Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley speaking at today’s signing ceremony at Ilaro Court for the 15th session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). (A.Reid/BGIS)

Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley believes that new thinking and bold action are urgently required if countries are to succeed in their efforts to end poverty, and to provide equal opportunities for all.

Ms. Mottley expressed this view today after signing the Host Country Agreement for the 15th session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), at Ilaro Court. UNCTAD’s Secretary General, Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi, signed the document in Kenya.  

The conference will be held here from April 25 to 30, 2021, under the theme: From Inequality and Vulnerability to Prosperity for All.

The Prime Minister told those gathered at Ilaro Court and online, that during the past few months, ordinary people worldwide had taken to the streets to call for greater equality and social justice.  

She opined that this global phenomenon had put leaders on notice that the disadvantaged and vulnerable of the world were no longer prepared to be marginalised and forgotten, and that citizens everywhere were standing beside them in the call for radical change.

She stated: “I firmly believe that this theme provides us with a real opportunity to address some of these systemic causes of the vast and growing inequalities and the inherent vulnerabilities that we have come to accept as just part and parcel of our reality.  There is nothing that is acceptable about inherent vulnerability or inequality….

“New thinking and bold action are urgently required if we hope to succeed in our efforts to end poverty and to provide equal opportunities for all.”

Ms. Mottley said the COVID-19 global emergency and its extreme repercussions had exposed the need for fundamental rethinking of those assumptions that had guided persons over the last few decades, and had previously underpinned the international economic order.

“It is an order that is no longer servicing the needs of too many of us across the global community.  In a sudden and unexpected way, the crisis has provided the membership of UNCTAD with a unique opportunity to be at the forefront of this new thinking and radical policy corrections that the situation now requires.

“You and I, Secretary-General, share the conviction that UNCTAD 15 must be a transformational conference, with transformational outcomes.  Decisive leadership by our governments is urgently needed, if we are seriously committed to empowering our multilateral institutions to respond to the acute and persistent development challenges of the 21st century,” Ms. Mottley suggested.

Donna Redman, Director of Special Projects at Acute Vision Inc. and designer of the UNCTAD 15 logo. (A.Reid/BGIS)

In his address, Dr. Kituyi said COVID-19 had starkly revealed that global approaches to trade and development must be transformed if they were to chart a sustainable course to a better recovery.

He told his global audience: “But rather than ‘building back better’ as some have called for, we need to re-build entirely from the ground up, because for too many, going back to business as usual is anathema to sustaining prosperity.

“As the number of COVID-19 cases continues its rise in the developing world, the global economy enters a synchronised recession unseen since the Second World War; today, developing countries the world over need the galvanised attention of the international community.  An UNCTAD conference offers just the type of focused attention needed.”

The UNCTAD Secretary General noted that the pandemic had led to economic standstill, closed borders and a severe retrenchment in cross-border economic activity, which had paralysed trade as an engine for sustainable prosperity.

The conference is the highest decision-making body of the UNCTAD and is held every four years. During the meeting, policy makers assess the current trade and development issues, discuss policy options, and formulate global responses to the challenges affecting states, particularly developing states.

The UNCTAD 15 logo was created by Barbadian graphic designer, Donna Redman, Director of Special Projects at Acute Vision Inc., which she co-founded in 1995 with her husband Ricky Redman.

The logo is a graphic representation of the Mahogany tree, which is native to the region, and was designed to reflect that the conference is to be hosted by Barbados.  

The graphic representation contains two component images – a tree and people. There is a visual play on the Mahogany tree’s trunk, which is formed by people. Taken together, the Mahogany tree is symbolic of tenacity and of people reasoning with each other.

Click here to download Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley’s Statement at the signing of the Host Country Agreement for UNCTAD 15.

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