Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Trade, Sandra Husbands. (FP)

The Bridgetown Covenant was finalised today, Wednesday, October 6, as the 15th Session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD 15) continued.

But, work on the political declarations is still ongoing, as the four-day hybrid conference seeks to wrap up tomorrow, Thursday, October 7.

Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Trade, Sandra Husbands, provided this update during a virtual press briefing from Geneva, where she is negotiating on behalf of Barbados.

Ms. Husbands said: “Today, we worked on completing the Bridgetown Covenant…. We were able to gavel the Bridgetown Covenant within the Committee of the whole… And to all our member states, their representatives worked hard; they worked together and they were able to eventually produce a document that everyone felt they could get behind.”

She added that it was her understanding this was the first time the Covenant or outcomes document, which formed part of the working programme, was finished so early.

However, she noted that work was continuing on the Political Declaration with member states expected to report back so they could proceed with what needed to be done ahead of the end of the conference.

The Minister described UNCTAD 15 as “historic”, noting that it was the first conference to be held virtually; had the first UNCTAD Secretariat to be headed by a female, and saw Barbados being the first small island developing state to have a President of the Conference.

Host of the press briefing, and Chief of the UNCTAD New York Office, Chantalhine Carpentier, gave an overview of the three ministerial roundtable sessions held today at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

The first session, she said, dealt with Scaling up Financing for Development, where the key issue of debt, financing for development and the global economic architecture and who makes decisions on these major issues, were examined.

That session was followed by the second ministerial roundtable which addressed reshaping global and regional value chains for recovery.

The third roundtable focused on the uneven recoveries from the COVID-19 pandemic, and how regional economic integration was more critical now than ever to help developing countries.

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