Monday, 21 April 2008

ActionAid: UNCTAD must be allowed to fully act on its mandate

According to ActionAid, UNCTAD as the apex trade and development body at the UN must be allowed to fully deliver its mandate without any hindrance from the developed countries. The pursuit of deliberate policies by the developed world through institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund and the WTO over the years has relegated UNCTAD role of working to secure just trade and development policies for developing countries.

ActionAid condemns moves by the EU and the USA at this conference to further marginalise UNCTAD from the international trade and development agenda. For instance these countries are resisting G77 (Group of Developing Countries) demands to create a commission on globalisation. “UNCTAD XII must at the end of this conference be able to provide practical solutions that can be used to end the miseries of commodity dependent farmers, particularly in Africa”, says Aftab Alam Khan ,ActionAid’s international coordinator on Trade policy. “This would immensely contribute to the development of the commodity dependent Nations who are also among the Highly Indebted and Poor Countries (HIPC)”, he adds.

Amina Salifu, a woman farmer from Northern Ghana says, “The government must put in policies to ensure that the commodity boards are made stronger and where we have none they be set up to prevent us from losing our only source of livelihood”. In addition, to help stem the rising food prices, food aid needs to be increased and sourced locally or regionally, added the NGO. Countries need to be assisted to build up staple food stocks, procuring them from poor farmers in country, where possible. ActionAid believes a lasting solution to the pressures on food supply must include increased investment in smallholder agriculture, and action to reduce the devastating effects of climate change on developing country food production.

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