UNCTAD XII to consider impact of economic trends on development

Twelfth United Nations Conference on Trade and Development to take place in
Accra, Ghana, 20-25 April

Heads of state, ministers, economists to discuss better translation of globalization gains into poverty reduction; nurturing and expanding South-South trade; commodities boom; regional integration; foreign investment for development, debt management; technology; growing impact of creative economy; importance of small firms and entrepreneurship for development.

A related problem to be scrutinized in Accra is the seeming paradox that despite high growth in Asia, Latin America, and Africa, only limited reductions in poverty have been achieved, especially in the world’s 49 least developed countries (LDCs). Globalization that does not bring broadly higher living standards − especially during a halcyon period of economic growth − has governments and international economists concerned about what will be necessary to tackle the deep poverty in which hundreds of millions continue to live. It also raises questions about the world’s ability to achieve the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, which include halving extreme poverty by 2015.

The international community has a ”special duty” to spread recently promising global economic growth to the ”poorest of the poor,” United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during a special address. The year 2008 should be ”the year of the bottom billion,” Mr. Ban told the TDB’s 43rd executive session. Globalization is still leaving the extreme poor behind, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, he said, and the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, which include halving extreme poverty by 2015, will not be met at current rates of progress. ”Now is the time for new ideas and fresh approaches.” Mr. Ban said, warning against ”delay and dither.” He added, ”In the coming weeks and months, I will dedicate myself to strengthening the UN’s role in development.” http://www.unctadxii.org