Topic outline

  • General

    Palais des Nations, Geneva
    UNCTAD Short Courses
    on Key International Economic Issues
    for Geneva-based Diplomats

    2007 Series

    Based on previous successful experience, as well as specific demand by member States reiterated in the agreed outcome of the twenty-third special session of the Trade and Development Board (September 2006), the UNCTAD secretariat is pleased to announce a series of short courses on Key Issues on the International Economic Agenda for Heads and staff of Permanent Missions in Geneva.

    This cross-divisional effort aims to provide Permanent Missions with an opportunity to follow a shorter and more focused version of the programme that is otherwise only accessible through three-week courses on Key Issues on the International Economic Agenda organized by UNCTAD at the regional level. It will also make it possible for delegations to get acquainted with topical issues in main areas of UNCTAD's work.

    The courses will be delivered in English; interpretation services will not be available.

    For more detailed information about the content of individual courses and a schedule of deliveries please refer to the course descriptions below.

  • Topic 1

    Monday, 26 February 2007: Managing global integration and interdependence

    Location: Room IX, Building A, 3rd floor

    The increasing globalization of trade, financial flows and knowledge diffusion is a source of potential opportunities and challenges for both developing and advanced economies.

    What are the conditions for global integration to be of mutual benefit for all countries?

    The course will first provide an introduction to the analysis of the implications of integration into the world economy from a developmental perspective, and to the relevance of macroeconomic and other proactive policies to support structural change and technological upgrading.

    The need for greater policy flexibility, however, faces a reduced number of effective policy instruments (e.g. WTO agreements that enlarged the scope of multilateral disciplines to include rules that directly prescribe certain domestic regulations). A second part of the course will therefore provide a clarification of the concept of national policy space and the rationale for multilateral disciplines, emphasizing how economic integration and multilateral rules can also expand, rather than just constrain, national policy space.

    Delivered by: Division on Globalization and Development Strategies
  • Topic 2

    Monday, 26 March 2007: Building productive capacities in LDCs as a means to reduce poverty

    Location: Room H3, Building C, 3rd floor

    High and sustained rates of economic growth are a crucial prerequisite for sustainable poverty reduction.

    The course will therefore focus on the challenge of achieving such rates of growth in poor developing countries. In this context, it will discuss:

    1. key elements of productive capacities
    2. means to develop these capacities
    3. factors that constrain their development

    Amongst the foremost constraints on productive capacities that will be addressed during this course are weak infrastructure (including electricity and transport networks), weak institutions (including banks and business-support institutions) and weak demand (including both internal and external demand).

    The course will draw on the analysis contained in UNCTAD LDC reports. As the topic has implications for policy-making by both LDC Governments and donor countries, the course is designed for delegates of LDCs and their development partners.

    Delivered by: Division for Africa, Least Developed Countries and Special Programmes

  • Topic 3

    Monday, 23 April 2007: Promoting growth and development through Information and Communication Technologies

    Location: Room XXVII, Building E, 1st floor

    Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are changing the way we do business, share information, learn and innovate.

    New technologies can be an important factor for increasing competitiveness, enhancing productivity and promoting development.

    Governments play a fundamental role in ensuring that favourable conditions are in place for businesses and citizens to benefit from ICTs.

    This course will use empirical evidence to present the impact that ICTs have on broad economic performance and on businesses. It will then introduce different policy options available to Governments in the context of
    national ICT strategies to maximize the potential of ICT. The course will be based on real case studies and best practice examples.

    Delivered by: ICT and E-business Branch/Division for Services Infrastructure for Development and Trade Efficiency
  • Topic 4

    Tuesday, 29 May 2007: Enhancing competitiveness through trade and transport facilitation

    Location: Room XXVII, Building E, 1st floor

    For most trade transactions, international transport costs and the costs of cross-border procedures and delays are far higher than Customs duties.
    Access to efficient transport services, as well as fast and transparent cross-border operations, are ever more crucial for countries’ trade competitiveness.

    In this context, the course will first provide an introduction to the logistics of international trade. It will analyse the demand and supply of international transport services and discuss the various relationships between trade, transport costs and effective access to global transport networks.

    Second, the course will provide an introduction to trade facilitation, present specific trade facilitation measures, and discuss trade facilitation issues in the context of the WTO negotiations on Articles V, VIII and X of GATT.

    Delivered by: Trade Logistics Branch/Division for Services Infrastructure for Development and Trade Efficiency

  • Topic 5

    Monday, 25 June 2007: Attracting FDI through International Investment Agreements

    Location: Room XXVII, Building E, 1st floor

    Foreign investment is one of the key drivers of the process of globalization. Transnational corporations are engines of growth, undertaking two-thirds of global trade and over 80 per cent of international R&D.

