Ladies and Gentlemen,
- Let me join others in congratulating Dr. Supachai on his reappointment as Secretary-General for UNCTAD. I would also like to thank H.E. Ambassador Djani and the outgoing Board for their work, and congratulate H.E. Ambassador Feyder for being elected new President of the Trade and Development Board. Many thanks also to the Secretariat for their preparations ahead of this meeting.
- When last year’s TDB opened we expressed appreciation of some positive signs and trends on the road to achieving the Millennium Development Goals; yet on the same day, Lehman Brothers collapsed and the financial crisis unfolded. This set the stage for the last 12 months, and will continue to challenge policy-makers for years ahead.
- The Trade and Development Report 2009 has an in-depth analysis of the financial crisis with many valid points. The parallel study of implications of global warming for development strategies is in Norway’s view very timely.
- (The financial crisis has demonstrated the risks of excessive use of leverage and disclosed weaknesses and gaps in the regulation and supervision of the financial sector. Restoring confidence in the financial system and restoring economic growth in developed countries will be crucial to also boost developing countries’ own growth prospects. The global crisis has vividly brought to light the many inter-linkages between poor and rich countries.)
- Multilateral institutions are playing a key role, not only in providing much needed financing to developing countries but also as arenas where policy options are discussed, and where every country has a voice. Supporting demand through stimulus packages, restoring confidence and strength in the financial system, resisting protectionism, honouring past ODA commitments and reforming the Bretton Woods Institutions are all important elements of the agenda ahead. The strong international focus on tax havens is also a major step forward.
- We strongly believe that the overall response to the current crisis must be seen in the broader context of poverty reduction and climate change. We should use this opportunity to invest in a greener economy, and to ensure that development is ecologically, socially and economically sustainable. This should guide our efforts to reach a new global climate change agreement in Copenhagen in less than two months’ time.
- Whenever a crisis occurs, normally women, children and other vulnerable groups are hardest hit. Continued efforts in the areas of gender equality and women’s economic empowerment, health, education and social safety nets are important; not only on their own merits, but also as contributions to securing a broad based economic recovery in developing countries. We would like to underscore that women play a crucial role in the economic recovery as drivers of change. This must be reflected in policy-making as well as in ODA, including the Aid for Trade agenda.
- In this area, UNCTAD needs to strengthen its engagement. The recent appointment of a focal point for the work on the interlinkages between trade policies and gender is a positive step within the Secretariat, but the reluctance of Member States to lift gender issues on the agenda is less commendable, as demonstrated by the recent decision on the calendar of expert meetings, where trade and gender was omitted.
- The reform processes in the UN System, including UNCTAD, must continue. To implement a broad and coherent development approach, we need a strong UN that delivers as one. We are pleased to note that UNCTAD has contributed positively through its leadership of the Inter-Agency Cluster on Trade and Productive Capacity. We [welcome the SG’s progress report this morning, and] underline the importance of continued follow-up of the recommendations of the Accra Accord from April 2008.
- In closing let me briefly emphasise four key points for Norway:
1. Firstly, global coordinated action must be rooted in multilateral institutions. Our responses to the financial and economic crises, to climate change, and to a broad economic development approach, require an efficient division of labour and strong coherence between international organisations and financing institutions, together with partner countries.
2. Secondly, there is a need for increased fairness and transparency in international trade and in capital movements. Norway strongly supports the resumed work in the Doha Development Round in the WTO, and we commend the increased attention to global illicit cross-border financial flows. Half of this amount is thought to originate in developing countries, which both undermines domestic resources for development, and facilitates corruption.
- Thirdly, ODA is still important. Aid volumes are still lagging behind donor commitments, so we urge countries to scale up their aid delivery and to work towards aid effectiveness in line with the Paris Declaration. Norway aims to keep its contribution to ODA above 1 per cent of our GNI.
- Fourthly, increasing the voice and representation of developing countries in the Bretton Woods institutions still remains to be resolved.
Thank you for your attention.