GROUP OF 77
STATEMENT BY CHAIRMAN OF THE G77 AND CHINA, GENEVA, H.E. AMBASSADOR DELMER URBIZO (HONDURAS): WORKING PARTY ON THE MEDIUM TERM PLAN AND THE PROGRAMME BUDGET 49TH SESSION (TECHNICAL COOPERATION) (GENEVA, OPENING SESSION - 10 SEPTEMBER 2007)
- The Group of 77 and China would like to reiterate the importance of technical assistance as one of the main pillars of UNCTAD's work and its unique nature and value due in particular to its close interrelation with the research and analytical work of the Organisation. As principal beneficiaries of the technical assistance activities of UNCTAD, the Group of 77 and China would like to emphasize the importance the Group attaches to the main characteristics of UNCTAD technical cooperation activities as enshrined in the Technical Cooperation Strategy of UNCTAD adopted by member States.
- In this regard, the Group would like to reiterate, in particular, the main feature of UNCTAD assistance to developing countries: the close interface between, on the one hand, the research and analytical work done by the secretariat on trade and development issues, and on the other hand the design and the implementation of the UNCTAD operations. The link between UNCTAD technical cooperation and the outcomes of the intergovernmental machinery provides another crucial input to the assistance given to policy-makers, negotiators, and academics of beneficiary countries. It is worth reminding that these features determine the special nature of UNCTAD technical cooperation. The value and the impact of the UNCTAD technical cooperation have to be assessed in light of these specificities. In addition to the above, the Group would like to confirm again its support to all the goals and principles that should be at the core of the UNCTAD technical cooperation policy, i.e.: demand driven orientation, ownership of developing countries, predictability of funding, transparency, efficiency and independence.
- We note with satisfaction that notwithstanding a contraction of 16 per cent in total contributions to trust funds, the overall expenditures on technical cooperation increased by 16 per cent in 2006. We are grateful to donor countries for their continued support to UNCTAD technical cooperation activities .We wish UNCTAD technical cooperation can continue to expand in terms of its thematic coverage and from the point of view of the geographical coverage.
- Regarding the geographical distribution of UNCTAD assistance by regions, we note with great satisfaction that in 2006 there was an increase in absolute terms of expenditures in all regions. However, imbalances in the overall allocation of resources among developing regions have to be addressed. We also note that about half of total operations continue to be implemented through thematic interregional projects that benefit all developing countries and that are the mirror of the expertise and analytical work of the secretariat. Interregional projects and programmes are an efficient way to facilitate the exchange of experiences and South-South cooperation among developing countries, while country-specific operations, as well as regional and subregional operations, should complement and enhance the impact of interregional activities by country-specific assistance. All these modalities are equally important in the configuration of UNCTAD technical cooperation: each one of them is best suited to address some needs.
- We are also pleased to note that the overall delivery of technical cooperation to LDCs has increased from $ 11, 3 million in 2005 to reach $12.8 million in 2006. We also note that the scope of UNCTAD assistance to the LDCs continues to widen and is now encompassing all the topics that are included in the UNCTAD work programme. It is also important to identify and to address, in all the interregional and regional operations of UNCTAD, the specific needs of LDCs, so that the effectiveness of these operations can be maximised. The consultations between LDCs, the donors' community and the UNCTAD secretariat should be enhanced in view of adapting the delivery of UNCTAD assistance to the needs of these countries. We note, in this regard, the increasing role of UNCTAD in the context of the Integrated Framework. We hope that this trend will continue and that donors will increase their support to UNCTAD substantive inputs in the Enhanced Integrated Framework.
- We encourage UNCTAD to continue enhancing the inputs derived from its own research work, and secondly, to intensify the utilization of human resources and expertise of the developing countries themselves..
- The Group of 77 and China has had the opportunity to stress the importance it attaches to efforts undertaken to ensure more coherence and coordination in the delivery of UNCTAD operations. The current structure of extra budgetary resources leads to fragmentation of funding and a proliferation of small operations. This fragmentation was correctly pointed out by the Eminent Persons' Report as a serious weakness in UNCTAD technical cooperation. The Group feels that this Working Party should examine the proposals included in Part III of document TDBWP195 on this issue. The proposal to establish a number of thematic trust funds corresponding to the main areas of the UNCTAD work programme should be pursued as one way to address the problems associated with fragmentation and unpredictability of resources. The clustering around main themes would also ensure that the assistance is delivered, in a balanced and appropriate fashion, in all the areas of UNCTAD mandates and expertise. This should also have an impact on streamlining the financial management and reporting with a view to increasing efficiency and coherence and reduce administrative burden.(to this effect) The secretariat should be encouraged to implement Recommendation 19 of the Panel of Eminent persons
- On the question of the UN system wide coherence, the Group of 77 and China shares the secretariat's concerns on the need for coherence at the conceptual level and the need to fully integrate economic and trade-related issues in national development plans. Given the various obstacles faced by UNCTAD in the UN reform process, the Group notes with interest the practical initiatives that the secretariat intends to put forward in order to help solve these obstacles and appreciate UNCTAD’s efforts to play a more proactive role to be present at the country level. The Group of 77 and China, and in particular the "One UN" pilot countries, stand ready to further discuss these issues in view of identifying practical ways that would support an effective participation of UNCTAD in this UN-wide reform process.
- Regarding the new UN-wide initiatives at the country level aiming at establishing system-wide programmes and budgetary frameworks, we look forward to continue receiving more information on UNCTAD role in the forthcoming months.
Item 4 Evaluation
On agenda item 4, we would like to thank the independent evaluation team for its report on the advisory services on investment provided by UNCTAD.
The evaluation process that takes place at the Working Party has been providing member States with a very useful tool to review and improve UNCTAD’s programmes. It has been proven that this process not only enhances the programmes’ accountability to the donor agencies but also, more importantly, ensures the usefulness of these programmes to the beneficiary countries, most of which belong to the Group of 77 and China. We therefore appreciate and support this evaluation process, and look forward to a fruitful discussion on the recommendations contained therein.