(Geneva, 21 November 2022)

Chair of the 13th Session of the Commission on Trade and Development, Ambassador Usha Dwarka-Canabady of Mauritius,
Secretary-General of UNCTAD, Ms. Rebeca Grynspan,
Distinguished delegates,
Ladies and gentlemen,

1. The Group of 77 and China would like to start by congratulating you, Madam Chair, on your election to preside over this 13th Session of the Commission on Trade and Development, as well as the Rapporteur Mr. Özbek of Turkiye, and Vice-Chairs Ambassador Macdonal of Bolivia, Mr. Suon of Cambodia, and Mr. Chakraborty of Bangladesh, for their election as part of the bureau of this meeting. We trust that under your leadership, we will reach a successful conclusion to this meeting.
Madam Chair,
2. As we did last week during the Investment, Enterprise and Development Commission, our Group would like to recall that the Bridgetown Covenant reiterated the mandate of the two UNCTAD Commissions. The 13th sessions of both commissions are taking place for the first time since UNCTAD 15 and we thus hope to continue to work together with other regional groups and with the Secretariat to ensure that we can count on the commissions' contribution to a revitalized intergovernmental machinery and a revitalized UNCTAD.

3. We would like to turn first to the aspects of this meeting related to trade policies and in particular to the agenda item 6 entitled The role of trade in a development-led global energy transition.

Madam Chair,

4. The world has witnesses unprecedented weather and climate extremes in 2022, which should serve as a timely reminder of the devastating impacts of climate change, including extensive and costly damage, and thus calling our urgent attention and actions.

5. On the energy transition, as with many other issues, it is critically important to ensure a holistic approach be adopted to address the growing insurmountable challenge of our time of climate change. In our humble view, G77 and China believe that in order to curb this challenge, we need a cooperative approach while understanding that no country on the planet will remain safe should we allow complacency to prevail. However, while advancing solutions based on sectoral dimensions such as trade, extractive industry, agriculture and transportation, it should be done cautiously to avoid exacerbating unnecessary distortion and displacement through restrictive measures and thus causing pain to many people particularly in developing countries which may trigger resistance instead of collaboration. Trade policy at the national, regional, and international levels can help accelerate the energy at this difficult journey while following the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities principle as a holistic approach to pave the way in this journey.

6. At bilateral and regional level, trade agreements can be an effective option for enhancing bilateral and region-wide production of renewable energy and associated products and services. Beyond tariff elimination, regional trade agreements can also help enhance regulatory harmonization and cooperation concerning the production and supply of renewable energy within a region.

7. Our Group also believes that policymaking at the global level contributes to the energy transition in a just, fair, and development-friendly manner in line with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities.

8. More importantly, we need to keep in mind that the energy transition presents both development challenges and opportunities for developing countries. Developing countries with economies dependent on fossil fuel-dependent and countries with strategic minerals will be adversely impacted but all developing countries will be impacted.

9. Our Group therefore believes that it is the duty of the international community to ensure that the renewable energy transition becomes an economically attractive prospect for developing countries. In this context, technology transfer, capacity building and access to finance are crucial and prerequisite for the journey, as are supportive trade systems and targeted policy measures. As a result, developing countries should be able to forge a development-led energy transition pathway in favour of inclusive and sustainable development, as opposed to the dependency-led transition that we currently face.

10. Yet even within developing countries there will be an uneven impact. For instance for developing countries under imposed unilateral sanctions, illegal and against the UN Charter and international law, this energy transition makes the situation more exacerbated. On MSMEs also, given the limited financial support and access to credit they face, as well as the limited economies of scale they can generate, thus limiting their ability to meet requirements by foreign buyers. Digital platforms, industrial zone initiatives or other scale-enhancing support measures are some of the possibilities in this respect.

11. Yet the impact is not only varied for MSMEs as compared to the rest of the private sector, but also between men and women. In developing countries, the lack of access to energy is one of the obstacles to women's and girls' education, well-being, and economic opportunities.

12. One of the elements in ensuring a fair transition is to promote competition in a monopolistic or oligopolistic clean energy sector and to protect consumers from abuses by large companies. It is also necessary to promote a policy of transparency in consumer access to clean energy.

13. Our Group would like to turn now to the trade logistics and trade facilitation-related aspects of this Commission, and particularly the agenda item 7 on The geography of trade and supply chain reconfiguration: Implications for trade, global value chains and maritime transport.

Madam Chair,

14. The world is in the middle of a perfect storm, amidst cascading crises, and this perfect storm has an important multisectoral dimension including trade. The disruption of production, maritime transport and consequently trade, have shown the need for resilient and sustainable global supply chains. On top of this, climate change and the impending energy transition, including in international transport, may result in further trade disruptions.

15. Hence there is a need for policy responses that ensure timely delivery within global supply chains, and affordable energy for all. Achieving the global energy transition, by shifting from the use of fossil fuels to the use of renewable sources, is more urgent than ever to ensure the supply of clean, affordable, and reliable energy.

16. The fragility of the system was made evident by the disruption caused by the pandemic and the associated global logistics crisis that affected shipping connectivity. Fragilities involving pandemic-induced disruptions continue with the interrelated crises, further compounding underlying uncertainties and challenges, including on adaptation disaster risk reduction, risk management, and resilience building. In some cases, legal consequences and claims have arisen from disruptions, causing costly dispute resolution and giving rise to complex jurisdictional issues.

17. The main takeaway should be that major scaling up of investment and capacity building for developing countries is needed, and with estimated adaptation costs in developing countries of five to ten times more than current public adaptation finance flows, significant acceleration of efforts will be required. As UNCTAD has recently highlighted in a Policy Brief, adequate and affordable infrastructure adaptation finance, including in the form of grants, rather than loans, will be key for the sustainable development prospects of vulnerable developing countries.

18. The implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement and regional trade facilitation agreements such as the African Continental Free Trade Agreement have the potential to boost cross border trade for developing countries. Yet, trade facilitation reforms are more difficult to achieve for developing countries and, particularly for LDCs. Our Group therefore counts on the support of development partners to developing countries in this area, including through upscaling the valuable support we receive from UNCTAD on trade facilitation.

19. In this context, our Group would like to appreciate the role of the ASYCUDA system to trade facilitation, with 82 members of our Group currently using the system; and many other countries supported by UNCTAD through single window projects, regional transit corridors and many other related initiatives that have yielded very tangible benefits to our members. We should also take a moment to express our appreciation for the contribution to development of UNCTAD's Review of Maritime Transport and of the port management, among other initiatives under the TrainForTrade programme.

20. To conclude, our Group would like to express its appreciation for the work of UNCTAD through its subprogrammes on international trade and development and on technology and logistics and to encourage them to continue supporting developing countries in building a more prosperous, fair and sustainable world.

I thank you, Madam Chair.