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Question
state the role of UNCTAD in solving the problems of developing countries in increasing their exports.

Answer
state the role of UNCTAD in solving the problems of developing countries in increasing their exports.
Most important objectives and functions of UNCTAD are given below:-
Objectives
The objective of UNCTAD is (a) to reduce and eventually eliminate the trade gap between the developed and developing Countries, and (b) and to accelerate the rate of economic growth of the developing world.
Functions:
The main Functions of the UNCTAD are:
(i) To promote international trade between developed and developing countries with a view to accelerate economic development.
(ii) To formulate principles and policies on international trade and related problems of economic development.
(iii) To make proposals for putting its principles and policies into effect, (iv) To negotiate trade agreements.
(iv) To review and facilitate the coordination of activities of the other U.N. institutions in the field of international trade.
(v) To function as a centre for a harmonious trade and related documents in development policies of governments.
Activities:
The important activities of UNCTAD include (a) research and support of negotiations for commodity agreements; (b) technical elaboration of new trade schemes; and (c) various promotional activities designed to help developing countries in the areas of trade and capital flows.
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 TRADE, ENVIRONMENT AND DEVELOPMENT


UNCTAD's special role within the United Nations system is to examine trade and environment issues from a development perspective. UNCTAD covers a large number of issues of particular interest to developing countries, ranging from support for their participation in multilateral trade negotiations to commodity diversification, the promotion of trade in environmentally preferable products and harnessing traditional knowledge for development and trade.

In carrying out its activities, UNCTAD works closely with a number of international organizations, including the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and civil society.



TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE AND CAPACITY BUILDING


UNCTAD has developed a broad programme of technical assistance and capacity building in trade, environment and development. Some key elements are listed below.

Capacity Building Task Force for Trade, Environment and Development (CBTF)

UNCTAD and UNEP launched, in 2000, a Capacity Building Task Force for Trade, Environment and Development (CBTF) to help developing countries analyse linkages between trade and environment, deal with environment-related trade problems and trade-related environmental problems, and participate fully in multilateral negotiations.

Although small in terms of size and funding, the CBTF projects implemented so far have been very successful. In 2001, some 10 countries in Central America and the Caribbean were involved in a project to find ways of managing the disposal of used vehicle batteries. Training workshops covering a range of trade and environment issues were held in Cuba and Viet Nam, and projects on the environmental and social effects of trade policies  were initiated in Lebanon and Indonesia. The secretariat of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries hosted a CBTF meeting in Brussels to explore opportunities for production and trade in organic agricultural products from developing countries.

Several projects under a special CBTF component for the least developed countries (LDCs) are in the pipeline. These include activities for Lusophone countries and Cambodia and training for African LDCs .

CBTF activities are funded by the Governments of Germany, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as the European Commission.

CBTF is now poised for new and larger initiatives, particularly at the regional level.  New initiatives will be announced at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD).


UNCTAD/FIELD project on Building Capacity for Improved Policy Making and Negotiation on Key Trade and Environment Issues

UNCTAD and the London-based Foundation for International Environmental Law and Development (FIELD) have started a new project, funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), to assist selected developing countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America in building up their national and regional capacities to deal with trade, environment and development issues. Apart from supporting developing countries in improving national and regional coordination and participating in WTO negotiations and discussions, an important objective of the project is to help countries introduce legal and policy initiatives in specific trade and environment areas at the national level.



The UNCTAD technical assistance and capacity building programme to help developing countries participate more effectively in the WTO Post-Doha work programmes is now under way  

The programme includes a specific "window" on environmental issues. Developing countries themselves have requested that the following topics be included:

•   promotion of a "positive agenda": a specific programme on trade and environment issues of particular benefit to  developing countries;
•   support for understanding the development aspects and implications of multilateral environmental agreements;
•   market access;
•   environmental goods and services;
•   environmentally preferable products, in particular organic agricultural products;
•   agriculture and environment;
•   traditional knowledge;
•   training in trade and environment;
•   impact assessments.

