The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) XIV conference will be held from 17th-22nd July 2016 at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC), in Nairobi. This follows the decision of the UNCTAD Trade and Development Board on 17th November 2015, accepting Kenya’s offer to host the Conference. Initially, UNCTAD XIV was to be hosted in Lima, Peru, but the Government of Peru withdrew its offer. In furtherance of our strategic geo-political, economic and diplomatic objectives, Kenya offered to host the Conference.
This is the second time the UNCTAD conference is being hosted in Kenya 40 years since the fourth (4th) session was successfully hosted in May 1976, in Nairobi. It is a special honour to Kenya in particular, to the East African region, and to the continent at large to host this very important conference.
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) is the principal organ of the United Nations General Assembly dealing with trade, investment, and development issues. UNCTAD was established in 1964 to provide a forum where the developing countries could discuss the challenges and opportunities relating to their economic development.
The organization was founded on the premise that existing institutions like GATT (now replaced by the World Trade Organization, WTO), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and World Bank were not properly organized to handle the particular problems of developing countries. Later, in the 1970s and 1980s, UNCTAD was closely associated with the idea of a New International Economic Order (NIEO). Currently the organization has a membership 194 member States, where Kenya is among the pioneer member states.
UNCTAD holds ministerial conferences every four years to discuss major global economic issues and to decide on its programme of work. It also holds discussions with civil society, including at an annual symposium where members of the public can express their views and interact with country representatives. Every two years, UNCTAD organizes the World Investment Forum, which brings together major players from the international investment community to discuss challenges and opportunities and to promote investment policies and partnerships for sustainable development and equitable growth.
The first UNCTAD conference took place in Geneva in 1964, the second in New Delhi in 1968, the third in Santiago in 1972, fourth in Nairobi in 1976, the fifth in Manila in 1979, the sixth in Belgrade in 1983, the seventh in Geneva in 1987, the eighth in Cartagena in 1992, the ninth at Johannesburg (South Africa) in 1996, the tenth in Bangkok (Thailand) in 2000, the eleventh in São Paulo (Brazil) in 2004, the twelfth in Accra in 2008 and the thirteenth in Doha (Qatar) in 2012.
The theme of UNCTAD XIV will be ‘Translating Agenda 2030 Decisions into Actions’. This is the first UNCTAD Conference after the adoption of Agenda 2030 and Sustainable Development Goals in September 2015. It will therefore seek to operationalize the synergies that exist between various outcomes including; the 10th WTO Ministerial Conference, COP21 on Climate Change, as well as the International Conference on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa, last year.