(Geneva, 12 September 2011)

Mr. President, Brother and Friend, H.E. Mr. Anthony Mothae Maruping (Kingdom of Lesotho)
Our Distinguished Secretary-General of UNCTAD,
Excellencies, Distinguished Colleagues,

  1. At the outset, allow me to congratulate you on your election a well as to assure you and the members of the Bureau of our full support as we work together towards the successful conclusion of our work.  Allow me also to express our particular satisfaction with your election.  Over the past year, you have not only helped to articulate and advance the cause of development and the needs and priorities of developing countries, but did so in a manner which sought to forge consensus and cooperation among all groups.  We believe that this constructive and inclusive approach will serve us well in the important months ahead.
  1. Allow me also to express our profound appreciation and congratulations to your predecessor, Ambassador Luis Manuel Piantini, for the exemplary and able way which he presided over the Board, especially the difficult first steps towards Doha.  His patience, wisdom, and good humor, helped to foster the excellent atmosphere which now prevails in UNCTAD’s intergovernmental machinery, and which allowed us to arrive at a good and meaningful consensus on important matters such as the Accra Accord implementation review, the consultations on the theme and sub-themes of the Conference, as well as our collective contributions towards LDC IV.  These tangible accomplishments have set the stage for what we hope will be an exemplary UNCTAD XIII.
  1. And to our distinguished and eloquent Secretary-General, Dr Supachai, we thank you for your inspiring opening statement which has given us an overview of the key issues before the TDB. We thank you for your hard work, vision and untiring commitment to the work of our organization. 

Mr. President.

  1. We have a comprehensive agenda before us.  The total impact of our work will contribute to advancing consensus on key issues here in UNCTAD, and will enrich the deliberations in New York.  Our discussions at this regular session of the Board will also serve to inform the preparations for UNCTAD XIII and, indeed, we will launch the Prepcom as one of our agenda items. 
  1. Allow me therefore, Mr. President, to express on behalf of the Group of 77 and China our commitment to a constructive, positive, and pragmatic preparatory process.  We are gratified that the atmosphere prevailing is an excellent one, and most conducive to the success of our work.  Yet we cannot take it for granted, and we must continue to exert all efforts to strengthen this positive spirit.
  1. We look forward to a full and open discussion of the various issues under consideration, and we look forward to continued amicable discussion and cooperation with our developed partners to arrive at agreed conclusions that will capture the existing consensus, and also serve to advance it.
  1. In this regard, we are interested in several broad areas for consensus building. 
  1. First, we seek to strengthen global discussion on development to ensure that models and approaches to development are anchored on reality and hard-earned experience over the past few years – and thus enhance the development prospects for developing countries.  UNCTAD XIII is an important step in this regard, and 2015 presents an important opportunity for the global community to redefine development.
  1. We also seek to build consensus on putting in place an international economic system that meets the needs and aspirations of all of humanity, especially developing countries.  The recent crisis has affected us all, most of all developing countries.  It is in our mutual and common interest to rebuild the international economic architecture to ensure that our future is secure, and that we can all look with confidence to a brighter and more prosperous future.  We see this task as being accomplished through committed multilateralism, with the UN at its center and with UNCTAD playing its mandated and important role.
  1. We also seek to build consensus on strengthening the role of the State.   We have seen through the crisis the dangers of unfettered greed and unregulated markets.  Let me stress that the Group of 77 and China sees regulation not as a means of impeding business or inhibiting the private sector.  Rather, regulation must be about minimizing externalities and market failures, and establishing an enabling environment for the business sector to prosper and play its important role in generating wealth and sustainable development.
  1. We also seek to advance consensus, especially at this difficult time, to strengthen capacity building for developing countries, so that all can benefit from a more vibrant and prosperous global economy.  For developing countries, productive capacity has to be strengthened, capacity to participate in international economic decision-making has to be enhanced, and the State has to be fully empowered to use all available policy space and policy instruments to be an enabler of development.

Mr. President.

