6 July 2009
General Assembly

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-third General Assembly


94th Meeting (AM)

General Assembly unanimously confirms supachai PanitchpaKdi for second term

as Secretary-General of United Nations Conference on Trade and Development

The General Assembly this morning unanimously confirmed Supachai Panitchpakdi of Thailand for a second four-year term as Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

Acting on a proposal by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (document A/63/891), the Assembly appointed Mr. Supachai to head UNCTAD for a term beginning on 1 September 2009 and ending on 31 August 2013.  He has led the Geneva-based agency since 1 September 2005, having served earlier as Director-General of the World Trade Organization from September 2002 to August 2005.  Previously, he was Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Commerce.

Speaking ahead of the Assembly’s decision today, the representative of Côte d’Ivoire said his country had fielded a candidate for the position of UNCTAD Secretary-General and had serious reservations about the overall selection process.  Côte d’Ivoire did not appreciate the way in which the negotiations had been conducted and believed the nature of the exercise had led to excessive confusion that left the door open to misinterpretations, especially regarding the need to ensure balanced regional representation in UNCTAD.

Moreover, he continued, if there was to be a healthy competition for the position, it would be necessary to ensure its criteria were clear in order to alleviate the perception that bargaining was taking place.  Since there were no clear rules, there should also be a substantive discussion on the matter of consecutive mandates in the agency.  The process should be more consultative.  For Côte d’Ivoire, it was a question of principle since its candidate had the support of a good number of countries in Africa and elsewhere.  He added that, during the campaign, ethical values that should inspire the Organization had been undercut by vitriolic rhetoric.

He said his country nevertheless supported the decision taken and looked forward to working with Mr. Supachai while looking forward to a time when regional balance could be restored to the position.

The General Assembly will meet again at a date and time to be announced.

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For information media • not an official record