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UNCTAD 15 to be held online


UNCTAD 15 to be held online
Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley. (GP)

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Bridgetown – The UNCTAD 15 Conference which will be hosted by Barbados from October 3 to 8, 2021 will now be a virtual event.

Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Amor Mottley, and UNCTAD’s Acting Secretary-General, Ms Isabelle Durant, made the announcement today.

The conference is the highest decision-making body of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). It was initially scheduled to be held in Barbados from October 18 to 23, 2020, but was postponed twice as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Organisers had been exploring safe bubbles and biospheres, and how to reconfigure spaces and locations.

However, Mottley explained: “The intensifying global spread of COVID-19; the appallingly inequitable distribution of vaccines; the uncertainties of international travel and of likely participation numbers – all make it impractical for us to continue to plan and simply hope for the best.”

After consultation with the UNCTAD Secretary-General, and weighing all the risks, they have decided that UNCTAD 15 can no longer be convened, physically, in Barbados during 2021.

Mottley gave the assurance that negotiations on the Outcome Document for UNCTAD 15 are already proceeding virtually and the formal statements in the General Debate can easily be adapted to that format, as was successfully piloted at last year’s UN General Assembly.

“As for the rest of the programme for UNCTAD 15, the virtual space now gives us almost unlimited scope to make our conference an exceptional experience. An experience that transcends the boundaries of a single week in October, but can build up to and outlast that week in whatever ways our imagination wishes to take it,” Mottley said.

For her part, Durant said that she and Mottley were concerned about the fragility of our times, and of the immense suffering caused by the health crisis and its tremendous consequences, particularly in the developing world and for the most vulnerable groups.

“Together, we have a responsibility to respond to that extreme fragility and to ensure that UNCTAD 15 seizes the momentum, focuses on the essentials, and is a key moment for discussions and decisions that will guide our member states on the road to recovery.

“We will be the first to present to the world an international conference, in the wake of the pandemic, dedicated to the most promising junction for human well-being: trade and development, and by extension: economy and development,” Durant said.

The National Organising Committee will be working in close partnership with their counterparts in the secretariat in Geneva to develop comprehensive new plans for the virtual staging of UNCTAD 15. (PR)


UNCTAD 15 to be held online
UNCTAD’s Acting Secretary-General, Isabelle Durant. (GP)