Development and Trade
The EU and UNCTAD
EU main priorities in UNCTAD
The EU promotes international cooperation geared towards sustainable development, using trade, investment and Official Development Assistance (ODA) as its main tools. To this effect, the EU contributes to all three pillars of UNCTAD and provides funding to almost all of its activities through its relevant institutions, in particular the European Commission. Special focus is given to the Least Developed Countries. The EU tries to promote their development through technical cooperation, as well as research and analysis projects.
Established in 1964, UNCTAD, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, promotes the integration of developing countries into the world economy. UNCTAD is a member State driven organisation with currently 193 members. Its mandate consists of three key functions:
- It functions as a forum for intergovernmental deliberations, supported by discussions with experts and exchanges of experience.
- It undertakes research, policy analysis and data collection.
- It provides technical assistance tailored to the specific requirements of developing countries, with special attention to the needs of the least developed countries and of economies in transition. UNCTAD also cooperates with other organisations and donor countries in the delivery of technical assistance.
Following the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty and especially after the creation of the European External Action Service, the role of the EU and of the EU Delegation has been upgraded. The EU Delegation functions as the regional coordinator of the EU Member States and represents them in all the bodies and proceedings of the organisation.
The UNCTAD Conference is the most important high-level event within UNCTAD. It meets once every four years at Ministerial level and adopts the mandate for the next four year period. The last Conference, UNCTAD XIII, was held in Doha, Qatar from 21-26 April 2012. It adopted the Doha mandate, the new work plan for UNCTAD for the coming four years.