Gamani COREA (Chairman, 2002-2003)

Gamani Corea, Sri Lanka, attended the University of Ceylon, following which he studied at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge University and Nuffield College, Oxford University. He held a DPhil degree in economics from Oxford University.

His career at the national level had included tenures with the Planning Secretariat and eventually the Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs, where he held the post of Permanent Secretary (1965-1970), and with the Central Bank of Ceylon, where he held the post of Deputy Governor (1970-1973). Mr. Corea was ambassador of his country to the European Economic Community (EEC) and Benelux countries (1973).

His deep involvement in the multilateral scene and United Nations (UN) development agenda began with his engagement as a member of the team of experts which helped to prepare the first session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD I) under the leadership of Raúl Prebisch (1963-1964). He was a member of the UN Committee on Development Planning (1965-1972) and, following Professor Jan Tinbergen, the Chairman of the Committee (1972-1974). Mr. Corea was the Secretary-General of UNCTAD from 1974 to 1984.

Among many other important functions in the multilateral system, Mr. Corea was the independent chairman of the UN Cocoa Conference (1972), Chairman of the Founex Expert Group on Development and Environment (1971) that met in preparation for the UN Conference on the Human Environment (UNCHE), Chairman of UNCTAD Expert Groups on International Monetary Issues (1965 and 1969), Chairman of the UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries (1981), and Chairman of the UN General Assembly’s Ad Hoc Committee of the Whole on the International Development Strategy for the Fourth United Nations Development Decade (1989-90).

Mr. Corea had played a very active and central role in different domains of South-South cooperation. He was the drafter of the resolution which launched the Group of 77 at the conclusion of UNCTAD I in 1964.

Mr. Corea was a member of the South Commission (1987-1990), member of the Board of the South Centre (1995-1998), and Chairman of the South Centre’s Policy and Research Committee (1998-2001). Mr. Corea played an active part in directing and supervising the work of the South Centre.

He chaired the South Centre’s Group of Experts on Financing for Development (2001), and prepared a paper which was submitted to the Group of 77 to assist it in its participation in the work of the Preparatory Committee for the UN Conference on Financing for Development. He had chaired the NAM Ad Hoc Advisory Group of Experts on Debt (1993-1994) and the NAM  Ad Hoc Panel of Economists (1997-1998), submitting its report to the XII Non-Aligned Movement Summit held in 1998 in Durban, South Africa.

Mr. Corea had remained active on the multilateral scene. He had played an active role in the regional mechanisms for South-South cooperation, and in particular South Asian Association for Regional Co-Operation (SAARC). He addressed UNCTAD X in Bangkok (2000), in his capacity as a former Secretary-General of UNCTAD, and made a statement on the occasion of marking the 100th anniversary of the birth of Dr. Raúl Prebisch (2001).

Mr. Corea had written extensively, and had published many articles and books. A Festschrift honouring Gamani Corea, edited by Sidney Dell, was published under the title Policies for Development, Macmillan in 1991.

Mr. Corea occupied many honorary, academic, civic and advisory posts in Sri Lanka, including that of the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Institute of Policy Studies and Chancellor of the Open University of Sri Lanka, as well as positions abroad, including that of Honorary Fellow, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge University. He held several honorary doctorates, decorations and awards.

Mr. Corea passed away on 3 November 2013.


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