DG Azevêdo said:
“Our organizations share a common goal of helping developing countries, and especially the least-developed countries, integrate into the global economy. This declaration reaffirms and strengthens the collaboration of our two organizations to keep on promoting trade as a tool for development.”
UNCTAD SG Kituyi said:
“New momentum is needed if LDCs are to reach a 2% share of world trade by 2020, as called for in the Istanbul Programme of Action. Closer collaboration between UNCTAD and the WTO is an important step in that direction.”
The signing ceremony for the joint declaration took place just before the start of an event on trade and development organized in connection with the WTO's 20th anniversary.
At the event, entitled "Twenty years of supporting the integration of least developed countries into the multilateral trading system", WTO members discussed what has been achieved so far to help integrate least developed countries (LDCs) into the multilateral trading system and what members can aim to deliver in the future.
In his opening remarks, DG Azevêdo said: “LDC integration into the multilateral trading system is a priority for the WTO — and a priority for me, personally … We need to go further, faster, to support the integration of LDCs into the trading system, and to boost their capacity to trade.”
DG Azevêdo's full remarks are available here.
Secretary-General Kituyi said: “As we celebrate twenty years of achievement, we recognize that many least developed countries are still commodity dependent, which therefore exposes them to the vulnerabilities of the boom and bust cycle.”
The event was chaired by Ambassador Roderick van Schreven (Netherlands), Chairman of the Sub-Committee on LDCs. The discussion took stock of the key developments and decisions taken in favour of LDCs, the institutional support provided to these countries and the trade capacity-building initiatives that have been put in place. The event also looked ahead to how the WTO and the international community can help LDCs overcome the remaining challenges in integrating into the multilateral trading system. This included a discussion of possible measures that could be considered for LDCs at the Tenth WTO Ministerial Conference, to be held in Nairobi in December this year.
There are at present 48 LDCs, as designated by the United Nations, out of which 34 are WTO members and another eight are in the process of acceding to the WTO. The LDC WTO members account for more than one-fifth of the WTO membership.
More information on the event is available here.