Developing nations need room for policy flexibility, says UN economic body

11 October 2006

The world’s poorer countries must be allowed room for policy manoeuvre as they try to improve their economic performance, the United Nations agency that seeks to integrate developing nations into the global economy said today as it reviewed its work over the past two years.

The official mid-term review of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), which followed a week-long meeting in Geneva, concluded that it is up to each government to evaluate the trade-off between development goals and the rules and commitments contained in international trade and financial agreements.

“It is particularly important for developing countries, bearing in mind development goals and objectives, that all countries take into account the need for appropriate balance between national policy space and international disciplines and commitments,” the review stated.

The review also called for a “development-focused outcome” to the current Doha round of global trade negotiations, which stalled earlier this year, emphasizing the importance of poverty eradication and development gains.

Member States urged UNCTAD to assume a greater role in promoting the Aid for Trade initiative, which aims at help poorer countries take advantage of export opportunities.

The mid-term review examined the work achieved since a major UNCTAD conference was held in São Paulo, Brazil, in 2004.


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