TWN Info Service on WTO and Trade Issues (Apr12/13)
18 April 2012
Third World Network
G77/China calls for reaffirmation of Accra Accord
Published in SUNS #7351 dated 17 April 2012
Geneva, 16 Apr (Kanaga Raja) -- The Group of 77 and China has called
for a reaffirmation of the UNCTAD XII Accra Accord, saying that the
Group had exercised utmost flexibility and had made incredible compromises
but that they would not resile on the Accra Accord being reaffirmed.
The Group made clear that despite the tactics of the industrialized
country group, UNCTAD XIII would end with an outcome document (implying
that if needed, the group would take it to a vote if no consensus was
possible), and that the minimum the G77 and China would agree to was
the distilled text of the President of the Committee of 4 April 2012.
The call came in a statement delivered by the G77 and China Chair Ambassador
Pisanu Chanvitan of Thailand to the Preparatory Committee of UNCTAD
XIII on 13 April, which is negotiating the draft outcome document for
the conference, taking place in Doha, Qatar from 21-26 April.
The negotiations at the Preparatory Committee resume on 16 April afternoon.
Amongst others, the G77 and China statement highlighted the impasse
in the negotiations due to the positions of developed countries who,
in essence, are seeking to weaken UNCTAD.
The statement stressed the G77 and China's willingness and flexibility
in order to achieve a consensual outcome document for UNCTAD XIII, and
sought the reaffirmation of the UNCTAD XII Accra Accord and then build
upon it through the "distilled" text produced by the President
of the Preparatory Committee.
In its statement, the G77 and China said: "While we have always
held firmly to our principles, the Group of 77 and China has tried to
be as flexible as possible on how we have articulated them in our various
negotiations in UNCTAD. Throughout our preparations for the Conference,
we have felt that perhaps our constructiveness was viewed as weakness,
and our accommodation viewed as capitulation."
As a result, said the Thai envoy, "some of our partners regressed
to behaviour perhaps more appropriate for the founding days of UNCTAD,
when countries of the North felt they could dictate and marginalise
developing countries from informed decision-making. I have to be blunt
and single out the handling of the JIU [Joint Inspection Unit] issue
by one coordinator as reminiscent of the darkest days of the North-South
"It is therefore of no comfort that we have seen strong opposition
from our partners for one of the central themes running through the
work and engagement of our Group: that the global economic and financial
crisis marks once and for all the end of the bad old days, and perhaps
the dawn of an international regime of global economic governance based
on the highest principles and ideals of the United Nations, including
sovereignty, equality, and mutual respect. Instead, we see behaviour
that seems to indicate a desire for the dawn of a new neocolonialism.
We cannot, we will not, accept this," said the G77 and China statement.
The Group said it firmly believes that UNCTAD XIII can be a contribution
to a new beginning. "We firmly believe that the theme of development-centred
globalization presents an opportunity to articulate a vision of development
based on equality, based on a differentiated approach to development,
and based on equal respect for all. We still believe this is possible."
Unfortunately, the Group stressed, "despite being the beneficiaries
and the demandeurs, we feel increasingly marginalised by our partners
especially when they seem to deny us our own priorities. Perhaps this
is partly our own fault. Perhaps, in our desire for consensus, we have
accommodated too much and this good faith was misunderstood, and abused.
Perhaps this should end now."
"Allow me to close by making one thing clear. Our development partners
may have mistakenly thought that the question that confronts us today
is whether or not we will have an outcome document. Mr President, let
me assure our partners that there WILL be an outcome document. The question
is whether our partners will be able to recapture the positive spirit
with which we embarked on this endeavour, and hence lead us to the consensus
document we all want," said Ambassador Chanvitan.
The Group expressed hope that "our partners will resume engaging
in a positive spirit and the outcome will be a good consensus we can
all be proud of. On the other hand, let us also be comforted by the
reality that at least one group will have an outcome document it will
be happy with."
"The Accra Accord must be reaffirmed and then we build upon it.
The Group has exercised utmost flexibility and has made incredible compromises
- sacrificing issues which are very important to the growth and development
of us developing countries. And at this juncture, the minimum the Group
can live with is the distilled text by the President and his friends
of the Chair," the G77 and China concluded. +
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