August 02, 2016
“SEVEN MINUTES” - Minister of Financial Services had seven minutes in which to bring important issues to the attention of captive audience at UNCTAD XIV.
The Minister of Financial Services, the Hon. C.V. Hope Strachan, M.P. who has responsibility for international trade and financial services led a six member delegation to the Fourteenth Session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD XIV) which took place in Nairobi Kenya from 17th July to 22nd July 2016. Minister Strachan was accompanied by the Minister of State for Investment, the Hon. Khaalis Rolle, M.P.
As The Bahamas had assumed the role of Coordinator for the Group of Latin American and Caribbean States in Geneva Switzerland, effective 1st July 2016, Minister Strachan also addressed the Fourteenth Ministerial Meeting of the Group of 77 and China which preceded UNCTAD XIV on 17th July 2016 and delivered GRULAC’s statement in the UNCTAD General Debate. On 19th July, 2016, she also delivered The Bahamas’ statement in the UNCTAD General Debate. At the World Investment Forum which was taking place concurrently during UNCTAD XIV, Minister Rolle participated in the session on The Role of Non-traditional Investors in Financing Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Projects.
While in Nairobi, both Ministers Strachan and Rolle made a courtesy call upon Dr. Chris Kiptoo, Principal Secretary, State Department of Trade to discuss whether there were opportunities for trade between Kenya and The Bahamas despite the distance between the two countries.
Minister Strachan who also has ministerial responsibility for the Industries Encouragement Act, also used her visit to Nairobi to explore other opportunities for trade including possible training for Bahamian manufacturing entrepreneurs. She met with Ms. Tatiana Krylova, Head of Enterprise Branch, Division on Investment and Enterprise at UNCTAD. Ms. Krylova advised the Minister about technical assistance offered by UNCTAD which might be beneficial to Bahamian entrepreneurs, including youth entrepreneurs.
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) is a permanent intergovernmental body established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1964 and is part of the United Nations Secretariat, reporting to the United Nations General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. UNCTAD serves as the focal point of the United Nations system for the integrated treatment of trade and development issues and the interrelated issues of finance, technology, investment and sustainable development.
Since its foundation more than 50 years ago, UNCTAD has been a key partner supporting developing countries in meeting their development objectives. The Organization’s quadrennial conferences provide a forum for open and constructive dialogue on issues critical for the sustainable development of developing countries such as trade, finance, investment and technology. It supports developing countries in accessing the benefits of a globalized economy more fairly and effectively, equipping such countries through its technical cooperation initiatives. UNCTAD’s quadrennial conferences which set the organization’s mandate and work priorities for the next four years, also serve an important political function in that they allow intergovernmental consensus building on issues affecting the state of the world economy and development policies. Member States make assessments of current trade and development issues, discuss policy options and formulate global policy responses.
The theme of UNCTAD XIV, “From decision to action: Moving towards an inclusive and equitable global economic environment for trade and development” was most appropriate as UNCTAD XIV was the first UNCTAD conference since the global community established the Sustainable Development Goals and mandated - via the Addis Ababa Action Agenda - UNCTAD as one of five international organizations to mobilize financing for development. The other four organizations are the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) , the World Trade Organization (WTO), and the United Nation Development Programme (UNDP).
UNCTAD XIV provided a unique opportunity to bring together stakeholders from governments, private sector, civil society, academia and the youth. Taking place concurrently with UNCTAD XIV was the World Leaders Summit, the Fifth World Investment Forum (WIF), the Civil Society Forum, the Seventh Global Commodities Forum and the first global Youth Forum in recognition of the contribution of the youth in social economic and sustainable development. The 2016 World Investment Forum brought together business and political leaders to address issues such as International Investment Agreements, Sustainable Stock Exchanges, Urban Development and Gender Dialogue and sought to tackle the future financing challenges facing the implementation of the stainable development goals following the UN Summit on the post-2015 development agenda and the COP21 meeting on climate change.
On 22nd July, 2016, The Bahamas and other member states of UNCTAD agreed the Nairobi Azimio Declaration, reaffirming their commitment to UNCTAD and urging member states and UNCTAD to implement the Nairobi Maafikiano. The Nairobi Maafikiano was a consensus document which member states of UNCTAD adopted after intense negotiations in Geneva and Nairobi adopted on the final day of the meeting. Both documents will serve as a road map for trade and development issues to be addressed by UNCTAD during the next four years.
Minister Strachan in commenting on the successful outcome of UNCTAD XIV and The Bahamas’ participation noted:
“The Bahamas had 7 minutes in which to bring certain issues we believe important to the attention of a captive audience at UNCTAD XIV. One of those issues of particular importance for The Bahamas was the issue of de-risking and the loss of correspondent banking on the Caribbean Region. It was important to raise these issues at UNCTAD because it provided another opportunity to emphasize the negative impact that de-risking and the loss of correspondent banking is having on the Caribbean Region. We have been discussing the efforts of the Caribbean collaborating and uniting on this issue to seek a resolution. It was extremely important to seek the assistance of this influential organization because they not only have the capacity but they also have the clout to stimulate the necessary interest and action of the international community on this matter.
Source: Bahamas Information Services