Key UN trade meeting kicks off in Kenya amid calls to cut inequality
17 July 2016, 22:45
Nairobi (Xinhua) -- The 14th session of the UN
Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) kicked off in
Nairobi on Sunday amid calls from delegates for governments to
reduce global economic inequality.
The week-long event on shaping prosperity for all and reigniting
the engines of sustainable development will be discussing issues
affecting the global economy, including ways in which African
countries can reduce over-dependence on the sale of
The conference which was officially opened in Nairobi by UN
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is also focusing on how developing
countries can position themselves for benefits of global trade.
In his opening remarks, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta called
for strengthening of UNCTAD so that it plays a bigger role in
bringing global prosperity.
"The huge responsibilities with which we members entrusted
UNCTAD in 1964 are more relevant today than before. Let our
commitment to this organization therefore grow, rather than
diminish," Kenyatta told more than 7,000 delegates from across the
Kenyatta called for strengthened global partnership to achieve
the socioeconomic goals set for the world including the Sustainable
"UNCTAD 14 is a wonderful opportunity to exchange views on how
these milestone decisions can be translated into action," he said,
urging for more actions to translate promises into achievements
that benefit people.
The conference is aimed at shaping policy debates to ensure that
domestic policies and international actions in trade contribute to
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and the Secretary
General of UNCTAD urged the participants at the conference to come
up with agreements that will restore trust in the global economy
and contribute to prosperity for all.
Ban said UNCTAD has a vital role to play in implementing the
interdependent and holistic agenda to achieve global prosperity
Ban also said the global economic slowdown had created need for
new policies to make trade more vibrant and called on all countries
present at the conference to adopt policies that promote
"High inequality, stagnant incomes, not enough jobs especially
for the youth and too little cause for optimism stoke litigate
fears for the future for many in all the regions," he said during
the opening ceremony.
He expressed concern about the fact that the global trade slow
down and lack of productive investment had sharpened the divide
between countries that have benefited and those that feel left
UNCTAD Secretary General Mukhisa Kituyi said the holding of the
conference in Kenya was a statement of endorsement of the country's
achievement in how to optimize economic opportunities.
Kituyi said UNCTAD 14 is being held at a time there is optimism
for global prosperity following the adoption of the Sustainable
Development Goals at the 2015 UN General Assembly.
Kituyi said it was time for world leaders to stop the rhetoric
and focus on making changes that boost sustainable development.
"Previous conferences have set out the script for us not to make
any new promises but to seek to keep the promises already made. We
look to this meeting as the first major United Nations development
meeting to start charting the way of implementation, from decision
to action," Kituyi said.
This is the second time the UNCTAD conference is being held in
Nairobi with the first one in 1976. These are the only two times
the UNCTAD summit has been held in Africa.