Sharing the benefits of re-ignited global economic growth

Drawing on lessons from the recent social discontent in the wake of the global economic crisis and in the Arab world, Heads of State and of Government at UNCTAD XIII will discuss economic policies needed to enable equitable growth, more and better jobs and less poverty.​

There is a strong case to be made for the argument that recent developments in the Arab region reflect grievances beyond those that are purely governance-related. Indeed, in many of these countries, economic growth over the last 10 years has failed to improve standards of living for the middle-income groups and the poor. The global downturn that began in 2008 has translated into widespread joblessness, not only in many developed economies, and in particular among the young, further accentuating inequalities within and between countries. As the fallout of the crisis spreads, this discontent has gone beyond the Arab region, as shown by emerging social movements in developed countries.

Economic policies that, in the wake of the global crisis, lead to equitable growth, alleviate poverty, generate jobs, and improve social protection will be the focus of debate at the UNCTAD XIII High-level Segment of Heads of State and Government.  Leaders from the Arab world, Asia, Latin America, and Africa have been invited to share their views and experiences with conference delegates. The panel session will take place from 5.30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on the first day of the UNCTAD quadrennial conference under the topic, “In the wake of the global economic crisis: New opportunities for growth with social equity”.

Public opinion around the world has called governments to task for failing to deliver on the development aspirations of their peoples. At the same time, conventional ideas about the workings of the economy are being questioned. This is an opportune moment to renew the social contract between States and citizens and to reconsider the results of finance-led globalization in order to prevent a lost development decade, the UNCTAD secretariat contends.

The theme of UNCTAD XIII is Development-centred globalization, which calls for trade, investment, technology transfer, and entrepreneurship to be carefully focused and managed so that they lead to expanding employment and better living conditions for all. The challenge is to take advantage of the opportunities offered by political transformation, to assess the lessons of past failures and to identify feasible alternative paths to inclusive and sustainable development.

UNCTAD XIII will take place at the “Qatar National Convention Centre”, Doha and will be held for the first time in the Arab region. It will provide an opportunity for wide-ranging debate and reflection on the state of the global economy and the major economic challenges facing developing countries, particularly in light of recent economic and social crises.

The conference will be preceded by a series of events, among which are the third World Investment Forum (20-22 April), which will be attended by political decision makers and by high-level officials of global corporations, including Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, Chairman of the Board of Nestlé. The Civil Society Forum (17-25 April) will gather some 400 representatives of non-governmental organizations from around the world.  And the first Global Services Forum (19 April) will unite actors in this economic sector and government officials.