Topic outline

  • General

    Short Courses for Geneva-based Diplomats - 2012 series

    The UNCTAD secretariat is pleased to announce another series of short courses on key international economic issues for delegates from Permanent Missions in Geneva for the first semester of 2012.

    The aim of the courses is to give delegates from Permanent Missions an opportunity to become better acquainted with topical issues and developments on the international economic agenda as they are reflected in UNCTAD’s work. More detailed information on the content of individual courses, and a schedule, can be found in the attached programme.

  • Topic 1

    11 December 2012 (room XXVI) - Global supply chains: Opportunities and Challenges for developing countries

    Global Supply/Value Chains have flourished in recent years because lower IT and trading costs have facilitated production combining high technology with cheap labour. Today, a substantial share of the production processes of GSCs takes place in developing countries. Policymakers in many developing countries are interested in linking their enterprises to GSCs because of the benefits in terms of employment, improvement in technology and skills, productive capacity upgrading and export diversification. However, participation in GSCs could sometimes mean developing country enterprises are stuck in low value-added segments of the chain.   Developing countries would therefore need to identify and implement policies and measures to attract GSCs, maximize the benefits and spillovers from participation in GSCs by their enterprises and integrate such participation within their overall trade policies including in terms of engaging in high value addition.

    The course would cover three aspects of global supply chain and trade namely (a) the policy implications, (b) specific examples (i.e. from biodiversity-based sectors) on supporting the participation of developing countries in global supply chains, and (c) some challenges for developing countries in regard to cross-border anticompetitive practices and global supply chains. It would be delivered by three speakers (to be designated) from the Division on International Trade in Goods and Services, and Commodities on each aspect of the GSC.

    Delivered by: Division on International Trade, and Commodities

  • Topic 2

    9 November 2012 (room XXV) - Trade facilitation in the globalized economy: challenges and opportunities

    Since its inclusion in the Doha Round of the World Trade Organization, the traditionally technical issue of trade facilitation (TF) has gained prominence in international trade policy debates. It is now considered as one of the few areas where WTO negotiations have been able to advance to the point of agreeing on a draft consolidated negotiating text. Trade facilitation is also increasingly included in regional trade agreements, through which governments commit to trade facilitation reforms independent of the conclusion of the WTO negotiations.

    In this context, the longstanding debate about TF benefits and challenges, especially for the developing countries, is more important than ever and this short course will focus on highlighting the role of TF in the current economic environment. The course will also discuss the challenges that developing countries may face in the implementation of an eventual TF agreement and the role of the international community.

     Key questions to consider:

    • What are the implications of current trends in trade logistics for trade facilitation?
    • Which TF measures are covered by regional and multilateral trade negotiations?
    • What challenges do developing countries face in the implementation of the TF measures?
    • Which national mechanisms are essential for a successful TF reform?
    • What is the role of technical assistance and capacity building programmes in TF?

    Delivered by: Division on Technology and Logistics

  • Topic 3

    9 October 2012 (room XXV) - Post-crisis policy challenges in the world economy

    This short session will examine the global economic crisis and the implications it has for development.  It will look at the slowing down of global growth and also discuss the two-speed recovery which appears to reflect wide differences in domestic demand in both developing and developed markets.  While strong wage growth and sustained public support have prolonged the recovery in investment and domestic demand in developing countries, the issue with most developed economies is that private demand is subdued due to stagnating wages and little improvement in employment. What lessons have being learnt from the crisis and have system reform and supportive pro-growth macroeconomic policies being given sufficient leverage to address these imbalances?  

    Delivered by: Division on Globalization and Development Strategies

  • Topic 4

    6 July 2012 (room XXVI - from 10:00 to 13:00) - The impacts of the international crises on the economies of the LDCs

    The international financial and economic crisis brought to a halt the period of accelerated economic growth which the LDCs had experienced from 2003 to 2008. The negative impacts aggravated the difficulties caused by the food and energy crises, which had already adversely affected LDCs, especially the net importers of these products. The impacts of these combined crises were quite differentiated among LDCs. All of them experienced a growth slowdown, but some fared much worse and underwent two consecutive years of recession. The effects of the crises are likely to also affect the LDC economies in the medium term, when the Istanbul Programme of Action for 2011–2020 is carried out.

    The course will address the channels of transmission of the international crises to LDCs: trade, FDI, ODA, remittances. It will also look at the contrasting performance of different groups of LDCs since 2008: macroeconomic developments and social trends. It will also discuss the role of diversification in production, exports and economic partnerships, and also the medium-term outlook for the LDCs.

    Delivered by: Division for Africa, Least Developed Countries

  • Topic 5

    14 June 2012 (room XXV - from 10:00 to 13:00) - ICTs for Development

    Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are increasingly opening up new opportunities to address global development challenges. Thanks to the rapid diffusion of mobile telephone and Internet access more people than ever before are becoming connected. Rapid shifts in the market and in technology are providing a stiff challenge to governments to ensure that the benefits from the evolving ICT landscape are adequately sequenced into economic development strategies.

    This short course on ICT for development will examine recent trends and explore how governments and their development partners can leverage ICTs with a view to developing their private sectors, promote trade and fight poverty. It will also present the role of UNCTAD in this context, and highlight how the efforts of the United Nations to mainstream ICTs in the organization’s overall work on development.

    Delivered by: Division on Technology and Logistics

  • Topic 6

    4 May 2012 (room XXIV) - International Investment Agreements and Development

    Foreign investment is one of the key elements of globalization. One way in which countries worldwide seek to attract FDI is through the conclusion of international investment agreements (IIAs). More than 3,000 IIAs exist today covering around 2/3 of global investment flows. One remarkable feature of these treaties is that they enable direct international claims by investors against host States and recovery of monetary compensation. This method of settling investment disputes has been growing in popularity in the past 10-12 years, with almost 90 countries facing such claims by the end of 2011.

    This short course aims at raising awareness about IIAs and international investor-State dispute settlement. It will first provide an overview of recent trends for IIAs and investor-State arbitrations. We will then discuss different types of IIAs (bilateral, regional, sectoral), their functions and main obligations. We will see how the dispute settlement mechanism works and identify key questions that arbitral tribunals have had to grapple with. Having highlighted the lessons to be learnt, we will discuss how IIAs’ contribution to development could be strengthened.

    Delivered by: Division on Investment and Enterprise Development