more risk of overlapping and conflicting commitments. The G77 and China recognises the need to ensure that the IIA network aims for sustainable development by bringing more coherence to the international investment regime, helping rebalance the rights and obligations of investors and States in newly concluded or re-negotiated investment treaties. In this context, the Group welcomes the technical cooperation and capacity-building activities provided by UNCTAD on issues related to international investment agreements.

18. G77 and China commends UNCTAD for its Investment Policy Reviews programme, which has reached a global spread of least developed, post-conflict and middle-income countries. New issues are emerging for policy-makers dealing with FDI, including how to attract and benefit from FDI in agriculture, how to share in the gains of increased South-South FDI and how to attract green FDI. The G77 and China, highlights the importance of assisting countries to deal with both traditional and emerging issues.

19. G77 and China recognises the importance of the Investment Guides series for the beneficiary countries in helping them reach actual and potential investors about the investment framework and opportunities of their economies. The G77 welcomes the extension of the series with the publication in 2010 of three guides, namely on Benin, Morocco and Lao PDR, as well as the publication of another two guides in 2011 (Comoros and Zambia). It also welcomes the launch of a project on landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) which will allow the production of regional Investment Guides covering a number of LLDCs in Africa and Asia. Members of G77 and China call for the extension of the number of developing countries, particularly the least developed countries (LDCs), covered by these guides, with a view to fostering investment inflows and economic growth in all of them.

20. Mr. President, the issues relating to LDCs are cross cutting. However, in the light of the UN - LDC IV commitments to help LDCs reach the graduation criteria by 2020 (art. 28 of the Istabul Programme of Action) the Group calls on UNCTAD to further strengthen its capacity for timely response to the needs of the LDCs. This is in support of art. 27 of the IPoA "overcome the structural challenges faced by the least developed countries in order to eradicate poverty, achieve internationally agreed development goals and enable graduation from the LDC status". The Group counts on the development partners and donors to support the implementation of such support activities through continued and increased funding of the LDC Trust Fund.

21. The Group of 77 and China also recognize that UNCTAD has become a key partner in the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) initiative as demonstrated by the increasing requests from LDCs for UNCTAD inputs as one of the implementing agencies. In particular, the Group welcomes the support it is making available to the LDCs in the up-dating of their Diagnostic Trade Integration Studies (DTIS) and in the preparation of Trade Development Strategies. The Group encourages UNCTAD to continue with such activities which are in line with the principles of building capacities for policy ownership. In view of this, development partners are invited to lend all necessary support to UNCTAD to enable expeditious and adequate response to these increasing demands.

22. On Science and Technology for Development (CSTD), G77 and China notes the work of an independent evaluation team and commends the team for its thorough and analytical report with constructive recommendations regarding enhancement of effectiveness. The Group also notes the response of the UNCTAD Secretariat to the findings of this report.

23. In this context the group would like to highlight some of the main issues raised by the report:

24.Mr. President, the Group concurs with the report that time allocated to discussion on STI during the Investment, Enterprise and Development Commission is usually inadequate and does not allow thorough discussions and well thought out decisions on follow up to STI themes, and provide limited support to the research and analysis and technical cooperation work of science, technology and innovation and the ICT branch.

25. The Group notes with concern that only 2 percent of UNCTAD technical cooperation budget has been allocated to STD and ICT given the emergent challenges and opportunities of developing countries.

26. The Group further concurs with the report that coordination mechanisms need to be institutionalized in the STI so as to avoid duplication and overlaps with targeted assistance. To this end the Group agrees with the report that coordination and cooperation mechanisms in STI should be strengthened, internally within UNCTAD and with other organizations. Moreover, UNCTAD should ensure that the work of the ST section is well balanced between its mandate as the CSTD Secretariat and other STD activities.

27. On Trade Logistics, the Group welcomes the work on trade logistics in the area of capacity building which is relevant to the effective participation of G77 members in the trade facilitation negotiating process. Trade facilitation is one area of the WTO Doha Development Round in which significant progress has been, and is being, made towards the draft text for a future multilateral WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement.

28. On Knowledge Sharing, Training and Capacity Development, the G77 and China notes the relevance of Key Issues on the International Economic Agenda (also known as p166 courses) for trade policy officials particularly in enhancing their knowledge and skills in trade-related policymaking and the impact on development. The Group appreciates the efforts of the Secretariat in delivering training across the range of issues covered by the organization through its regional courses as well as short courses for Geneva-based diplomats. The Group, however, is concerned that financial constraints may limit the scope of the regional training courses in the future. The Group commends the efforts by the Secretary General to call for proposals for multi-year venues for the regional courses in Africa, transition economies and parts of Asia, and invites the donor community to support Paragraph 166 of the Bangkok Plan of Action in the implementation of its activities.

29. The G77 and China louds the support that the TrainForTrade programme continued to provide to developing countries through its programmes on trade and investment, sustainable tourism for development and port management. The Group appreciates that, since January 2010, TrainForTrade has undertaken face-to-face and distance learning training activities in 45 countries and that train-the-trainer courses were given (including for distance learning) to build local capacities. The Group of 77 and China notes with satisfaction the excellent level of the e-learning platform of TrainForTrade, in particular when supporting countries that face infrastructure challenges. The Group expresses gratitude to the donors that have supported TrainForTrade, and hopes that they will continue funding this important programme.

30. The Group appreciates the efforts of the Secretariat in providing support to universities from the regions represented in UNCTAD and welcomes the role of the Virtual Institute in the promotion of university cooperation through South-South and North-South cooperation in teaching and research between universities.

31. G77 and China wishes to express its continued support to the efforts made by the Secretariat in simplifying the financial structure of UNCTAD technical cooperation. It supports action taken towards the establishment of thematic clusters centred around agreed priorities, but ensuring that no specific technical assistance corresponding to the needs of beneficiaries are lost.

32. Furthermore the Group encourages UNCTAD to continue to strengthen synergies among its three main pillars: research and policy making, technical cooperation and inter-governmental processes. It encourages UNCTAD to support governments in implementing UNCTAD's policy recommendations, as outlined in its various flagship reports through the design and implementation of targeted technical capacity-building projects.

33. Investing in enhancing the effectiveness of UNCTAD is tantamount to contributing towards accelerated global economic recovery and sustainable socio-economic development as well as resultant poverty reduction and human development. Assisting developing economies amounts to boosting global economy as developing countries have become its dynamo. UNCTAD delivers and with fine-tuning it can produce higher quality and more quantity of invaluable work.

34. The Group looks forward to constructive and truly fruitful deliberations in the next three days.

Thank you for your kind attention