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UN trade arm chief calls inclusive development a ‘moral and political’ necessity

UN trade arm chief calls inclusive development a ‘moral and political’ necessity

The head of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) characterized inclusive development – which allows developing countries to reap gains from globalization – as a “crucial moral and political imperative.”

UNCTAD Secretary-General Supachai Panitchpakdi told participants yesterday on the first day of the 54th session of the agency’s governing board that “we must urgently find ways to ensure that even the poorest see tangible benefits from globalization, and that truly all countries are included in this momentum.”

Although developing countries’ share of exports globally has grown, inward foreign direct investment to them has doubled and their outward investment has tripled, he warned that poverty is still an impediment to prosperity.

“Many of the world’s poorest countries continue to be left out of growth,” with poverty persisting even in middle-income nations and in the transition economies of Central and Eastern Europe, Mr. Supachai told the Geneva gathering.

Asian-led economic progress in the South must be studied to increase its inclusiveness, he noted, and the reliance on the export of small numbers of commodities or raw materials by many least developed countries (LDCs) must be transformed into broader economic progress.

The session, which will end on 11 October, aims to build momentum for the upcoming UNCTAD XII conference, to convene in April 2008 in Accra, Ghana.

This morning, UNCTAD’s governing body appointed a Preparatory Committee for UNCTAD XII, comprising the organization’s 151 Member States.

Over the next six months, the Committee will endeavour to address pressing issues and promote economic inclusiveness worldwide. “UNCTAD’s next four years are in your hands,” Mr. Supachai told the newly-formed body, adding “there is no reason not to be ambitious in our goals.”