UNCTAD X - The Spirit of Bangkok vs The Washington Consensus?

  • From Washington Consensus to Bangkok Convergence (C.Raghavan/SUNS)
    The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) held its tenth session in Bangkok from 12-19 February. Speaking at the close of the Conference, Rubens Ricupero, the UNCTAD Secretary-General, observed that the economic discourse of the past decade had been dominated by the so-called 'Washington Consensus' which had held out the policies of deregulation, privatisation and liberalisation as the prerequisites for economic development. Against the backdrop of the failure of these policies, he called for the construction of a new international order founded on real reciprocity that takes into account the underlying asymmetries in the economic structures of the countries of the North and South. (Third World Resurgence No. 116, Apr 00)

  • What the South wants: Ricupero
    Amidst the welter of speeches at Bangkok from Heads of State and Government, delegations of member states, leaders of international financial institutions, business leaders from small and medium enterprises as well as TNCs, and directors of agencies and regional commissions of the UN, there was a danger that the fundamental demands of the developing nations would be drowned in a torrent of words. UNCTAD's Secretary-General summed up their demands in the closing section of his speech, the relevant extract of which is reproduced above. (Third World Resurgence No. 116, Apr 00)

  • UNCTAD Plan of Action provides critique of WTO Agreements (C.Raghavan/SUNS)
    The Plan of Action which was adopted by UNCTAD at Bangkok highlights asymmetries and imbalances in the multilateral trading system under the World Trade Organisation. In calling for the elimination of these inequities, the Plan sets forth some proposals for redressing the grievances of the South. (Third World Resurgence No. 116, Apr 00)

  • Delegates call for new trade and financial order (C.Raghavan/SUNS)
    Concern over the imbalances of the globalisation process dominated the debates at UNCTAD X, with delegates underscoring the need for a new international trading and financial system to advance the interests of the developing countries and regulate the excesses of the free market. (Third World Resurgence No. 116, Apr 00)

  • Globalisation, an instrument of development for all?(C.Raghavan/SUNS)
    Although the main theme of UNCTAD X was making globalisation the instrument of development for all countries and people, there was little in the nature of real commitments on solutions as to how this was to be done. (Third World Resurgence No. 116, Apr 00)

  • Set WTO rules right first, says TWN forum at UNCTAD X (C.Oh/TWN)
    At a briefing session organised by the Third World Network at UNCTAD X, speakers and participants made it clear that, in their view, the World Trade Organisation could only recover its credibility after the debacle in Seattle if it redressed the inequities inflicted on the developing countries by the current global trading system. (Third World Resurgence No. 116, Apr 00)

  • Developing world advised to retain national autonomy (C.Oh/TWN)
    Participants at a briefing session organised by the Third World Network at UNCTAD X were told that although the commitment to putting in place a new international financial architecture seems to have waned with the apparent recovery of the world economy, in the absence of fundamental changes at the global level, developing countries should, given the inherent instability of international financial flows, retain national policy autonomy over their financial systems and capital flows.(Third World Resurgence No. 116, Apr 00)

  • 'What Washington Consensus? I never signed any' - Camdessus(C.Raghavan/SUNS)
    In what was perhaps his final act as the IMF chief, Michel Camdessus delivered a speech to the UNCTAD gathering in which he evinced a new-found concern for 'human development'. At least some members of his audience found his apparent 'conversion' somewhat unconvincing! (Third World Resurgence No. 116, Apr 00)

  • Forgiving a dying man's debt isn't enough, says OAU chairman(M.Khor/TWN)
    In a moving speech to UNCTAD X, the Algerian President and Chairman of the Organisation of African Unity painted a grim picture of an indebted and marginalised Africa that was being excluded from the mainstream of development by a globalising world. If Africans, who are now a disappearing people threatened with extinction, are to survive, more needs to be done, he added, than merely forgiving the debts of the poorest African countries. (Third World Resurgence No. 116, Apr 00)

  • Bangkok Declaration:Global dialogue and dynamic engagement
    At the end of its week-long deliberations in Bangkok, UNCTAD X issued the following Declaration. (Third World Resurgence No. 116, Apr 00)

  • UNCTAD and civil society: Towards our common goals
    On 7-8 February, a variety of organisations of civil society held an NGO Plenary Caucus in Bangkok to express their concerns and formulate their own proposals on the issues to be deliberated at UNCTAD X the following week. We publish above their recommendations to the member governments of UNCTAD. (Third World Resurgence No. 116, Apr 00)