Unctad and global finance: G77 issues stunning rebuff to rich countries


Although this is not purely of interest to Europe, it is of tremendous interest to Europe. Some of its member states are believed to be perpetrators in this little-reported (but fundamentally important) struggle now playing out in Qatar.

The Tax Justice Network has just blogged a dramatic statement by senior and highly respected former staff members of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), highlighting what appear to be attempts by the global financial services industries, via their representatives in developed country governments to neuter UNCTAD’s analysis of financial globalisation, which has often stood out against the prevailing financial orthodoxy.

Now, courtesy of David Spencer, here is an even more dramatic statement on the same issue, issued on Friday.

The statement is entitled Statement by H.E. Ambassador Pisanu Chanvitan On behalf of the G77 and China Preparatory Committee, At the Preparatory Committee of UNCTAD XIII, 13 April 2012, Room XXVI, Palais des Nations, and it begins as follows:

“It is with deep regret that I make this intervention because it means the current situation warrants some very candid words from the Group of 77 and China. It means that we have reached the point where high diplomacy – the finest diplomacy – is needed. It also means that the time for candor is needed more than ever. I will therefore be clear and candid.”

Paragraph 2 reads:

“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.”

And it does not let up. Paragraph 3:

As a result, 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 marginalize developing countries from informed decision-making. I have to be blunt and single out the handling of the JIU issue by one coordinator as reminiscent of the darkest days of the North-South divide.

And there is a whole lot more. Now read on.