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INTRODUCTION TO THE UNITED NATIONS AND UNCTAD Manuela Tortora Chief, Technical Cooperation Service UNCTAD.

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Presentation on theme: "INTRODUCTION TO THE UNITED NATIONS AND UNCTAD Manuela Tortora Chief, Technical Cooperation Service UNCTAD."— Presentation transcript:

1 INTRODUCTION TO THE UNITED NATIONS AND UNCTAD Manuela Tortora Chief, Technical Cooperation Service UNCTAD

2 THE EVOLUTION OF MULTILATERALISM Collective security Collective security was the main function of the League of Nations Limited economic and social cooperation: role of the ILO Collective security + economic and social cooperation Collective security + economic and social cooperation are the main functions of the UN Bretton Woods, UN specialised agencies Bretton Woods, UN specialised agencies 60’s-70’s Development60’s-70’s Development becomes a key UN activity UNDP, UNCTAD, many UN programmes devoted to development 2005-… Security + development + human rights2005-… Security + development + human rights: 3 pillars of the current UN reform

3 THE EVOLUTION OF MULTILATERALISM SCOPE OF MULTILATERALISM Econ./Social Issues (ILO) League of Nations Collective security (Security Council) Human rights Social/ Humanitarian Entities Charter/spec.agen. BWIs+GATT Collective security (Security Council) COLLECTIVE SECURITY and Peace building Human rights IMF/World Bank GATT IMF/World Bank GATT Social/ Humanitarian/ DEVELOPMENT entities (UNCTAD,UNDP) East-West North-South tensions HUMANRIGHTS DEVELOPMENT(environment,social,humanitarian,economic) IMF/World Bank? WTO? … UN Reform (3 pillars?) Collective security

4 The Three UNs: 1 st UN(*) Governments Source: UN Photo Archives (*) R.Jolly, L.Emmerij, T.Weiss, UN Ideas that Changed the World. 2009

5 The Three UNs: 2 nd UN(*) Staff members Source: UN Photo Archives

6 The Three UNs: 3 rd UN(*) Experts, members of commissions, and NGOs closely associated with the UN Source: UN Photo Archives

7 Interaction Among Three UNs(*) A: International and national civil servants’ interactions B: State-civil society interactions C: Secretariat-civil society interactions D: The networked space within which individuals and private organizations interact with the 1 st UN and the 2 nd UN to influence or advance UN thinking, policies, priorities, or actions AB C D 1st UN

8 spiralIdeas generated by the multilateral institution do not evolve in a linear way but rather as a spiral: Two steps forward, one step backwards…

9 4 Ways Ideas Matter to Global Values and Norms(*) Ideas changing the way issues are perceived Ideas redefining state and non-state interests and goals: Setting agendas for action Ideas mobilizing coalitions to press for action Ideas becoming embedded in institutions

10 A Balance Sheet of the UN’s Contributions: The Positives(*) 1.Promoting human rights for all 2.Providing an international framework for national development policies 3.Setting global goals 4.Quantifying the world 5.Changing the debate about trade and development 6.Proposing development policies that combine economic growth with poverty reduction 7.Bringing issues of environment and development to global attention, especially global warming 8.Promoting preventive diplomacy & human security 9.Promoting the human development approach

11 Negatives on the Balance Sheet(*) 1.Late reaction to the Washington Consensus 2.Weak response to the special needs of the least developed countries 3.Too little done to introduce cultural aspects into the development equation 4.Tardy and weak reaction to HIV/AIDS 5.Inadequate attention inequalities of income and wealth, nationally & internationally

12 A Summary of the UN’s Contributions(*) The balance sheet shows a small surplus The UN has led the way with many fundamental ideas, more than is often realized The UN has often been ahead of the World Bank and the IMF – though these have received most donor support and most finance Ideas may be among the UN’s most important contributions

13 Dag Hammarskjöld “The UN wasn’t set up to bring mankind to heaven but to save it from hell” “The UN wasn’t set up to bring mankind to heaven but to save it from hell”

14 let’s focus on UNCTAD… WITHIN THIS CONTEXT….

15 UN Economic Ideas Have Often Differed from the World Bank’s and the IMF’s(*) Fairer international economic relationsFairer international economic relations National development strategiesNational development strategies Development goalsDevelopment goals Social developmentSocial development

16 Two multilateral organisations dealing with trade: More differences than similarities: Two multilateral organisations dealing with trade: UNCTAD and WTO More differences than similarities: origins The origins mandates The mandates functioning The institutional functioning thinking The thinking on trade and development strengthsweaknesses The strengths and weaknesses

17 THE ORIGINS From GATT to WTO Keynes’ ideas on post-war international economic governance The Bretton Woods agreements (1944) : the ITO, the Havana Charter and the GATT GATT Rounds of trade negotiations until the Uruguay Round ( ) 1995: WTO is established outside the UN system UNCTAD: 1964  The context of North-South and East-West tensions  Non-Aligned Movement and Group of 77  The link between trade and development (Prebisch thinking)  1st UNCTAD Ministerial Conference in Geneva; Permanent secretariat established

18 THE MANDATE UNCTAD: Integrated treatment of trade, investment and related issues= wide mandate Research on trade and development issues Consensus-building through intergovernmental machinery Technical cooperation on all the topics of UNCTAD work WTO Rules-based organisation, negotiates binding multilateral trade law (“legislative” role) Dispute settlement mechanism with mandatory decisions, can apply sanctions (“judicial” role) Mandate confined to the existing trade agreements and to the scope of the negotiations

19 STRENGHTS AND WEAKNESSES WTO Binding trade law Powerful “judicial” mechanism BUT Increasing complexities of multilateral negotiations Increasing regional and bilateral trade agreementsWTO Binding trade law Powerful “judicial” mechanism BUT Increasing complexities of multilateral negotiations Increasing regional and bilateral trade agreements UNCTAD Trust and credibility among developing countries Independent research BUT Only a political role (no “teeth”) Limited human and financial resourcesUNCTAD Trust and credibility among developing countries Independent research BUT Only a political role (no “teeth”) Limited human and financial resources

20 UNCTAD ideas Influenced by development theories of center/periphery Deterioration of the terms of trade Unfair and asymmetric international economic relations Need for international policies and rules to address these asymmetries: Special and differential treatment ( trade preferences, exceptions, longer periods of adjustment…) Non-tariff barriers External debt : sustainability, reduction formulas Trade in services Positive agenda in trade negotiations Policy space No one size fits all

21 UNCTAD thinking is : “Outside the mainstream economics” of the Bretton Woods Institutions Close to the concerns of developing countries’ policy makers Part of the UN multidisciplinary, broad approach to development


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