  1. We therefore look forward to the deliberations in the High-Level segment as it helps to add ideas on how to strengthen the global economic system, by taming finance and regulating those areas which merit greater attention.  The topic is both timely and important and we intend to fully participate in the interactive dialogue. The volatility of the financial sector, combined with the other systemic weaknesses and imperfections, combined to bring about the worst economic crisis of our time.  These various shocks have adversely affected the global economy, and the development prospects of developing countries.  In this Globalized world, appropriate global governance and continued G-20 efforts to promote international economic cooperation are important and require dialogue especially in terms of the global monetary and financial system.
  1. The crises had a profound impact on developed and developing countries which underscored that we have a common interest to re-shape the international economic architecture, and to ensure sustained and sustainable development for all people.  We are all in the same boat.  But some of us are closer to the water line than others. 
  1. We expect that the discussions this afternoon will generate important ideas that we can reflect upon, and find a basis for consensus that will enrich related discussions in other forums, particularly with regard to taming the financial system.
  1. Mr. President, allow me to briefly address the items on the agenda of this TDB:

Agenda item 4: Interdependence

Mr. President.

  1. The discussions under agenda item 4 will help us address issues pertaining to systemic coherence, and how to pragmatically harness the role of entities such as UNCTAD to ensure that the increasing interdependence prevalent in the global economy can be made to work better for development.
  1. We concur with the secretariat’s observation that some developing countries have recovered relatively quickly from the initial effects of the crisis.  Nevertheless, the underlying causes for the global economic and financial crisis have not been addressed, and developing countries remain as vulnerable as ever, as indeed does the broader global community.  It is disappointing that despite positive momentum early in the crisis to address fundamental systemic issues, we seem to risk lapsing once again into business as usual.
  1. The crisis has – or should have – taught us that business as usual no longer works.   Indeed the lessons of the crisis clearly point to the importance of addressing the root causes of the crisis through multilateralism, and the continuing need for collective action for problems of global scope and impact.  We emphasize, therefore, the central role of the United Nations in strengthening the international economic architecture and the important role that UNCTAD must play in this regard.

Agenda item 5: Implementation of the outcome of LDC IV

Mr. President.

  1. The scope and ambition of LDC IV have underscored the need for new approaches to development. As we discuss how UNCTAD can best contribute to accelerate the development of LDCs, with a view of increasing significantly the number of countries which graduate from the category, we must examine not only how to minimize poverty but also how to generate wealth and prosperity.
  1. Indeed, previous approaches focused largely on MDG implementation, which meant addressing social development challenges.  The effect therefore was an approach that sought to minimize poverty.  An approach which places at the center economic development and economic empowerment, and hence the generation of wealth and development, may better serve our objectives.
  1. In this regard, it is important to consider how UNCTAD XIII can help to maximize synergies in the implementation of the broader development agenda, including working towards 2015.

Agenda item 6: Economic development in Africa

Mr. President.

  1. Our discussions on Africa will once again highlight the importance of domestic resource mobilization, regional integration and South-South cooperation in accelerating structural transformation and economic diversification in Africa. In our deliberations, we must examine how best to accomplish this, and how to strengthen the role of the State in order for African governments to best catalyze development, and enable the business sector to play its important role in development.
  1. We likewise look with great interest at exchanging ideas on how to help Africa, and indeed the broader international community, more fully benefit from inter-regional cooperation with Africa. 
  1. We also look with interest in this regard with related ideas presented by the secretariat under other agenda items, such as the importance of strengthening the agricultural sector as a means of generating trade and enhancing food security.  We would also be interested in applying some of the ideas presented in the investment for development agenda item, including how to best address the area of non-equity modes of production in order to ensure that the development impact of investment in Africa can be maximized. 

Agenda item 7: Evolution of the international trading system

Mr. President.

