Research Paper 7, July 2006

Reinventing UNCTAD.

The establishment of UNCTAD by the UN General Assembly in terms of Resolution 1995 (XIX) of 30 December 1964, was a landmark in the history of the evolution of the United Nations. This new body of the United Nations brought it closest to discharging its Charter functions in the economic and social field and ushered in a golden era of international development co-operation. Alas this era did not last very long, virtually coming to an end by the middle of the 1970’s. But during the brief period it lasted, it brought into full play the huge potential of the provisions of the United Nations Charter in the economic field.

The comprehensive agenda that UNCTAD developed may look like duplicating items on the agenda of other bodies and organizations of the UN system. But this is well within the ambit of the UN Charter, and of UNCTAD as the organ of the UN General Assembly supporting its overarching role under the Charter in the economic field. Besides, as one seasoned representative from the North pointed out, “if UNCTAD has been minding everyone else’s business, perhaps it may stimulate everyone else to get on with their business more effectively”.


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