UNCTAD Secretary-General, Mukhisa Kituyi, encouraged countries of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States to move beyond "business as usual" in crafting new economic policies, new intra-ACP commercial relations and strengthening political solidarity to promote sustainable development and eradicate poverty.
Dr. Kituyi participated in the 8th ACP Summit of Heads of State and Government, held in Port Moresby, from 30 May to 1 June 2016 and hosted by the Government of Papua New Guinea).
The ACP Summit has been held every 5 years since the creation of the group in 1975. The 8th session was attended by all 75 Member States of the ACP Group at the level of Heads or Deputy Heads of State or Government, Foreign Affairs Ministers, Ambassadors, international and regional organizations, and special guests.
The Secretary-General took part in the Summit interactive dialogue with the Heads of State and Government on the summit theme of "Repositioning the ACP Group to respond to the challenges of sustainable development".
He also intervened at side events on sustainable agriculture and food security organized jointly by the ACP Secretariat and the ACP-EU Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA); and a consultation on women's economic empowerment organized by the secretariat of the UN Secretary-General's High-level Panel on Women's Economic Empowerment and UN Women in Papua New Guinea.
Dr. Kituyi stressed the role of the developmental state in fostering trade and investment growth that is inclusive, sustainable and equitable, including through empowering gender and youth.
He highlighted the powerful role of technology in connecting the rural power to mainstream economic development and finance including through mobile telephony.
He added that persistent and new challenges necessitate a fundamental re-thinking and re-positioning of ACP Group toward more intra-ACP trade, investment and political dialogue and collaboration and greater attention to South-South cooperation in general as a compliment to the North-South relations that have dominated ACP attention since the formation of the group 40 years ago. These included the rise of mega-regionals such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, decline in traditional preferences and transition to more reciprocal agreements such as Economic Partnership Agreements, and the challenge of migration faced by traditional donor partners like the EU.
Such intra-ACP revival is all the more important to harness and unleash the combine economic knowledge, skills, resources and cultures of ACP States to face up to the challenge of implementing Agenda 2030 and the sustainable development goals (SDGs).
Closer ACP collaboration is particularly apt in the case of LDCs and Small Island Developing States in addressing global challenge of climate change, rising sea levels and natural disasters and putting in place development strategies that are climate friendly and environmentally resilient.
Secretary-General Kituyi urged the ACP to raise their collective voice on gender sensitization of trade and economic policies including by supporting women owned SMEs; allowing women to own the agricultural commodities they produce and supporting them in marketing such produce; and facilitating their access to finance, expertise and knowledge.
Parallel to the Summit, Dr Kituyi and the Minister of Trade, Commerce and Industry of PNG, Mr. Richard Maru, met and discussed trade priorities affecting PNG and UNCTAD 14.
They agreed to formulate and sign at UNCTAD 14 a memorandum of understanding on UNCTAD assistance on trade and investment policy development and implementation, consistent with PNG's national priorities for achieving the SDGs and agenda 2030, including through enterprise development and improvement of value-added supply capacity.
The Secretary-General also took the opportunity to visit the UNCTAD-supported ASYCUDA project team in PNG Customs Service where he was updated on ASYCUDA in PNG and encouraged the team to move quickly into the implementation of ASYCUDA World version.