UNCTAD is making formulating a programme to integrating economic development and related global economic issues into the UN-led agenda beyond 2015 that will replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) currently under discussion.

The idea that economic growth can lift people out of poverty and form the basis of an aspiration for improving lives underpinned the MDGs ? but the topic of trade was confined to Goal 8 (to ?develop a global partnership for development?). Trade was mainly referred to as a matter of market access and tariff reduction, and in just three of 16 indicators used to track Goal 8.

At its?sixth session of the trade and development commission in Generva, UNCTAD Included an informal meeting to consider??The Role of International Trade in the Post-2015 Development Agenda.?

However, UNCTAD?s work has shown that international trade should be mainstreamed as an ?enabler? for achieving a broad range of social, economic and environmental development goals through promoting inclusive and sustainable economic growth. Exactly how this idea will be integrated across the SDGs, and what targets will be used to measure the outcomes of such goals as gender equality, for example, is currently a matter for consideration.\

One commitment supported by UNCTAD is the eradication of extreme poverty. UNCTAD has backed this aim since the first United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD I) was held in 1964.

?The States participating in the Conference are determined? to find ways by which the human and material resources of the world may be harnessed for the abolition of poverty everywhere,? read the Final Act of the UNCTAD I, which was held in Geneva.

While trade liberalization can raise incomes, it does not automatically reduce poverty in an equitable way. But UNCTAD?s work has shown that there are means to counter such distortions and uphold a rights-based approach to development, even as countries open up to trade.

The transformative nature of the new development agenda, currently being discussed by United Nations Member States, focuses on the broad developmental concept of sustainability. This will hopefully ensure that development can be made lasting and self-perpetuating in all its dimensions, rather than seeking singularly to minimize impact on the environment.

Over the past 50 years since UNCTAD was founded, the international economy has sometimes supported and sometimes hindered more inclusive and sustainable growth in developing countries. UNCTAD has shown, for example, how unregulated financial markets and unrestricted capital flows have often been an impediment to stable and inclusive growth. At the same time an open and predictable multilateral system has also been shown to stimulate trade growth.


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