Topic outline

  • General

    Palais des Nations, Geneva
    UNCTAD Short Courses on
    Key Issues on the International Economic Agenda
    for Geneva-based Diplomats

    2009 Series

    • Topic 1

      2009 Series - First session
      (April to June, 2009)

      The secretariat has planned three courses, to be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Palais des Nations on Friday, 3 April (Room XXVI); Friday, 24 April (Room IX); and Tuesday, 9 June (Room XXI).

      The courses will be delivered in English, with simultaneous interpretation into French and Spanish.

      The secretariat invites permanent missions to nominate delegates who follow matters pertaining to UNCTAD or WTO in Geneva to attend one or all of the courses, using the attached application form, which should be submitted at least one week before the date of the course. Courses will begin promptly at 10 a.m. to allow sufficient time for debate after the presentations.


      Any queries about the programme should be addressed to:

      • Topic 2

        3 April 2009
        Palais des Nations, ROOM XXVI

        Financial crisis: causes, consequences and possible ways out

        Faced with the disastrous effects of the financial crisis, developed countries have adopted short-term measures that focus on limiting its direct impact on the real economy. However, the indirect, long-term effects, which could lead to a prolonged downturn or even a depression of the global economy, must be tackled urgently as well. The first session of the course will provide an insight into the causes of the financial crisis, its current consequences, and the potential future threats that it poses – for the whole world, and for developing countries in particular. The second session will then outline policy options at the country level, in particular in developed countries, that could provide the necessary policy stimuli to counter the looming recession. It will also examine current international initiatives and suggest possible international responses to the financial crisis.

        Delivered by: Division on Globalization and Development Strategies

      • Topic 3

        24 April 2009
        Palais des Nations, ROOM IX

        Bridging the technology gap

        The “technology gap” between rich and poorer nations is still a major barrier to economic growth and improved social welfare in many developing countries. This course is intended to outline the most pressing policy issues that need to be addressed, so that technology can be put to work to meet critical development goals. The course will first consider the complex ways in which technologies flow from the international and the national level down to the level of enterprises, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises, and farms. A clear distinction will be made between technology transfers that simply increase production capacity, and those that help build local innovative capacity. The second half of the course will focus on the related policy implications, and the need to put science, technology and innovation policies at the heart of national development strategies. 

        Delivered by: Division on Technology and Logistics

      • Topic 4

        9 June 2009
        Palais des Nations, ROOM XXI

        Investment promotion

        Diplomats, in particular those from countries that have no overseas offices dedicated to investment promotion, can make an important contribution to investment promotion by liaising with investors abroad. The challenge is how to connect their work with national efforts to attract foreign investment, which are often led by investment promotion agencies. The course will provide an overview of investment promotion strategies and techniques, and give insights into investors’ decision-making processes. It will also cover practices and tools that can be used by diplomats for image-building, for supporting an investor targeting programme, and for investor aftercare.

        Delivered by: Division on Investment and Enterprise

      • Topic 5

        2009 Series - Second session
        (September to December, 2009)

        The secretariat has planned three courses, to be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Palais des Nations on Wednesday, 30 September (Room VIII); Friday, 30 October (Room XXVI); and Monday, 3 December (Room XXVI).

        The courses will be delivered in English, with simultaneous interpretation into French, Spanish and Arabic.

        The secretariat invites permanent missions to nominate delegates who follow matters pertaining to UNCTAD or WTO in Geneva to attend one or all of the courses, using the attached application form, which should be submitted at least one week before the date of the course. Courses will begin promptly at 10 a.m. to allow sufficient time for debate after the presentations.

        Any queries about the programme should be addressed to:

        • Topic 6

          30 September 2009
          Palais des Nations, ROOM VIII

          Energy in the 21st century: The emerging biofuels market and its development implications

          Growing concerns about oil price volatility, energy independence and the climate change ramifications of fossil fuel use have drawn substantial attention to renewable energies, including biofuels, as alternatives to meeting the world’s energy demand. Positive economic, social and environmental objectives might be fulfilled by increased production, use and international trade of biofuels. Biofuels, however, also raise concerns related to food security, rising food prices and environmental conservation. The course will provide an opportunity to discuss polices and instruments that could make biofuels fulfill their goals, while minimizing their potential negative side-effects.

          Delivered by: Division on International Trade in Goods and Services, and Commodities

        • Topic 7

          30 October 2009
          Palais des Nations, ROOM XXVI

          Non-Tariff Barriers: UNCTAD's new initiative

          With tariff reductions through multilateral and bilateral trade negotiations, the importance of non-tariff barriers (NTBs) to control international trade has been growing in recent years. Developing a comprehensive database on NTBs is thus becoming an urgent requirement, whether to negotiate their reduction or elimination with partner countries, or to build capacity at home to meet additional requirements imposed. UNCTAD, having had one of the most comprehensive databases on NTBs in the past in its Trade Analysis and Information System (TRAINS), took a new initiative in 2006 to collect, disseminate and quantify NTBs with an establishment of  the Group of Eminent Persons on Non-Tariff Barriers (GNTB). The course will introduce the work that followed the first meeting of GNTB in July 2006, a multi-agency effort involving seven other international agencies (FAO, IMF, ITC, OECD, UNIDO, World Bank and WTO). It will also present some preliminary results from a pilot project on NTBs in several developing countries that has been executed jointly by UNCTAD and ITC on behalf of the multi-agency team, and will make a proposal for a global project.

          Delivered by: Division on International Trade in Goods and Services, and Commodities

        • Topic 8

          3 December 2009
          Palais des Nations, ROOM XXIII

          Investor-State dispute settlement

          International Investment Agreements (IIAs) have the potential to contribute to economic and social development, including by enhancing FDI flows and attendant benefits. Over the years, however, investors have increasingly resorted to the dispute settlement mechanisms included in such IIA, leading to a growing number of treaty-based investor-State dispute settlement (ISDS) cases brought to international arbitration. This raises considerable challenges for host countries, including cost-related challenges, challenges regarding a country’s reputation as an attractive FDI destination and capacity-related challenges. In order to maximize the benefits of IIAs, while minimizing attendant risks, it is of utmost importance that host countries have the capacity to manage - and to the extent possible avoid - such ISDS proceedings. The course aims at offering an initial overview of the key substantive and procedural issues developing countries face in this context.

          Delivered by: Division on Investment and Enterprise