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MEDIA REPORTS

TRADE, FINANCE AND INVESTMENT IN SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

This page was updated on: 01/26/10

 

2005

 

Trade, Finance and Investment Media Reports Archives: 2010; 2009; 2008; 2007; 2006; 2004; 2003; 2002

 

DECEMBER 2005

 

UN CONSIDERS BUDGET FOR 2005 WORLD SUMMIT REFORMS

The cost to the UN budget of implementing the 2005 World Summit reforms would amount to over US$73 million, according to a new reporting from the Secretary-General. The issue was taken up during a fifth committee meeting on 14 December 2005.

 

Links to further information
UN statement, 14 December 2005

 

NOVEMBER 2005

 

HONG KONG TRADE MINISTERIAL APPROACHES; LAMY INTRODUCES DRAFT TEXT

New Director-General Pascal Lamy submitted draft text for the Sixth Ministerial Conference coming up in Hong Kong. Diplomats are seeking to make more limited progress after it became apparent in early November that a more ambitious outcome was unlikely. Talks are continuing, with the latest suggestion being that a high-level summit in early 2006 will be needed to agree on a more far-reaching agreement.

 

Links to further information
Draft text, 26 November 2005

Official WTO Hong Kong ministerial website

 

MICROFINANCE SUPPORT GROWS

Business support for microfinance appears to be on the rise, with the launch of a new corporate consortium to fund microfinance institutions. The Global Commercial Microfinance Consortium has been set up by Deutsche Bank and other financial institutions with a $75 million fund for microfinance institutions. Microfinance provides small loans to help those living in poverty develop their own businesses.

 

Link to further information
WBCSD/Social Funds report, 9 November 2005

 

INTERNET DIVIDE HARMING DEVELOPING WORLD

Limited access to the Internet in many developing countries is placing businesses at a disadvantage compared with competitors in Europe and North America, according to a new UN report. The Information Economy Report 2005, published by the UN Conference on Trade and Development, shows that the digital divide between North and South remains wide, in spite of some progress. For instance, almost nine out of ten businesses in the EU are connected to the Internet, compared with less than one it ten in Thailand.

 

Link to further information
The report

 

OCTOBER 2005

 

RIO CONVENTIONS HEADS CALL FOR SUBSTANTIAL GEF REPLENISHMENT

The fourth replenishment of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), currently under negotiation, will be critical to ensure progress in the key areas of climate change, biodiversity, land degradation, ozone depletion and chemicals management, according to the heads of the Rio Conventions. In consideration of its significant impact, the Executive Heads of the Conventions on Biodiversity, Climate Change, and Desertification have voiced their support for a strong GEF replenishment.  

 

Link to further information

Joint press release, 26 October 2005

 

ECOSOC SELECTS THEME FOR 2006 HIGH-LEVEL SEGMENT

The Economic and Social Council has selected the theme for the high-level segment of its 2006 substantive session: “Creating an environment at the national and international levels conducive to generating full and productive employment and decent work for all, and its impact on sustainable development.”

 

Link to further information

ECOSOC news release, 21 October 2005

 

NEW BENCHMARKS FOR INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY PROPOSED

A new Charter has been launched setting out a framework for how intellectual property could be protected and promoted. The Adelphi Charter on Creativity, Innovation and Intellectual Property was developed by a commission of academics, artists, business experts, economists, lawyers, politicians and scientists. The Charter was launched by the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures & Commerce – or RSA – which was founded in 1754 and is headquartered in London.

 

Links to further information

The Charter

RSA press release, 14 October 2005

 

SEPTEMBER 2005

 

WORLD BANK ASSISTANCE EXAMINED

The effectiveness of the World Bank’s assistance for human and social development was the subject of a recent meeting organized by the Operations Evaluation Department of the World Bank. The meeting, held on 26 September 2005 in Washington DC, provided an opportunity for government officials, civil society and Bank staff to discuss possible improvements to the Bank’s activities.

 

Link to further information

Conference on the Effectiveness of Assistance for Human and Social Development

 

EQUITY FINDS FAVOR IN WORLD BANK REPORT

The need for greater equity and wealth redistribution has been urged in a new World Bank report. The 2006 World Development Report, release in late September 2005, has been applauded by some observers for the emphasis placed on equity as well as economic growth.

 

Links to further information

The report

BBC news report, 20 September 2005

 

FOREIGN INVESTMENT FOCUS DISTORTING AFRICA’S DEVELOPMENT – REPORT

A focus on attracting foreign direct investment could be distorting Africa’s long-term growth potential, according to a new report from the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). The report, Economic Development in Africa, Rethinking the Role of Foreign Direct Investment, argues that a more balanced approach that weighs up local circumstances and both costs and benefits is required if broader development goals are to be achieved. 

