(Geneva, 2 September 2019)

Ms. Soraya Zanardo (Belgium), Chair of Working Party,
H.E. Mr. Michael Gaffey, President of the Trade and Development Board,
Mrs. Isabelle Durant, Deputy Secretary-General of UNCTAD,
Distinguished delegates,

Madame Chair,

1. At the outset, allow me on behalf of the Group of 77 and China to congratulate you on your election as Chairperson of the 78th session of the Working Party on the Strategic Framework and the Program Budget. The Group is confident that under your leadership this session of the Working Party will achieve its objectives. I would like to assure you of my Group's full support.

2. The Group of 77 and China also expresses its thanks to Deputy Secretary-General Durant for her introductory statement and would like to express our appreciation to the UNCTAD Secretariat for organizing this meeting.

Madame Chair,

3. This statement highlights some specific and general points, and is not intended to comprehensively address the substance before us. The group will make specific comments and suggestions at the appropriate points in our deliberations over the next few days.

4. We would like to recognize the efforts made by the Secretariat to implement and sustain impactful technical cooperation projects. While many areas deserve special mention, we would like to highlight a few examples. For instance, the successful collaboration with other agencies, particularly in the areas of Trade Facilitation and Debt, is worthy of praise. An area the group assigns great importance to in the context of the 4th industrial revolution is innovation, science and technology. The Group considers this area requires more funding, to help developing countries set up a solid base for the formulation of appropriate e trade and digital economy policies. Always with a developmental view.

5. The Group of 77 and China would like to acknowledge the generosity of certain donor countries and developing countries that are able to contribute to UNCTAD's trust funds. UNCTAD's projects provide valuable tools to improve developing countries economic performance with a development perspective. We have witnessed an increase in contributions from 2017 to 2018, mainly thanks to developing countries and economies in transition. It is nevertheless our duty to invite, once more, all member States to evaluate their commitment to maintain the technical cooperation pillar functioning properly. In particular, we urge developed countries who are not contributing to UNCTAD´s trust funds to do so. Funding unpredictability has a negative impact on UNCTAD, its delivery of technical cooperation and its effectiveness.

6. The trust in UNCTAD's technical cooperation capacity demonstrated by developing countries should be understood as a recognition of its efficiency and commitment to deliver sound outcomes.

7. The Group of G77 and China would like to insist once more in its interest to understand better the measures taken by the Secretariat to adapt to the United Nations development pillar reform, to ensure that UNCTAD's resources and capacities are fully recognized and effectively integrated into the reformed system.

8. We have previously requested the Secretariat to organize a briefing session on the subject, bearing in mind that this may turn to be a relevant element in the conversations before and during the forthcoming UNCTAD XV. The Group of 77 and China is aware of the challenges this reform can pose to the organization, particularly due to the need to keep balance among its own core pillars: Technical Cooperation, Research and Analysis and Consensus building.

9. We understand that under the current wave of change in the UN system, UNCTAD technical cooperation should be devised in the framework of the UN developing pillar reform. The Group of 77 and China is eager to know more about the strategies set up by the Secretariat in this regard. The Group would like to reiterate that evaluation function should serve as a means to improve the delivery of the results agreed by all member States and not as a tool to enforce individual priorities of groups or countries.

10. The Group of 77 and China would like to reiterate the need for political commitment with the organization, not only from us Members States, but from the Secretariat. We would like to recall our request that UNCTAD's New York office strengthen its efforts to guarantee the visibility of this organization and its strengths.

11. The Group of 77 and China would like to request the Secretariat ensure its staff are informed of the organization's activities across all its areas of work. We perceive a need for improved horizontal dialogue in the organization, which in our opinion affects UNCTAD's efficiency and prevents an optimal use of its invaluable human capital. The Group of 77 and China does not call for a unified voice or message, on the contrary, a fruitful exchange of ideas.

12. Finally, the Group of 77 and China would like to invite delegations interested in management and administrative issues to make use of this space to present their views and arguments to the members. The Working Party is the appropriate forum for this, in contrast to other substantive bodies of UNCTAD's intergovernmental machinery.

Thank you, Madame Chair.