Tag: UNCTAD

How can the UN become a Thought Leader again?

When was the last time you read anything from UNCTAD? Back in the day (say, early 2000s), its annual Trade and Development Report (TDR) was one of the big annual milestones (along with the World Development Report, Human Development Report etc). They were essential reading for any policy wonk. They’re all still being published, but […]

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Why I love the UN, aka the battle between policy space and trade/investment agreements

Being a fan of the UN is always a bit of a mixed blessing. Various bits (UNDP, UNICEF, UN Women and many more) churn out some really useful research. For many years, they provided the sole islands of sanity resisting the market fundamentalism of the Washington Consensus. But all too often their publications sink without […]

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Why are rich countries trying to silence alternative economic voices at the UN?

The UN system is normally a terribly polite sort of place, but something is seriously amiss at UNCTAD. Despite its name (The UN Conference on Trade and Development), UNCTAD is a permanent body founded in 1964, which even at the height of Washington Consensus orthodoxy, provided developing countries with an invaluable source of thinking on […]

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Is this the UN's most powerful critique to date of finance-driven globalization?

Ten years ago, Supachai Panitchpakdi was in charge of the World Trade Organization as it led a global push for the liberalization of trade, investment and just about everything else in the early days of the Doha Round. The talks ran aground (they still aren’t concluded) amid a big pushback from many developing countries (backed by […]

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The UN lays into finance, speculation and the IMF: UNCTAD's Trade and Development Report 2009

Another day, another UN report, this time the Trade and Development Report 2009, from the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), released last week. It’s surprisingly forthright. Set up in 1964, in the table-thumping days of the New International Economic Order, in recent years UNCTAD had become markedly more cautious, not least under its current […]

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Fire brigades or arsonists? A UN debate on the economic crisis

I spoke at an UNCTAD symposium on the global crisis in Geneva this week (Oxfam’s pre-conference submission is here). A laudable attempt to get a conversation going with civil society organizations, but a classically frustrating UN event – dozens of developing country delegates mingling with NGOs and others, but any real exchange was deadened by […]

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