 

Link to further information

UNCTAD press release

 

TRADE LIBERALIZATION MUST ACCOUNT FOR ENVIRONMENT – UNEP

Free trade without an environmental perspective can harm developing countries, according to the UN Environment Programme. UNEP has released six new case studies showing that “environmentally-insensitive trade liberalization considerations…. [can cause] economically costly soil degradation, water pollution, loss of biodiversity and destruction of forests.” 

 

Link to further information

UNEP Warns of Trade Liberalisation Failure if Environment Forgotten

 

AUGUST 2005

 

INDIA PROPOSES AMENDING TRIPS AGREEMENT TO PROTECT BIODIVERSITY

India has circulated a letter to trade ministers emphasizing the need for an amendment to the World Trade Organization Agreement on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) in order to protect biodiversity and traditional knowledge, according to reports.

 

“We need to form a common position before the Hong Kong meeting for taking the process towards a logical outcome,” Indian Commerce Minister Kamal Nath emphasized. “India, along with other countries having significant biological diversity, have made their submissions to bring about a mutually-supportive resolution to the objectives of the TRIPs and the CBD,” he added.

 

A nation-wide citizens’ campaign was launched in India on 9 August against patents on life forms and biopiracy to pressure governments to review the TRIPS Agreement.  

 

Links to further information

India calls for biodiversity protection under WTO, Indo-Asian News Service, 29 July 2005
Campaign for review of TRIPS to be launched, The Hindu, 6 August 2005

 

JULY 2005

 

U.N. GLOBAL COMPACT PARTICIPANTS REPORT PROGRESS

The United Nations Global Compact Office has announced the results of the first phase of a policy requiring corporate participants to disclose progress in implementing the Global Compact’s ten principles. The Compact’s “Communication on Progress” policy requires that participants develop an annual disclosure to their stakeholders on implementation actions within two years of joining the Global Compact initiative. Among the results for the 977 companies that have been Global Compact participants for two years are the findings that 98% of the 73 “Financial Times Global 500” companies produced Communications on Progress for their stakeholders, via annual “sustainability,” financial reports or other key communications, while 38% companies overall developed Communications on Progress for their stakeholders.

 

Link to further information

Global Compact news release (15 July 2005).

 

JUNE 2005

 

HELSINKI PROCESS REPORT TACKLES GLOBALIZATION

A new report has been released urging action to make globalization work for all. The report, Mobilizing Political Will, deals with issues of poverty and development, human rights, environment, peace and security, and governance. Recommendations including reviewing the Geneva Convention, seeking agreement on long-term greenhouse gas emissions reductions, reducing agricultural subsidies, and establishing a World Environment Organization and a new UN Human Rights Council. The Helsinki Process was started by the governments of Finland and Tanzania in 2002. The Helsinki Conference, scheduled for 7-9 September 2005, is intended to be the culmination of the Helsinkin Process.

 

Link to further information

Press Release

 

POVERTY, CLIMATE LINKS STRESSED

Climate change, economic development and poverty have an “inseparable relationship,” according to a new report. Global Climate and Economic Development, a new study from the University of Minnesota's Humphrey Institute, links climate change mitigation with economic development.

 

Link to further information

The report

 

MEXICO FIRST COUNTRY TO COMMIT TO GLOBAL COMPACT

Mexican President Vicente Fox has announced that his administration and the country’s entire public sector would adhere to the principles outlined in UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Global Compact. The announcement, made on 9 June 2005, marked the first time a government had committed itself to the principles, which are the basis for an initiative launched in 2000. The Global Compact brings companies together with UN agencies, labor and civil society to support universal environmental and social principles.

 

Links to further information

Global Compact website
“Government of Mexico World’s First to Adhere to United Nations’ Global Compact for Social Responsibility,” UN press release, 10 June 2005

 

EUROPEAN INVESTMENT BANK ENERGY FUNDING CRITICIZED

The European Investment Bank has been investing in “highly unsustainable” projects, according to a coalition of non-governmental organizations. The EIB is the EU’s financing institution and the world’s largest public lender. The EIB has rejected previous accusations, highlighting its environmental objectives and support for renewable energy.

 

Link to further information

NGO coalition press release, 2 June 2005

 

MAY 2005

 

TRADE RULES CHALLENGE HEALTH, ENVIRONMENT SAFEGUARDS – REPORT

National laws protecting the environment and people’s health could be at risk of being undermined by new World Trade Organization rules, according a new report from Friends of the Earth International. The report.

