Statement by H.E. Ambassador Edi Yusup Chargè d’Affaires a.i. /Deputy Permanent Representative of the Republic of Indonesia on Behalf of the Group of 77 and China at the Opening of 59thth Session of the UNCTAD Trade and Development Board Geneva, 17 September 2012

September 17, 2012 Economy, Development and Environment

Statement by H.E. Ambassador Edi Yusup

Chargè d’Affaires a.i. /Deputy Permanent Representative of

the Republic of Indonesia

on Behalf of the Group of 77 and China

at the Opening of 59thth Session of the UNCTAD

Trade and Development Board

Geneva, 17 September 2012

Mr. President,
Secretary General of UNCTAD, Dr. Supachai
Excellencies,
Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Indonesia has the privilege and honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the G-77 and China.

At the outset, allow me to congratulate Ambassador Juri Seilenthal of Estonia and Ambassador Mukhtar Tileuberdi of Kazakhstan, on your election as President of the 59th session of UNCTAD TDB. We wish to assure you and members of the Bureau of our full support as we work together towards the successful conclusion of our deliberation.

We would also like to extend our warmest thanks and admiration to Ambassador Maruping for his excellent leadership.  Were it not for his wisdom, dedication, patience, and vision of a strong UNCTAD in which all member states benefit, we would not have achieved the success that came out of the conference.

The G-77 and China also wish to express its sincere thanks and high appreciation to the Secretary General, Dr. Supachai, for his very interesting and inspiring opening statement which has given us an overview of the strategic issues and areas of cooperation before the TDB.

Mr. President.

This session of TDB is important and strategic, as this is the first major step we take to implement the Doha Mandate. It is also timely as the world is marked with myriad of challenges and opportunities.

Therefore, the time is ripe for us to not only actively and constructively engage in addressing the challenges of our time, but also in transforming the challenges into opportunities. This is why partnership and collaboration is essential. Each of us must strive to become part of the solution in addressing the global challenges.

We expect to firmly plant UNCTAD at the heart of the global discourse on development. This is especially important given the forthcoming review of the Millennium Development Goals in 2015, and the events of the key year in 2014 when, in addition to the mid-term review of UNCTAD XIII we will celebrate the 50th anniversary of UNCTAD.  We will also celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Group of 77 and China.  That is a lot to prepare for.  We must therefore begin today.  We must therefore begin now.

We therefore look forward to our deliberations in the high level segment where we will look at ways and means of enhancing Africa’s development through the generation of productive jobs, including by looking at the lessons from other regions. Without pre-empting debate at that session, one key factor is an enabling global environment. We do not wish to be labor at the point, but it is clear that one key task is to come up with new models of development.

In our deliberations on interdependence, we look at the impact of the global economic and financial crisis and policy options that can help us better weather the storm. Leading up to 2015, we welcome this important debate which takes into account the realities of the global economic system, and how they affect the prospects for long-term development and progress of developing countries.

This debate is one we see in close complementarity to our consideration of item 8 on development strategies in a globalized world.  We commend the secretariat for once again producing a comprehensive TDR, which addresses, among others, the ways in which income inequality affects economic growth as well as ideas for realizing more inclusive development.  For the Group of 77 and China, it is a core principle and value that the benefits of global economic development should be shared by all of humanity.

Conversely, we firmly believe that the most vulnerable must be protected from the shocks of an unstable and imbalanced global economic system. There is therefore a close link between a more stable and development-oriented global economic system and more equitable growth and development.  This is a key principle that should underpin our preparations for 2015.

We also look with particular interest the debate on UNCTAD’s contribution to the implementation of the Istanbul Programme of Action. Its focus on building the necessary capacity of LDCs as well as laying the groundwork and preparation for their eventual graduation, must be a central feature in UNCTAD’s work. Equally important is to monitor the post graduation scenario with the intention to assist if they fall off track.

In the area of investment, we underscore the importance of enhancing investment generation and attracting greater investment including as a means of overcoming financing gaps of developing countries in strengthening development-related infrastructure. There is also a need to mobilize and channel investments in support of sustainable development objectives. The role of the developmental state especially with regard to investing in those areas that will contribute to long-term development is especially important, and should be an important contribution from UNCTAD as we prepare for 2015.

Equally important is our forthcoming discussion on the evolution of the international trading system. The issue takes on added urgency in view of the important role of trade as an engine for development, and the impasse in the Doha Development Agenda negotiations. In fully exploring different negotiating approaches towards a successful multilateral conclusion of the Doha Development Agenda, work must continue based on progress already made, and respecting fully the development component of the DDA mandate. We reaffirm the positive link between trade and development, and that development is a core element of the work of UNCTAD and WTO.

The Group of 77 and China notes with concern continued signs of protectionist tendencies, as well as the imposition of new trade restrictions, due to current economic difficulties. Our Group therefore calls on our partners to refrain from undertaking protectionist measures, particularly those affecting developing countries, and for collective positive efforts to ensure the developing countries secure a share in international trade. Our Group further reiterates its call for a balanced and development-oriented conclusion to the Doha Development Agenda.

Trade matters cannot, and should not, be isolated and concentrated in one institution.  The architecture of global trade is inextricably linked to the global financial and monetary systems and cannot be inextricably addressed in isolation. The United Nations is the only body with the universal membership and mandate to address issues of holistic importance and impact, and UNCTAD must contribute to the achievement of these principles as enshrined in the UN Charter. We must recognize the importance of UNCTAD in the broader context of the mandate of the United Nations.

We therefore view with concern at the relatively low-key manner in which the agenda item – item 10 this year – on follow-up to outcomes of the major UN conferences and summits in the economic and social fields. We expect that this agenda item will be given more prominence and importance at the next session of the Board, and we call on the secretariat to present proposals on how this item can go beyond the current exercise of a list of secretariat activities, to a genuine intergovernmental engagement on contributing to the broader development discourse. This is especially important in the run-up to 2015.

The Group of 77 and China will therefore engage fully in the substantive deliberations, and look forward to constructive engagement with the partners with a view to playing our mandated role and contributing to the achievement of the broader global development agenda.

At the same time, we would continue to view with great concern the actions and initiatives that would divert our attention away from our very important work. We have consistently cautioned against distractions that could impede our substantive work, and we are already gravely concerned that the JIU issue has paralyzed the intergovernmental machinery.

As the principal beneficiaries of UNCTAD’s work, the Group of 77 and China are perhaps even more sensitive to the organization’s effective functioning than other groups of countries. We have nevertheless sought to accommodate the concerns of our partners.

We therefore stress as a point of principle that our focus will be on the substantive work before us. Other issues will be addressed once we have completed our core work. Allow me to emphasize that while we wish to continue our constructive engagement with our partners, we also hope and expect good will and commitment from our partner. Let each of us strive to become part of the solution in addressing the global challenges.

Thank you Mr. President.