The Commonwealth and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) have strengthened their links after signing a cooperation agreement.
In a meeting on the fringes of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Secretary-General Patricia Scotland and UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi agreed to work closely together in the run-up to 2020 on areas such as the Oceans Forum. The annual forum will focus specifically on achieving the trade-related aims of Sustainable Goal Development 14, specifically around conserving and sustainably using the sea and its resources.
The working relationship will also see the Commonwealth and UNCTAD supporting other partners to increase transparency and address non-tariff barriers that affect the expansion of regional and global value chains in the fisheries and oceans economy sectors. The aim is for this to enhance economic benefits by 2030, which will directly benefit many of the Commonwealth’s Small Island Developing States.
Following the signing, Secretary-General Scotland said:
“Today’s agreement is an important step towards strengthening the bond that already exists between the Commonwealth and UNCTAD. Trade is the bedrock of national economies, and essential to the development of all our member countries. It is vital to building resilience in the economies of small island states, several of which have been buffeted by hurricanes over recent days. It is also a driver of prosperity, which will be a principal focus for Commonwealth Heads of Government when they meet in London in April 2018."
Secretary-General Kituyi said, “The Commonwealth is a highly important grouping of countries from around the world, with a broad range of levels of economic development. As such, it is a key player in global trade and an ideal partner to join forces with UNCTAD in our quest to ensure prosperity for all.
“Partnership is a critical factor if we are to meet the level of ambition that the international community set itself two years ago in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”