 

WTO AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE CHAIRMANSHIP IN DOUBT

The future of the current Chair of the WTO’s Agriculture Committee has been put in doubt by domestic political considerations. New Zealand’s ambassador to the World Trade Organization, Tim Groser, who has been chairing critical WTO talks on agriculture, recently announced his intention to stand in upcoming elections in New Zealand for the center-right National Party, the main opposition party. Under government rules, public servants must stand down from their current jobs to stand for parliament. Groser will be stepping aside as New Zealand’s ambassador. His future as chair of the WTO Committee remains uncertain, with consultations set for early June.

 

Link to further information

TVNZ online news report, 23 May 2005.

 

UN OFFICIAL CAUTIONS WTO ON FOOD AID

New rules on agriculture being negotiated under the World Trade Organization’s Doha round of talks could increase child hunger and starvation if the need for food aid is not taken into account, a senior UN official has warned. James Morris, who heads the World Food Programme, has warden that “disciplines” on food aid being discussed in the WTO should ensure that food aid continues to reach those who need it. He expressed concerns that food aid declined by 30 percent between 2003 and 2004.

 

Links to further information

WFP chief urges WTO to support food aid in Doha Round, WFP press release, 9 May 2005

UN warns WTO farm talks could worsen food crisis, Reuters news, 9 May 2005

 

PARIS MINISTERIAL MOVES AHEAD ON AGRICULTURE TRADE TALKS

Ministers attending a meeting in Paris have apparently made progress in trade talks on agriculture The gathering, which took place on 4 May, reportedly moved ahead on the issue of “ad valorem equivalents”—a technical matter that had slowed talks on agriculture in the WTO Doha round for some time. The breakthrough follows recent warnings from WTO Director-General Supachai Panitchpakdi that time was running out to achieve a deal on the Doha trade round in time for the December 2005 ministerial meeting in Hong Kong.

 

Links to further information

ICTSD Bridges Weekly Trade News Digest, 11 May 2005

WTO Director-General’s speech, 4 May 2005

 

RACE TO HEAD WTO ENTERS FINAL STAGE

The competition to head the World Trade Organization has heated-up in recent weeks, as the number of contestants has been whittled down to just two candidates. Java Krishna Cuttaree of Mauritius was the latest to drop out of the race, leaving only Pascal Lamy of France and Uruguay’s Carlos Perez del Castillo still in the running. With the new Director-General supposed to be agreed by the end of May, Pascal Lamy is apparently considered the frontrunner for the Geneva-based job.

 

APRIL 2005

 

ENVIRONMENTAL LAWS THREATENED BY TRADE TALKS, CLAIMS LOBBY GROUP

National laws to protect the environment, social wellbeing and health could be put at risk by new rules being discussed by the World Trade Organization, according to Friends of the Earth. The environment organization has alleged that Japan, the US and others are considering using WTO negotiations to weaken national laws protecting the environment.

 

Links to further information

Summary of analysis of notifications of non-tariff barriers in Non-agricultural Market Access (NAMA) negotiations of the World Trade Organization (PDF format)

Summary of analysis of notifications of non-tariff barriers in Non-agricultural Market Access (NAMA) negotiations of the World Trade Organization (Word format)

 

 

WTO HEAD CALLS FOR “SUBSTANTIAL PROGRESS” BY JULY

World Trade Organization Director-General Supachai Panitchpakdi has called on negotiators to make significant progress by the end of July 2005 to ensure that the end-of-year Ministerial meeting in Hong Kong is a success. “An immense amount of progress [needs] to be made in a very short time if we are to achieve our objectives for Hong Kong,” Panitchpakdi told participants at the 10th Geneva Week for non-resident members and observers in early April. He also advised that more frequent meetings and consultations would be needed. The Director-General’s speech.

 

MARCH 2005

 

WOLFOWITZ NOMINATED FOR WORLD BANK TOP JOB

United States President George W. Bush has nominated Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz to replace James Wolfensohn as head of the World Bank. Wolfowitz, who was a strong advocate of the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, is widely viewed as a foreign policy hawk. Explaining the rationale behind his nomination, President Bush described Wolfowitz as a “skilled diplomat,” who was also a “compassionate, decent man.” However, some commentators have expressed concern that Wolfowitz could be seen as a controversial choice for the World Bank role. The top job at the Bank is generally held by an American.

 

Links to further information

President’s Press Conference, 16 March 2005

Wolfowitz nominated for World Bank job, BBC news, 16 March 2005

 

PROGRESS REPORTED FROM DOHA TRADE TALKS

Progress has been reported from recent discussions to advance the Doha Round of trade negotiations. A “mini-ministerial” meeting held in Mombasa, Kenya from 2-4 March 2005 involving 30 key member countries reportedly made limited progress, although differences continued over agricultural issues and various other matters. However, Tim Groser, the New Zealander chairing agriculture committee talks, reported progress from informal meetings held the following week in Geneva, on 14 and 15 March.

