On behalf of the government and the people of the State of Qatar, I would like to welcome you to the web site of the High-level Forum on Trade and Investment to be held in Doha from 5 to 6 December 2004 with the support of UNCTAD and UNDP.
The High-level Forum on Trade and Investment is intended to deepen further South-South cooperation by focussing on key areas of interest to developing countries, especially investment and strengthening the capacity of developing countries in the field of trade. Following the decisions of the Havana Summit and the preparations for the 2005 Second South Summit, the Doha Forum will address new and unexplored South-South cooperation issues and come up with innovative and concrete, action-oriented, recommendations on South-South cooperation in the areas of trade and investment.
The High-level Forum would also help bringing together different stakeholders on major projects and initiatives in the area of trade and investment that could be followed up on bilateral, regional and interregional basis. The Forum should ensure that actions arising from Doha would have real impact on South-South cooperation in the areas of trade and investment and make such cooperation effective and sustainable.
The growing importance of South-South cooperation, recently stressed both in the G-77 Special Ministerial Meeting commemorating its 40th anniversary and UNCTAD XI (June 2004, São Paulo), as well as the practical contribution the Forum can make to the 2005 South Summit, imply a high-level political and policy participation. A high-level segment is therefore conceived to address under the overarching theme of "The new geography of international trade: the South-South dimension", various topical issues of interest to developing countries taking into account developments in the world economy.
The Forum is expected to result in a set of concrete proposals on South-South cooperation in trade and investment, which interested developing countries may wish to implement at the bilateral, regional and interregional levels with the support of the UN system. The outcome of the High Level Forum would also be expected to provide a bridge for the preparations of the Second South Summit to be held in 2005.
Once again, welcome and I look forward to seeing all of you in Doha.
Ambassador Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser
Permanent Representative of the State of Qatar
to the United Nations
Chairman of the Group of 77