Enhancing Aid for Trade Can Be Cornerstone of Partnership between World Trade Organization and UN System’s Development Agencies, Says Secretary-General

19 July 2011

Enhancing Aid for Trade Can Be Cornerstone of Partnership between World Trade Organization and UN System’s Development Agencies, Says Secretary-General

19 July 2011
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Enhancing Aid for Trade Can Be Cornerstone of Partnership between World Trade


Organization and UN System’s Development Agencies, Says Secretary-General


Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks at the World Trade Organization’s third Global Review of Aid for Trade, in Geneva, today, 19 July:

I am very pleased to address this third Global Review of Aid for Trade and thank you very much for your warm welcome.  Taking this opportunity, I would like to highly commend the leadership of our distinguished colleague Pascal Lamy, who has been laboriously working to make this world better and more harmoniously developed.  This is a part of his continuing efforts to review all this process of Aid for Trade and I am very pleased to be part of you today.  My only regret is that I have to immediately leave this place, because I have another meeting with the President of Switzerland, then I have to go back to New York.  I hope you will understand.  I know that you have been engaged in this process very seriously and, as I have seen from these well-structured programmes of your meeting today, the third Global Review of Aid for Trade.  I am very much encouraged and I wish you all the best.  Let me just say a few words on what we are doing together.

Last year, world leaders gathered at the MDG [Millennium Development Goals] Summit in New York and supported a concrete action plan to accelerate development and broadly shared growth.  We agreed on a basic principle.  That is, at a time of austerity, we must make sure that resources for development go where they have the greatest effect and can truly help the most vulnerable and the poorest people of our world.  Strengthening the global partnership for development — MDG 8 — is a key to realizing this promise, and Aid for Trade is a crucial building block of this global partnership.

Aid for Trade reflects the international community’s commitment to help developing countries participate actively in the world economy and to ensure that these countries can also gain from world growth.  In other words, Aid for Trade aims to make deeper integration mutually beneficial, including through strengthening both productive and export capacities of developing countries.

I applaud the international community’s efforts to mobilize resources categorized as Aid for Trade.  Today, Aid for Trade accounts for as much as one third of the official development assistance, ODA. 

However, all is not well.  As we all know, this is a time of economic uncertainty.  Budgets are tight.  But difficult fiscal conditions are no excuse for letting up our efforts; they underscore the need for collective action.

The annual rate of increase for Aid for Trade has slowed sharply.  At the very least, I urge the donor community not to fall short of the present level of Aid for Trade.  Going forward, it is also essential to ensure that the Aid for Trade does not displace existing development assistance, as agreed by all Member States in 2005.

In addition, making the most of the existing means of market access is vital for making Aid for Trade work more efficiently.  This is even more important given that the Doha Development Agenda has still not delivered, despite a decade of intense negotiations.

The Aid for Trade initiative and this third Global Review are of immense value.  After all, ours is an age of integration and interconnection.  No country can solve these problems on its own and no global challenge can truly be addressed without looking at the other interlinked issues.

We need to keep making the connections.  That is what we will be doing at the Rio+20 conference on sustainable development next June.  As you may remember, I have already reported to the General Assembly in January this year that the United Nations top priority for this year and beyond, for many coming years, will have to be on sustainable development.  We have been dealing with all these seemingly interconnected issues.  Looking at all separate issues — climate change, food crisis, water scarcities, energy shortages, global health, gender empowerment — all this looks like separate issues.  But if you look at these issues, they are all very closely interconnected.  That is why we have to have a broader look and more comprehensive resolution of all these issues.  That is what we are aiming to achieve at the Rio+20 summit meeting next year in June.  I hope you will all participate, take the same visions and the same commitments as you have been dealing with all other issues, including Aid for Trade, Aid for Trade for the developing world, poorest countries, I think they should get on board on this process.  Without having them on board in our common effort, we cannot claim that we will be living in a harmoniously balanced and developed world.

That is what I am really going to focus on from this year, and particularly as I am re-elected for another five years.  Serving and working together with you, I really count on your strong commitment and leadership.  That is what you are doing here between trade and development issues.

You are transcending artificial divides.  There are no artificial divides if you look at all these issues.  Therefore, one solution to these issues will mean a solution for all.  If we address climate change properly, I think we can do much better to address all other remaining issues, including these Aid for Trade issues.  You are highlighting how trade can best deliver development objectives, including the Millennium Development Goals.

I am pleased that global development agencies are sharing their on-the-ground expertise, case studies and analyses with the World Trade Organization and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).  This joint cooperation not only demonstrates what works on the ground, but that there is much more we can do together.

Let me point to two specific areas.  First, by paying attention to the unique needs of the least developed countries, to make sure gains on the ground are sustained, it is crucial that they are shared equitably and that least developed countries are not left behind.  Capacity development and creating a fair and level playing field are two sides of the same coin.  As we move forward, let us draw from the recently adopted Istanbul Programme of Action for least developed countries.

Second, we must fully utilize the potential of Aid for Trade to advance food and nutrition security.  The recent decision by the G-20 to remove export restrictions on food purchased for humanitarian aid is a welcome step, first step.  A level playing field will contribute immensely to food and nutrition security, especially for the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people.

In all our efforts, let us remember that meeting our development goals is ultimately about building self-sufficiency and helping people help themselves.  It is about tapping into the potential and dynamism of emerging economies and developing countries.  It is about generating global economic growth and creating decent jobs.  In the Millennium Declaration, Member States pledged to promote a rule-based, open, transparent, non-discriminatory and equitable multilateral trading system.

The United Nations fully supports the efforts of the World Trade Organization to conclude the Doha Round, as well as your initiatives to improve Aid for Trade.  These efforts have mobilized resources, improved monitoring and evaluation, supported regional integration and advanced the aid effectiveness agenda.

I would add that later this year, in November, the international community will meet in Busan, Korea, to further enhance aid efforts by seeking a global consensus on strengthening the quality, effectiveness and coherence of aid.  In turn, the conclusions of the Busan forum will be brought to the United Nations Development Cooperation Forum to fully draw upon the expertise of all international partners.

I am confident that we can reinforce the development impact of world trade through an even deeper partnership between the World Trade Organization and the UN system’s premier development agencies.  This will generate much-needed, additional impetus to our shared development objectives, including the Millennium Development Goals.  Enhancing and improving Aid for Trade can become the cornerstone of this joint work.

Once again, I am proud to be here to emphasize the commitment of the United Nations system to support your work in making Aid for Trade more meaningful for all Member States.  Together, let us advance our shared goal of ensuring that the international system works best for those who need it most.  I believe that all of us — all of us, not only the heads of agencies, not only the Secretary-General of the United Nations — all of us share the same common political and moral responsibility to work for all these poor people and countries, particularly the most vulnerable group of people.

At this time, I am also very much concerned about the impact in the Horn of Africa.  I have been raising this issue, awareness of the issue, that 11 million people are being impacted at this time in Ethiopia, Kenya, Djibouti and Somalia.  They are not alone.  We have to support at least 35 million people [refugees], and these numbers are being added and increased because of the situations that happened in North Africa.  We have to support at least more than 100 million people [in the world] daily — all these people.  So there is a huge challenge for the United Nations.  That can be overcome only with your strong commitment and leadership and generous support, particularly from donor countries.  Let us try our best to make this world better for all, and I count on your leadership and commitment.

* *** *

For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.