 

Links to further information

ICTSD Bridges Weekly Trade News Digest, Volume 9, Numbers 7 and 8

 

FEBRUARY 2005

 

REGIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL AGREEMENTS APPROVED

Members of a regional free trade group have signed two agreements aimed at strengthening environmental protection in the region. Five countries belonging to the Central American Free Trade Agreement, the Dominican Republic and the United States reportedly inked the deal on 18 February. The agreements will establish a secretariat that will address public complaints about government breaches of environmental law. The agreement has yet to be approved by the US Congress.

 

Links to further information

US, CAFTA-DR Sign FTA-Related Environmental Accords, Bridges Weekly Trade News Digest, 23 February 2005

DR-CAFTA Official Final Text, February 2005

 

JANUARY 2005

 

EC SEEKS INPUT ON FUTURE OF EU DEVELOPMENT POLICY

The European Commission is seeking views from stakeholders concerning issues that should inform the revision of the current European Community development policy. A new policy proposal will be made in the first half of 2005, aimed at providing a vision for long term reflection and positioning of the EU in the international development debate, and laying out a framework to guide the implementation of EU development assistance. The EC has launched an internet consultation that will run until 2 March 2005 in order to reach a wide range of development partners. Results of the consultations will be published by April 2005.

 

Links to further information

EC consults stakeholders on future of EU development policy, 25 January 2005

Questionnaire
Issues paper on EU development policy
 

WTO CANDIDATES PRESS THEIR CLAIMS

World Trade Organization members have heard introductory speeches from the four candidates seeking to be the next director-general. In a General Council meeting held on 26 January, delegates heard the candidates press their claims to succeed Supachai Panitchpadki as the next director-general. All four stressed development issues and the Doha trade round as priorities. While Europe’s candidate, Pascal Lamy, is widely seen as an early frontrunner, most observers believe it is too soon to predict who will secure the post. A decision is expected in May.

 

Links to further information

WTO Director-General Selection Process (including candidate biographies and statements), WTO website, January 2005

 

DISCRIMINATORY DEALS THREATEN TRADE SYSTEM, REPORT FINDS

The rise in discriminatory trade pacts around the world poses a major threat to the World Trade Organization, according to a new report. Regional and bilateral trade agreements and other deals are undermining the multilateral work of the WTO by eroding the principle of non-discrimination in international trade, according to a new report on The Future of the WTO: Addressing Institutional Challenges in the New Millennium. The report, which was released in January 2005, marks the tenth anniversary of the WTO, which formally came into being on 1 January 1995. The report considers a range of issues, including the case for liberalizing trade, the erosion of non-discrimination, as well as issues of sovereignty, transparency, intergovernmental cooperation, the WTO dispute settlement system, and the role of the Director-General and Secretariat.

 

The report concludes with recommendations for a number of “realizable reforms,” including the need to limit preferential trade agreements and establish better global governance. It also contains specific recommendations concerning dialogue with civil society, dispute settlement, and organizational changes. The report was authored by a consultative board of eminent academics, international officials and businesspeople. It was chaired by Peter Sutherland, the current chair of BP and Goldman Sachs International. The report.

 

RACE TO HEAD WTO HEATS UP

The race to become the next Director-General of the World Trade Organization is heating up, with four candidates throwing their hats into the ring. At this stage, the most prominent applicant appears to be Frenchman Pascal Lamy, the European Union’s outgoing trade commissioner. The other contenders are Carlos Pérez del Castillo of Uruguay, Luiz Felipe de Seixas Corrêa of Brazil, and Mauritius’s Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Jayakrishna Cuttaree. The deadline for applications was 31 December 2004.

 

The successful candidate will replace Supachai Panitchpakdi, whose term runs out in August 2005. However, observers point out that, with many months of lobbying left, the race remains wide open. Already, the jockeying seems to have started, with Australia’s government refusing to rule out supporting Lamy, in spite of Australia’s membership of the Cairns Group of countries, which also includes Uruguay. Brazil’s candidate can expect to be supported by fellow members of the G20 negotiating group, which also includes South Africa, India and China.

 

In 1999, fierce competition for the post resulted in a lengthy deadlock between former New Zealand Prime Minister Mike Moore, and Thailand’s Supachai Panitchpakdi. The eventual compromise gave Moore three years in the post, followed by a three-year term for Panitchpakdi. Delegates are planning to make a decision on Panitchpakdi�s successor in May. All the contenders are slated to address the WTO General Council and civil society groups on 26 January.

 

Links to further information

Canberra may defy ally over WTO job, The Australian, 5 January 2005

Nominations for top WTO job come in, Trade Law Center for Southern Africa, 7 Dec 2004

Race for World Trade Job seen close, Reuters, 31 December 2004

 

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