The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) was established in 1964. It is an intergovernmental body of the United Nations Generally Assembly for promoting the development-friendly integration of developing countries into the world economy.
Functions of UNCTAD
• It functions as a forum for intergovernmental deliberations, supported by discussions with experts and exchanges of experience, aimed at consensus building.
• It undertakes research, policy analysis and data collection for the debates of government representatives and experts.
• It provides technical assistance tailored to the specific requirements of developing countries, with special attention to the needs of the least developed countries and of economies in transition. When appropriate, UNCTAD cooperates with other organizations and donor countries in the delivery of technical assistance.
Working domain of UNCTAD
UNCTAD conducts ahead-of-the-curve research and analysis on both long-standing and emerging development issues. It builds consensus around efforts to promote national and international policies and strategies conducive to development, and supports countries in implementing their development strategies, helping them to overcome the challenges of globalization and seize the opportunities from it. The specific areas of working are discussed below.
Africa, Least Developed Countries and Special Programmes: It aims to increase understanding of the development problems of Africa and the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), as well as countries with specific geographical impediments, notably Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
Globalization, Interdependence and Development: Through its programme on Globalization and Development Strategies, UNCTAD contributes to the international debate on globalization and the management of its consequences for developing countries. It also provides technical support to developing countries in their efforts to integrate into the international financial system and to manage their external debt.
International Trade and Commodities: The overall objective of the programme is to promote inclusive and sustainable development through international trade. It offers analysis and advice and seeks to build consensus, strengthen capacity and promote partnerships for trade policy, trade negotiations, trade in goods and services, competition law and consumer protection, and managing issues arising at the intersection of trade, the environment and climate change.
Investment and Enterprise: The Division is recognized as a global centre of excellence on issues related to investment and enterprise for sustainable development. Built on several decades of successful experience, their staffs provide international expertise in research and policy analysis, inter-governmental consensus-building and technical assistance to over 150 countries.
Technology and Trade Logistics: Their aim is to enhance economic development and competitiveness in developing countries. DTL’s key activity areas are science, technology and innovation; trade logistics; and human resources development.