The programme is implemented in close cooperation with WTO and the United Nations Environment Programme.


Training workshops on trade, environment and development

The UNCTAD secretariat has developed a training package on trade, environment and development. Eight modules have been developed, dealing with a range of issues:

•   Trade, environment and sustainable development – the international context;
•   Trade and environment in the multilateral trading system;
•   Environmental requirements and market access;
•   Trading opportunities for environmentally preferable products (EPPs);
•   Multilateral Environmental Agreements;
•   International standards for Environmental Management Systems, such as ISO 14001;
•   Harnessing traditional knowledge for trade and development;
•   Integrated trade assessments.

The training materials are adapted to the conditions and needs of the beneficiary country or region and are updated periodically to reflect changes in the relationship between trade and environment. They are available on-line to authorized users in beneficiary countries.

Training workshops have so far been held in Cuba, Viet Nam and Benin.

         BIOTRADE

UNCTAD's BIOTRADE Initiative was launched in 1996 as a concrete response to the call of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to promote the sustainable use of biodiversity. The Initiative helps developing countries produce value-added products and services derived from biodiversity for both domestic and international markets.

It consists of a number of partnerships with national and regional organizations, which have their own networks of community workers in the field.  This public-private approach enables partners to address all aspects of the value chain of natural products, including market and policy issues. It also builds on the comparative advantages of each organization, creating synergies, minimizing duplication, and maximizing the use of scarce resources.

Among the activities carried out so far are the creation of market information systems, business development schemes and trade support services, and support for integration of sustainability criteria in productive processes.

National programmes have been established in Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela, in close collaboration with UNDP.

At the regional level, UNCTAD collaborates with the Andean Development Corporation (CAF) and the Andean Community of Nations (CAN) on the implementation of BIOTRADE in the Andean countries.


         CLIMATE CHANGE

With the negotiation of the Kyoto Protocol and its final adoption in November 2001 in Marrakech, UNCTAD now focuses on the trade and investment aspects of the implementation of the Protocol. It also assists developing countries in preparing for the opportunities offered by the Kyoto Protocol, in particular the clean development mechanism (CDM). For instance, UNCTAD has been advising developing countries and countries with economies in transition on the formulation of national CDM implementation guides and appropriate domestic emissions trading schemes.  

In cooperation with the Earth Council Institute and the Climate Change Secretariat, UNCTAD has developed an e-learning facility to provide more effective learning opportunities on the various issues concerning the emerging carbon market.



         COMMODITIES

Using the commodities sector to promote sustainable development
The focus of UNCTAD’s work on commodities is on maximizing the contribution of the commodity sector to the sustainable development of commodity-dependent developing countries and economies in transition.

In the modern world, increasing reliance on markets and private initiative gives rise to many new challenges. Enterprises need to acquire new marketing expertise and modern management skills. At the same time, policy makers are pressed to develop sound institutional and regulatory frameworks for markets to function in a fair and efficient manner and to ensure the social, economic and environmental sustainability of commodity production and natural resource exploitation. UNCTAD’s flexible approach allows it to respond constructively to varying requests from its member countries.

An important aspect of this work is the diversification of production and export structures in developing countries. The aim is to improve supply capacities and the ability of producers and exporters to respond in a timely and flexible manner to emerging market opportunities. Activities include:

•   the design and implementation of commodity sector development and diversification policies, and assessment of their social and sustainable development implications;
•   the identification of the special needs and concerns of commodity-dependent developing countries in multilateral trade negotiations;
•   the analysis of commodity value chains and international markets, and the distribution of gains from globalization and trade liberalization;
•   support for participation in international value chains;
•   the assessment of diversification as an option for mitigating the effects of low commodity prices on sustainable development;
•   the development and application of frameworks for planning regional development in areas depending on natural resource exploitation.

UNCTAD’s work on commodities and sustainable development also includes:
•   the analysis of recent developments and prospects in commodity markets;
•   the exploration, development and implementation of viable, innovative commodity finance mechanism;
•   the development of legal and regulatory reforms to ensure credit access on reasonable terms.

