April 24, 2024
World Economy

UNCTAD 60th Anniversary | UNCTAD


Charting a new development course in a changing world

At times of great change, not everything changes at the same speed.

In the sixty years since UNCTAD’s creation, the world economy has seen the rise of the Global South, the introduction of a vast digital economy and the largest reduction in poverty and hunger in human history.

At the same time, these six decades have borne witness to ever-growing inequalities within and among countries, growing boom-bust cycles of trade and finance and the looming threat of climate catastrophe, especially in the places that have done the least to cause it. Most recently, since at least the COVID-19 pandemic, the world has seemingly lost its capacity to recover inclusively from crises – evident in rising poverty and hunger, and consecutive retreats in the Human Development Index.

Amidst this great change, our systems of global economic governance have not changed fast enough.

The result has been a contradiction at the heart of globalization, one that can be measured in ever-more frequent crises meeting ever-weaker international responses, a worrying trend towards economic slowdown and geopolitical fragmentation, and a world system that simultaneously connects and divides, enriches and impoverishes, empowers and marginalizes.

UNCTAD was created with the explicit goal of ensuring that globalization left no one behind. Sixty years on, delivering this mission calls for a profound paradigm shift – in how we leapfrog through technology, in how we finance and ready up trade for a global race of climate action, in how we define and measure progress and in how we ourselves adapt and change to meet and lead a changing world order.

A new “polyglobal” reality is emerging, marked by growing economic diversity and decentralization, even as we become ever-more interdependent at a global level.

Global Leaders Forum

UNCTAD will celebrate its 60th anniversary with a Global Leaders Forum. It represents a seminal moment, an opportunity to reflect on the lessons learned over the past six decades and forge a new path forward.

The theme, “Charting a new development course in a changing world”, is a call to action to reimagine development in the age of polyglobalization. As we adapt to changing times, the theme provides a framework for building a future that is resilient, equitable and sustainable.

The Forum will bring together leaders from across the globe, representing a spectrum of nations and interests, all converging with a common purpose: to redefine the course of development in a world where prosperity for all remains central and fundamental.

It will be opened by the UN Secretary-General and will feature a two-day program with high-level participation from heads of state, heads of institutions and leading economists and experts who will engage in debates on innovative approaches to addressing sustainable development challenges and enhancing UNCTAD’s role and impact.

In exploring new strategies for development, the Forum will focus on UNCTAD’s integrated treatment of trade and development, and the interrelated issues of finance, technology, investment and sustainable development. It will specifically address the needs of developing countries, particularly the least developed countries, small island developing states and landlocked developing countries.



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