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UNCTAD 15 to be held virtually


UNCTAD 15 to be held virtually

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UNCTAD 15, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, which was originally scheduled to be hosted in Barbados in October, will now take place virtually.

The switch of the high level international conference from a physical venue to a virtual platform was announced during an UNCTAD virtual Caribbean media briefing this morning.

Barbados Government’s National Co-ordinator for UNCTAD 15 Teresa Marshall said after two postponements, Barbados and Geneva had “accepted the inevitable” in light of the prevailing global health and travel conditions imposed by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

She added the change had driven the Barbados planners back to the drawing board with just about six months to put together an alternative plan for the conference.

Marshall revealed UNCTAD 15 would be streamed from two main production centres in Bridgetown and Geneva, “with the various feeds coordinated through a purpose-built Virtual Events Platform with a conference centre designed to replicate the look and feel of an authentic Barbados location”.

UNCTAD, which will take place between October 3 and 7, was expected to bring around 3 000 participants to Barbados for the conference, but Marshall said with the change Barbados could end up saving “at least 50 per cent” of the original cost of hosting the meeting.

In her introductory remarks, Assistant Secretary General of UNCTAD Isabelle Durant reiterated the value to Barbados and the rest of the Caribbean of hosting the conference, since it presented an opportunity for the region to share its concerns in an international forum in a manner which could be more impactful. (GC)