  1. Two broad areas under this agenda item present great potential for discussion at this session of the Board.  The first is how to preserve and strengthen multilateralism in global trade, especially catalyzing and accelerating progress towards the successful conclusion of the Doha Round, and the full delivery of it development promise.  This is the only way we can guarantee the long-term legitimacy and sustainability of global trade, and hence ensure that trade will truly be an engine for development.
  1. The other area is with regard to identifying new approaches, and new areas, for trade, and identifying and pursuing more effective approaches to new and emerging issues to ensure that the international trading system contributes to job creation, greater productive capacities and development.
  1. We are therefore interested in revisiting the role of agriculture and industrial policy as tools for development.  At this session, we would like to focus on agriculture-based development, which we believe is critical for growth, poverty reduction, job creation and food security.

Agenda item 8: Development strategies in a globalized world

Mr. President.

  1. Agenda item 8 gives us an opportunity to examine ideas for development strategies that can be pursued to most effectively achieve development objectives in today’s increasingly more integrated and globalized world.  One area for discussion at this session is the space which fiscal policies can be best targeted to meet development objectives. 
  1. Recent experience has shown that even developed countries face the problem of shrinking policy space – especially shrinking fiscal policy space.  This diminishment has implications beyond the economic arena.  For example, reducing the scope for targeted spending, especially in social safety nets, can bring about social and political instability that can stimulate further instability and volatility.  Policy space is therefore – perhaps now more than ever – an important consideration for all countries.
  1. As we reflect on the future of the international economic system and the need for new approaches to promote sustained and inclusive development, policy space and how to maximize it while honoring international commitments and maintaining systemic stability and predictability, are of paramount importance.
  1. Other elements that we will therefore have to include in our reflections include the broader role of the State, as well as the underlying elements in contemporary development thinking.  

Agenda item 9: Investment for development

Mr. President.

  1. Investment is a critical area, and one of fundamental importance, for developing countries.  By definition, developing countries lack the domestic capacity to fully drive their own growth towards prosperity.  This resource gap can be partly addressed through investment.
  1. Creating an enabling climate for attracting and retaining investment is therefore an important task for national governments, their investment promotion agencies and development partners. We look forward to a discussion on new and emerging issues in investment, as well as with regard to strengthening domestic productive capacities and entrepreneurial development that will strengthen the entrepreneurial base, create attractive partners for transnational corporations and strengthen the negotiation position of domestic players.
  1. We also look towards strengthening the capacity of developing countries to fully harness technology and innovation for development, and the role that investment can play in this regard.

Agenda item 10: Follow-up to major conferences

Mr. President.

  1. We are pleased to note that the time since Accra has been fruitful and productive with regard to UNCTAD’s contribution to the follow-up and implementation of major UN summits and conferences and development, as well as in the preparation of major UN conferences.
  1. We wish to see this trend continue.  We believe that the informal discussions, and the resulting intellectual inputs to the various process and events, represent an important form of consensus building and provide useful ideas to advance global consensus on key issues.  The fact that these inputs were not negotiated underscore the  useful role that capturing consensus can play, which in turn can evolve into a negotiated consensus.
  1. We therefore look forward to continuing our consensus building work in order to contribute useful ideas to other processes.  Various processes, including Rio plus 20, can benefit from this approach.  We also look forward to UNCTAD making an impact on the road towards 2015, and UNCTAD XIII can be an important step in this direction.

Agenda item 11a: Technical cooperation activities

Mr. President.

  1. We continue to express our general satisfaction with the technical cooperation activities of UNCTAD.  We wish to echo, however, our continued concern with the lack of progress in implementing paragraph 212 of the Accra Accord, and we look forward to further clarifications on this matter at this session of the Board.

Agenda item 11b: Report on UNCTAD assistance to the Palestinian People

  1. With regard to UNCTAD’s work on assistance to the Palestinian people, we continue to express concern with the conditions that have inhibited the full development of the Palestinian economy.  This has not only undermined the development of the Palestinian economy, but has also served to deprive Palestine’s economic partners untold economic opportunities.
  1. We also look forward to agreed conclusions with regard to the independent evaluation of the Assistance to the Palestinian People Program.
  1. Mr. President, you can count on the support of the Group of 77 and China and I once again congratulate you and the rest of the Bureau on your appointment. Lastly, we look forward to full and open discussions that will result in agreed conclusions at the end of this TDB.

Thank you Mr. President.