Topic outline

  • General

    Short Courses for Geneva-based Diplomats - 2013 series

    The UNCTAD secretariat is pleased to announce another series of short courses on key issues on the international economic agenda for Geneva-based delegates for the first semester of 2013.

    The aim of the courses is to give delegates an opportunity to become better acquainted with topical issues and developments on the international economic agenda as they are reflected in UNCTAD’s work. More detailed information on the content of individual courses, and a schedule, can be found in the attached programme.

    • Topic 1

      6 December 2013 (room XXIII): Investment promotion – realizing your potential

      Promoting and facilitating FDI can attract capital for economic development, create jobs and provide other positive spillovers for local economies. Thus, most governments set up investment promotion agencies (IPAs) specifically mandated to attract FDI and facilitate foreign investors' projects. Today, almost every country in the world has at least one IPA. However, both the investment framework and the institutional set-up are key to improving a country's effectiveness in attracting and retaining investment, as well as increasing the benefits for the economy.

      This short course aims at raising awareness about best practice elements in investment promotion: mandate and institutional set-up, strategies and tools, links with trade promotion and the role of diplomats. The course will introduce the basics of the investment promotion function and will present country best practices in attracting FDI. The course will also sensitize participants about the investment process and the facilitation needs of foreign companies. Finally, participants will be briefed on UNCTAD’s programme to support IPAs in attracting green FDI for low-carbon economic growth.

      Delivered by: the Division on Investment and Enterprise Development

      From 10 am to 1pm

    • Topic 2

      4 November 2013 (room XXV): New trade reality and multilateralism

      This session will explore how the new reality of trade – in terms of trade patterns, trade flows, the growth prospects (including economic sustainability) and the trading system – challenges conventional thinking on trade policy. Its objective is twofold: (a) to map out key issues that configure how the current multilateral framework succeeds or fails in meeting the challenges emerging from the new trade reality; (b) to discuss national actions required to meet the challenges, particularly from the perspective of sustainable development.

      The specific topics that will be covered are: (a) the new reality of international trade and emerging challenges; (b) a panoramic view of the importance of multilateral systems (in terms of negotiations for trade liberalization and trade law enforcement); (c) aspects on the relation between the multilateral system and today’s trade reality; (d) sustainable development issues – stylized facts; (e) emerging sustainable development challenges; (f) competitiveness of countries in international trade.

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

      From 10 am to 1pm

    • Topic 3

      11 October 2013 (room XXV): Global capital flows, remittances and diaspora – opportunities and challenges for developing countries

      This short course will look at the fast growth experienced by larger economies from the South, especially Brazil, the Russian Federation, India, China and South Africa (BRICS), since the beginning of the new millennium that raised many hopes on the role that these countries could have to counteract the most severe constraints to growth in the poorest economies and to foster the construction of a more sustainable and socially inclusive pattern of development. The close economic proximity of economies within the South, and the direct familiarity of the emerging donors with the challenges facing other developing countries seems indeed to favour a different approach to finance for development – one based on higher local ownership (and less conditionality) and centred in the infrastructure sector as compared with traditional donors’ initiatives. Furthermore, private capital flows and foreign direct investment (FDI) coming from emerging economies from the South may have an especially strong developmental impact for low-income countries. The first session will examine the main features that characterize the different types of capital flows from the BRICS to other developing countries and discuss in this context the creation of a new development bank of the BRICS nations announced last March in Durban, South Africa.

      The course will also discuss the international capital flows into developing countries, where in recent years migrants' remittances have been growing most rapidly and providing these countries with a stable source of foreign exchange and resources. While these inflows are welcome, they pose a challenge to policymakers: how to best channel them so as to achieve a better impact on national development? Beyond remittances, emigrants can also contribute strongly to the development of their home country through their knowledge and business networks abroad. Mobilizing these resources for development requires, once again, action by national policymakers. The second part of the course will discuss which measures countries can take in order to strengthen the contribution of remittances and diasporas to national development.

      Delivered by: the Division on Africa, Least Developed Countries and the Division on Globalization and Development Strategies

      From 10 am to 1pm

    • Topic 4

      6 May 2013 (Room XXII) – New generation of investment policies for sustainable development

      Foreign investment is one of the key drivers of economic development and globalization. One way in which countries worldwide seek to attract foreign direct investment is through the conclusion of international investment agreements (IIAs). More than 3,000 IIAs exist today covering around two thirds of global investment flows but at the same time constituting a complex regime with important challenges ahead in order to ensure the achievement of sustainable and inclusive development goals.

      This short course aims at raising awareness about the new UNCTAD Investment Policy Framework for Sustainable Development and the concrete options it offers to policymakers for the design and negotiations of IIAs that effectively promote sustainable development and inclusive growth. It proposes to strengthen the IIA development dimension through the pursuance of clear and explicit clauses, a balance of investors’ rights and obligations, including corporate social responsibility principles and the safeguarding of policy space through, among others, coherence with other public policies (for example, climate change, labour, health).

      Delivered by: Division on Investment and Enterprise Developme

    • Topic 5

      9 April 2013 (Room XXIII) – Trade logistics, transport, trade facilitation and customs automation: Issues and UNCTAD’s role

      With the new Doha Mandate and building on the Accra Accord, the Trade Logistics Branch in UNCTAD’s Division on Technology and Logistics will be addressing some of the most compelling issues that developing countries are facing in improving their participation in international trade. These issues may affect in various ways the different categories of developing countries. Challenges also vary in their nature and possible responses depending on the geographical situation and circumstances as well as on the development stage of a given country. Working actively on the three pillars of UNCTAD over the past 12 years, the Trade Logistics Branch has developed both a long-standing experience as well as analytical and technical assistance capacities to deal with some of these key questions.

      The session will include the presentation and discussion of the following topics:

      • Current trends in trade logistics and implications for participation in global value chains;
      • Emerging and persisting challenges for developing countries: climate-change impacts, trade and transport security, market-access costs, institutional efficiency, etc.;
      • The role of technology and innovation in improving trade and transport operations;
      • Customs automation and administrative culture reform;
      • Options and ways for trade-facilitation measures: multilateral and regional rules versus national implementation;
      • Transport infrastructure development: long-term sustainability and ownership.

      The above issues will be discussed also from the angle of a land-locked developing country, a small island developing State, and economies in transition or a least developed country.

      Delivered by: Division on Technology and Logistics

    • Topic 6

      7 March 2013 (room XXVI) - Global income and trade trends: Implications for export opportunities for developing countries

      This short course will examine recent global economic trends and their implications for income growth, trade, economic development and economic policy.   The first session introduces the latest world economic forecasts from international institutions including the World Bank, IMF, OECD and the United Nations, highlighting areas of consensus and divergence and debating their potential implications.  Current forecasts share a broad agreement about the most likely trends for economic growth, with a world economy still struggling to recover five years after the eruption of the global financial crisis.   Recommendations about what countries should do, however, are very different.  Can these divergent views be reconciled?  

      The course will then turn to more practical trade and industrial policy concerns, examining the collapse in global trade that occurred from 2008-2009 and its related effects on product and country-specific export performance.  It will address the most important implications of the on-going trend whereby developing countries are growing much more rapidly than advanced ones.  Topics discussed include what this trend means for the export opportunities available to developing countries. 

      The course will end with a discussion of the risks that these fast growing developing countries face of being unable to complete the process of structural transformation and remaining trapped at middle levels of income. In this context, it will analyze the role that industrial policies and South-South economic integration can play to take advantage of the new export opportunities and avoid the middle-income trap.

      Delivered by: Division on Globalisation and Development Strategies