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Approved unanimously by the IPU Governing Council at its 182nd session
(Cape Town, 18 April 2008)

The world parliamentary community and its global organization, the Inter-Parliamentary Union, commend the decision of UNCTAD to hold its quadrennial forum in Accra, marking the Conference's return to Africa after a 12-year absence.  We wish UNCTAD XII every success in its deliberations, which represent a uniquely important endeavour to tackle the challenges of globalization and maximize its development potential.

As members of parliament elected by the people, we are convinced that a coherent focus on development is a sine qua non condition for ensuring a prosperous future for all nations, not just a privileged few.  Encouraged by positive changes that have taken root since the last UNCTAD session, we note nonetheless that most developing countries are still far from achieving the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. 

We deplore, in particular, that sub-Saharan Africa lags far behind in this regard, with the risk of many countries failing to achieve all of the goals.  In delivering our message to UNCTAD XII from the 118th IPU Assembly in South Africa, where parliamentarians from all over the world have gathered to debate ways of pushing back the frontiers of poverty, we join in the call for priority attention to be given by UNCTAD delegates to the development challenges faced by the African continent.

We express our support for UNCTAD’s efforts to prompt a move towards a more equitable and development-friendly global economic, trading and financial system.  Indeed, we consider that UNCTAD is uniquely placed to address emerging challenges, such as the impact of high energy prices and climate change on development.  We also call on UNCTAD to guard against the dangers of a globalization process where speculative financial operations take on a life of their own and do not support the real productive economy; where the pace of change is much faster than people’s ability to adjust, especially in the absence of adequate safety nets; and where economic growth does not result in real benefits for all.

UNCTAD should strengthen its role as the focal point within the United Nations system for dealing with trade and investments from a development perspective.  We highly value UNCTAD’s diverse expertise in various development-related fields, particularly as it serves the needs of the developing countries.  Its trade-related capacity-building work is equally important, and may provide a key to help unlock the Doha Round negotiations.  We take this opportunity to urge WTO members to pool their efforts and ensure a successful outcome of the Round.  Success will help ensure that developing countries can generate more of their own resources, plot their own course, and become less reliant on external aid.

Just as trade and development are interwoven into the fabric of globalization, development and democracy are two sides of the same coin.  The complex edifice of development will be fragile if it lacks strong foundations in democracy.  As parliamentarians, we are convinced of the need for all people - including the poor and minorities - to be fairly represented in decision-making at both the national and international levels and for the political process as a whole to be open, transparent and accountable.  Only then will globalization become the win-win proposition that most of us believe is possible.

We reiterate our resolve to ensure that parliaments honour their responsibilities related to the formulation and implementation of national development strategies.  In this connection, we pledge to strengthen cooperation between UNCTAD and national parliaments through the Inter-Parliamentary Union, as called for by the Millennium Declaration.  We also state our willingness to contribute to the practical implementation of UNCTAD XII commitments through relevant legislative and oversight means.

Note: you can download a complete electronic version of the brochure "Results of the 118th Assembly and related meetings of the Inter-Parliamentary Union" in PDF format (file size approximately 547K). This version requires Adobe Acrobat Reader, which you can download free of charge.Get Acrobat Reader