Based on the premise that production and trade of commodities can have both positive and negative effects on the environment and that there are ways of improving the sustainability of natural resources, UNCTAD and the Common Fund for Commodities (CFC) are launching a partnership for further sustainable development of the commodity sector in developing countries.
The initiative, which covers all aspects of the commodity economy, aims to strengthen the competitiveness of commodity production and increase developing country exports while minimizing negative environmental effects. It will address all three components of sustainable development:  economic growth, social development and environmental conservation. Poverty eradication and changing unsustainable patterns of commodity production and consumption, where they exist, will also be essential elements of the initiative. The areas targeted include:

•   environmentally sound intensification and diversification of agricultural production;  
•   sustainable livestock farming;
•   sustainable exploitation of forestry resources and fishery stocks;
•   combating desertification through appropriate commodity production;
•   sustainable development in mining areas and environmentally sound mining methods;
•   rehabilitation of mined-out areas and their return to other economic activities.

Sustainable tourism in the least developed countries (LDCs)

The tourism sector is one of the most important sources of national income. For many developing countries, tourism is the only economic sector to provide real trading opportunities. Since tourism plays an important role in improving living standards, it should be put to use to overcome poverty.

UNCTAD and the World Tourism Organization are currently developing a programme to promote sustainable tourism in LDCs.  Activities will aim at strengthening their capacity to benefit from international tourism.

         INVESTMENT

Promoting FDI for sustainable development

As part of its Series on issues in international investment agreements (IIAs), UNCTAD has prepared a paper on the interface between environment and FDI. It discusses key issues in protecting the environment, the transfer of environmentally sound technologies (ESTs) and environmental management practices.


TNC contribution to sustainable development   

Together with the Copenhagen Business School and the European Business School in Germany, UNCTAD has examined transborder environmental management practices of Danish and German transnational corporations (TNCs) with operations in China, India and Malaysia.  

Investment promotion and good governance

To help the least developed countries improve the efficiency and transparency of their investment promotion practices, UNCTAD has launched a programme on Good Governance in Investment Promotion (GGIP). Programme activities at the country level include advisory work on how to reduce non-transparent practices and other “hassle costs” for investors, and the definition of concrete plans of action.  It also provides training to officials on investment-related good governance issues.  
The project focuses on LDCs which have shown a clear will to put in place a transparent, client-oriented administrative system to attract foreign investors and ensure that Governments' development priorities are met.


        TECHNOLOGY

Intellectual property rights and development

UNCTAD and the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) are implementing a capacity building project on intellectual property rights and development. The project, funded by the United Kingdom, deals with a number of concerns of Agenda 21, including biodiversity and biotechnology, and looks at the issues of traditional knowledge, folklore and cultural property.


Science and technology diplomacy

In June 2002, UNCTAD and Harvard University launched the Science and Technology Diplomacy Initiative which targets a number of areas of current diplomatic attention such as international arrangements on technology transfer, biotechnology and trade, managing technological risks and benefits, and standard setting. Environment and health requirements in international trade are one area where the benefits of science and technology diplomacy may turn out to be particularly important, making it easier for countries to share costs and resources and, at the same time, serving as insurance against bad commercial decisions and diplomatic failures.



        ENTERPRISE DEVELOPMENT

Environmental accounting

One of the challenges of environmental accounting is to ensure that environmental costs and liabilities are adequately reported. Intended as a practical tool to measure and report more precisely on environmental and financial performance, UNCTAD has developed a methodology to calculate environmental performance indicators (EPIs).

In response to the lack of national accounting standards for environmental information disclosure in financial statements, UNCTAD has synthesized the existing guidance offered by various standard setters. Guidelines for reporting environmental costs and liabilities were also produced and endorsed by the Intergovernmental Working Group of experts on International Standards of Accounting and Reporting (ISAR). The guidelines will assist national standard setters, thus avoiding the risk of devising radically different solutions for the same problems. The EUs draft recommendation on environmental issues has been influenced by the guidelines.



   
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