    One way in which countries worldwide seek to attract FDI is through the conclusion of international investment agreements (IIAs).

    Among the major challenges in negotiating such treaties are the questions of how to properly balance the granting of protection rights to foreign investors and public concerns related to FDI, and how to ensure consistency between IIAs concluded by a country.

    Against this background, the course will first provide an overview of recent trends in worldwide FDI flows and in national policies to FDI. Special attention will be given to the role of developing countries. Thereafter, the latest developments in international investment rulemaking will be presented. In this context, the main features of IIAs will be analysed, along with systemic issues resulting from the growing patchwork of bilateral, sectoral, regional and plurilateral investment treaties. In conclusion, the course will try to distill some lessons to be learnt from past experience for the future development of IIAs.

    Delivered by: Division on Investment, Technology and Enterprise Development
  • Topic 6

    Monday, 23 July 2007: The interface between competition policy, trade, investment and development

    Location: Room V, Building C, 1st floor

    Cross-border M&As, transacted in an emerging global market for firms, are the main force behind the latest rise of FDI, and are motivated by the opening of new markets for exports. They are driven by strategic corporate objectives and concentrated mainly in a handful of developed countries and industries. These special features of cross-border M&As, FDI and trade-related issues raise concerns about the balance of benefits for host countries.

    The course will therefore address how developing countries can deal with efficiency issues in specific markets and take into account the effects of anti-competitive behavior on development. Specifically, the course will also address the effects of international mergers on developing countries’trade and investment including: the abuse of dominance; monopolization and collusive conduct; and access to technology and know-how.

    Delivered by: Competition and Consumer Policies Branch/Division on International Trade in Goods and Services and Commodities

  • Topic 7

    21 September 2007
    Palais des Nations, ROOM VIII
    Development dimensions of intellectual property rights (IPRs)
    This course will first discuss the development dimension of IPRs, examining how IP is as much a development issue as it is an economic and legal issue. The second part of the course will study how certain international agreements have built in flexibility to help developing countries achieve a better balance between exclusive rights and the public domain, in pursuit of important development objectives.

    Développement et droits de propriété intellectuelle
    La première partie du cours sera consacrée aux incidences sur le développement des droits de propriété intellectuelle et montrera comment la propriété intellectuelle concerne autant le développement que les sphères économique et juridique. Ensuite, les participants étudieront les flexibilités inhérentes à certains accords internationaux qui peuvent aider les pays en développement à trouver un meilleur équilibre entre droits exclusifs et domaine public en vue d’atteindre d'importants objectifs de développement.

    Delivered by: Division on Investment, Technology and Enterprise Development

  • Topic 8

    30 October 2007
    Palais des Nations, ROOM XXV

    How to make debt safer
    The first message of this course is that debt structure matters and that the structure of public debt may matter more than the debt level. After a discussion of the risks of public debt, the course will address a series of policies and proposals that can reduce those risks. Proposals in this regard include both domestic policies (among other things, a possible trade-off between currency and maturity risk will be discussed) and reforms of the international financial architecture.

    Comment réduire les risques liés à la dette
    L’idée maîtresse de ce cours est que la structure de l’endettement est importante et que la structure de la dette publique est peut-être plus importante que le niveau d’endettement. Après un examen des risques liés à la dette publique, plusieurs politiques et propositions concernant la réduction de ces risques seront présentées -notamment politiques intérieures dont le choix entre risque monétaire et risque liés aux échéances) et réformes de l’architecture financière internationale.

    Delivered by: Division on Globalization and Development Strategies
  • Topic 9

    23 November 2007
    Palais des Nations, ROOM XXV

    The development interface between the multilateral trading system and regional trade agreements
    The course will examine developmental implications of RTAs and their interface with the MTS. Specifically, the course will provide an overview of recent trends and evolving features in RTAs and discuss their implications for developing countries. The course will also address the ways in which RTAs and the MTS interact with each other in order to draw practical lessons in approaching both processes in a holistic manner.

    Développement, système commercial multilatéral et accords commerciaux régionaux
    Le cours portera sur les incidences des accords commerciaux régionaux sur le développement, et leurs interactions avec le système commercial multilatéral. Il donnera plus particulièrement un aperçu des tendances récentes et des nouvelles caractéristiques des accords commerciaux régionaux, ainsi que de leurs conséquences pour les pays en développement. Il abordera aussi les interactions entre les accords commerciaux régionaux et le système commercial multilatéral afin d'en tirer des enseignements concrets pour une approche globale des deux processus.

    Delivered by: Division on International Trade in Goods and Services, and Commodities