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Introduction from the Secretary-General

Supachai Panitchpakdi,
Secretary-General of UNCTAD
We are delighted that the UNCTAD XIII Conference will be held for the first time ever in the Arab region and we thank the Government and the people of Qatar for hosting our event. Qatar provides a model of how a natural resource-rich country has successfully managed its revenues and achieved exceptionally high levels of both economic and human development. I hope that it can serve as an inspiration and source of knowledge for visiting delegations, as well as make connections for trade, investment and other forms of cooperation with other countries.

Our Conference will be taking place at a sensitive time for the global economy. We are currently at a crossroads and must reflect on the path we wish to take in the future. UNCTAD XIII is the first major UN ministerial conference on trade and development since the fallout from the economic crisis and, as such, provides us with a good opportunity for such reflection.

There are still many issues that remain unresolved in the global economy, and we hope that UNCTAD XIII can provide some answers. One of those issues, of course, concerns trade and the search for an agreement that was first launched in Doha a decade ago. It is perhaps appropriate that a city which hosted a trade round aimed at tackling development issues should, 10 years later, host the major conference of an organization dedicated to trade and development.

This conference will, in other ways, be critical for UNCTAD and the wider development community. The Conference will seek to address issues on the green economy and climate change; on debt and financial and monetary reform; and, on science and technology and the next era of globalization. After the economic crisis, we find ourselves at a watershed with regard to economic policy and global economic governance: the path the world chooses now will have long term consequences for the economy, society and the environment, and so the Conference could be the starting point for a new consensus on globalization and global growth.

We look forward to working with the Government of Qatar and our member States as we prepare for UNCTAD XIII.