Rebeca Grynspan, Secretary-General of UN Trade and Development © UN Trade and Development

Innovative and forward-looking…UNCTAD is 60
Created in Geneva in 1964, UNCTAD will mark its 60th anniversary convening a Global Leaders Forum and presenting its new brand “UN Trade and Development (UNCTAD)”
1 Jun 2024

The message of “Forward together” at the Global Leaders Forum with the UN Secretary-General, the President of the General Assembly and Heads of State in Geneva will signal that the organization has taken a proactive approach to addressing contemporary challenges, with rapid analysis on the impact of the war in Ukraine on developing countries. It also shows progress in coordinating the Global Crisis Response Group of Food Energy and Finance, with its Secretary-General taking a leading role in negotiations on Black Sea Grain Initiative and the Memorandum of Understanding with the Russian Federation on food and fertilizers. 

A Global Leaders Forum with the UN Secretary-General and Heads of State

Central to its 60th-anniversary celebrations is the aforementioned Global Leaders Forum, scheduled to take place from 12-14 June at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. This gathering will bring together Heads of State, leading economists, and influential figures from civil society and the private sector to discuss the theme of: “Charting a New Development Course in a Changing World.” Against the backdrop of unprecedented global challenges, this forum aims to facilitate dialogue and collaboration on pressing issues facing the international community.

In this 60th anniversary and under the leadership of Secretary-General Rebeca Grynspan, the first woman to lead the organization in its 60-year history, UN Trade and Development is gearing up to tackle the new challenges that developing countries face in the modern global economy. Cascading challenges, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, geopolitical tensions, climate change and soaring debt, are disrupting global trade and impacting developing countries. In this context, Secretary-General Grynspan has highlighted how all these crises affect developing countries and the need to amplify their voices in global institutions where decisions that affect them are made.

Since it was created in 1964, UNCTAD has played a crucial role in shaping international trade and economic policies, advocating for the interests of developing nations worldwide. Through its triennial conferences and comprehensive research reports, the organization has provided valuable insights into the intricacies of the global economy, guiding policymakers and practitioners in their pursuit of sustainable development.

Facing challenges ranging from digitalization to climate change, developing countries look to UNCTAD for guidance and analysis on trade, strengthening industrial policy, investment policies, greater digital inclusivity, and global value chains.

With a stronger voice, innovative strategies and renewed purpose: UN Trade and Development looks to the future.

UNCTAD enters its next chapter as a more flexible, innovative and experienced organization, determined to bring the development perspective to all major trade and global economic decisions that affect developing countries. In an era characterized by interconnectedness and change, the organization is emphasizing the importance of collaboration in confronting the complex challenges of our time. As Secretary-General Grynspan has underlined, the 60th anniversary serves as a call to action—a reminder of the urgent need to build a more inclusive and sustainable global economy. With the Global Leaders Forum this month in June, UNCTAD will contribute with analysis, foresight and actionable solutions to the formidable challenges that developing countries face in the current context of trade disruptions, geopolitical crises and climate change. 

* Amalia Navarro is Chief of Communications and External Relations at the Office of the Secretary-General, UN Trade and Development.
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