Dáil Éireann - Volume 588 - 24 June, 2004

Written Answers. - UN Conference.

  32. Mr. Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will report on the outcome of the UN Conference on Trade and Development held in mid-June in Brazil. [18860/04]

  Mr. Kitt: I led the Irish delegation to the UN Conference on Trade and Development, UNCTAD XI, held in Sao Paolo, Brazil from 13 to 18 June. It also included my colleague, the Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Deputy Michael Ahern. The official delegation also included two representatives of Dóchas, the umbrella organisation for Irish development NGOs.

In my address to UNCTAD, on behalf of the EU, I highlighted the EU’s commitment to securing a successful outcome to the Doha development round of trade negotiations. I outlined the significant internal reforms the EU has undertaken, particularly in the agricultural sector, and the flexibility we have demonstrated in our negotiating position. I also spoke of the initiatives we have taken to invigorate the negotiations, including proposals aimed at maximising the benefits of the round for least developed countries and other weak and vulnerable economies.

The leadership role adopted by the EU at the Sao Paolo UNCTAD XI ministerial was based on the thorough preparations of the Irish EU Presidency. A key element of the EU preparations for [169] the conference was the discussion and adoption by the General Affairs and External Relations Council of the EU’s overall strategy for UNCTAD XI. The strategy identified the following three areas as priorities for UNCTAD over the coming four years: integrating trade and investment into national development policies and poverty reduction strategies; regional integration and south-south trade; and commodity dependence and poverty.

The degree to which these priorities are addressed, in the documents agreed in Sao Paulo, clearly reflects the EU’s positive and proactive engagement in the conference. At the UNCTAD XI meeting UN member states agreed a political declaration entitled The Spirit of Sao Paulo and a negotiated document entitled The Sao Paulo Consensus. These decisions adopted at UNCTAD XI are essential instruments in the UN member states’ continued commitment to support UNCTAD in fulfilling its mandate as the focal point within the UN for the integrated treatment of trade and development.