United Nations Conference on Trade
and Development (UNCTAD)
HISTORY AND PRESENT STATUS (Purpose)
The first session of the United Nations Conference
on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) met in Geneva
in 1964, in accordance with ECOSOC res. 917 (XXXIV)
(1962). GA res. 1995 (XIX) (1964) established UNCTAD
as one of its organs and set its terms of reference.
The Conference, which meets every four years, held
its most recent session (UNCTAD IX) in Midrand,
South Africa, from 26 April to 11 May 1996. The
next session will be held in Thailand in February
UNCTAD IX, held on the theme "Promoting growth
and sustainable development in a globalising and
liberalising world economy" set priorities
for UNCTAD's future work on trade and related development
issues, aimed at facilitating the full integration
of developing countries, in particular least developed
countries and economies in transition, into the
world economy and international trading system.
These priorities and specific practical recommendations
were embodied in the final Conference document entitled
"A Partnership for Growth and Development".
The Conference also adopted the "Midrand Declaration",
which reaffirmed the importance of further vigorous
efforts to realise the partnership for development
espoused at UNCTAD VIII, held in Cartagena De Indias,
Colombia. Recognising the different starting points
and different impacts of globalisation on countries,
the Declaration emphasised the importance of strengthening
cooperation between developed and developing countries,
between developing countries, between multilateral
institutions, as well as dialogue and partnership
between public and private sectors, to bring about
an effective partnership for development.
The three thematic areas for discussion at UNCTAD
X in Thailand were Trade, Finance and Investment,
and other development-related areas.
The principle function of UNCTAD is the promotion
of international trade, with a view to maximising
the trade and development opportunities to developing
countries. UNCTAD's role as the focal point within
the United Nations for the integrated treatment
of trade and related development issues in the area
of trade, finance, technology, investment and sustainable
development was reaffirmed at UNCTAD IX.
OTHER DEPARTMENTS AND COOPERATING ORGANISATIONS
Department of Trade and Industry
Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology
Department of Agriculture
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
RELEVANT TREATIES/PROTOCOLS ETC.
Agreement on Global System of Trade Preferences
Uruguay Round Agreement
South Africa is a member of UNCTAD and was elected
President for a four-year period at UNCTAD IX in
Midrand in April 1996. Thailand became chair of
UNCTAD X during February 2000.
South Africa will be participating in UNCTAD X
in Thailand during February 2000, and took part
in various preparatory meetings, manifesting its
commitment towards UNCTAD and its effective functioning.
South Africa's general policy is to effect changes
within the structures of UNCTAD in a manner that
would benefit the developing of the least developed