(Geneva, 21 November 2011)

Thank you Mr. Chairman.

1. Allow me at the outset to assure you of our full support as we work towards the successful conclusion of our work. Allow me also to thank the secretariat for the preparations for this meeting.

2. The Group of 77 and China recognizes that the draft before us reflects the mandates and priorities under the Accra Accord, and that a certain degree of adjustment would be necessary after UNCTAD XIII to reflect our consensus in Doha.

3. In this opening statement we will highlight certain matters of special interest and focus for the Group. We will of course engage fully and make additional points during the course of the Working Party.

Mr. Chairman,

4. An important aspect of UNCTAD's work is to help to build consensus and to provide intellectual input to the work of member states. This is an important contribution by UNCTAD to the consensus-building dialogue. Where there is no consensus, however, UNCTAD can of course contribute ideas without prejudging intergovernmental agreements. It is with some concern therefore that we noted that paragraph 8 talks about the "…transition to a Green Economy."

5. It should be noted that the concept of the "Green Economy" remains under serious discussion. There is therefore as yet no basis upon which to base work on transitioning to structures and models which are under active deliberation by member states. In order not to prejudge the outcome of Rio plus 20, the references in the document to Green Economy should therefore be deleted.

6. Related to the issue of UNCTAD's contribution to the integrated follow-up and implementation of major UN conferences and summits on development, we would appreciate clarification from the secretariat that, without prejudice to the outcomes of UNCTAD XIII, there will be sufficient margin and flexibility to ensure that UNCTAD will be able to continue its mandated work.

7. With regard to the indicators of achievement, the Group believes that meaningful indicators are important to measure the progress made towards UNCTAD's objectives. We support the retention of the current set of performance indicators as continuity will allow us to better measure and track progress across various biennia.

8. We place emphasis on those indicators of achievement which are based on the contributions of member states, either in written responses to surveys or in terms of the content of statements made in the various meetings in UNCTAD. These indicate the utility and relevance of the meetings in which those comments were made.

9. They also serve as a broader indicator of the level and degree of engagement of member states in the work of UNCTAD. Conversely, we emphasize the importance of the secretariat also engaging, especially at the highest levels, with member states. This is particularly important in processes of the highest importance for the organization.

10. We also would like to emphasize that for member states to engage fully with UNCTAD, the secretariat should provide documentation in a timely and relevant manner. We note the disturbing regularity of late documentation, including important documents such as the SG report for UNCTAD XIII, the LDC report, and the documentation for this session of the Working Party. This must be remedied in the next biennium.

11. In terms of the specific work of UNCTAD, it is of the utmost importance that work on behalf of all developing countries be strengthened, especially those groups of countries with unique and specific needs and challenges. UNCTAD is for all developing countries, yet just as there is no one-size fits all solution to the various development challenges, so must there be a more tailored approach to the individual needs of developing countries.

12. An important step in this direction is with regard to greater clarity on specific activities envisioned to address the needs of small and vulnerable economies. This question is not intended to particularize developing countries. Rather, it is in the spirit of getting a clear and unambiguous answer from the secretariat in order to give comfort that the other groups of countries will receive their due and proper attention. We recall that the explanation at the last session of the Working party was less than satisfying.

13. In closing we would like to request the secretariat to provide concrete information on the actual resources available to the secretariat, as well as those being sought. In clear terms, we would like to see concrete figures in terms of how much is being requested, and how it is proposed that these resources will be allocated to the divisions.

14. Allow me to make clear that we are not impinging on the prerogatives of the Fifth Committee. Rather, since the Working party is discussing priorities, it is important that we see whether these are clearly reflected in the proposal from the Secretary General of UNCTAD. Since the UN Secretary General has asked members of the UN family to do more with less, and in heeding the call from member states for more accountability and transparency, it would seem odd for the UNCTAD secretariat not to provide member states with a clear document, even on an informal basis, on its spending plans and priorities.

Thank you Mr. Chairman.