Education International
Education International

UNCTAD XIII: countries must focus on effective development assistance

published 12 April 2012 updated 20 April 2012

EI supports the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) demand that countries should honour their commitments to provide development assistance. The ITUC demand is set out in its statement to the thirteenth session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD XIII), to be held from 21-26 April in Qatar.

Countries must keep their promises

In its statement, ITUC insists that “ all countries that have committed to spending 0.7% of their GNI [gross national income] on development assistance should deliver on their promises within the declared time frame”.

It goes on to say: “ Official development assistance should be allocated in the most effective way, with the donor as well as partner country governments and other relevant actors, including civil society and private sector, following the international commitments on development effectiveness as well as international transparency and accountability standards. Development cooperation programmes should always aim at eliminating countries’ dependency on foreign assistance.”

Gender dimension needed for sustainable development

The statement also underlines that “ UNCTAD must recognise the gender dimension in trade and development. UNCTAD should address the problems of unequal access to education, training and labour markets that place women at a disadvantage and in a vulnerable position. UNCTAD should undertake more substantive research into the gender dimension in trade and investment and its impact on sustainable development. In this regard, UNCTAD should work closely with other UN agencies, including the International Labour Organisation.”

Education, indispensable part of development cooperation

EI Solidarity and Development Senior Coordinator Nicolás Richards said: “We welcome the ITUC statement at the occasion of UNCTAD XIII, especially with regards to the need for sufficient and effective development assistance. We think that further development of public services in terms of education, health, and pensions should be taken into account, as an integral part of development cooperation.”

Established in 1964, UNCTAD promotes the integration of developing countries into the world economy. It has progressively evolved into an authoritative knowledge-based institution whose work aims to help shape current policy debates on development, with a particular focus on ensuring that domestic policies and international action are mutually supportive in achieving sustainable development.

The organisation carries out three key functions:

  • Functioning as a forum for intergovernmental deliberations, supported by discussions with experts and exchanges of experience, aimed at building consensus
  • Undertaking research, policy analysis and data collection for the government representatives and experts’ debates
  • Providing technical assistance tailored to developing countries’ specific requirements, with special attention to the needs of the least developed countries and economies in transition

In performing its functions, the secretariat works together with member Governments and interacts with organisations of the UN and regional commissions, as well as governmental institutions, non-governmental organisations, the private sector, including trade and industry associations, research institutes and universities worldwide.