Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Rebeca Grynspan, speaking during a media conference held today at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre. (E. Brooks/BGIS)

Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Rebeca Grynspan, believes this year’s event will be play a key role in the development of solutions to several challenges affecting the global community.

She expressed this view during a media conference held today at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Conference Centre, where the three-day international event is being held.

Emphasising the importance of global cooperation in addressing matters such as climate change and economic recovery, Ms. Grynspan said she was optimistic that the discussions tabled during UNCTAD15 would help inform those to be held at other international fora, such as the upcoming World Trade Organisation Ministerial Meeting.

“The important thing is that we need to bring that voice to a place where we discuss the solutions… so that interdependence needs to have a place where we discuss, where we dialogue, when we build for the future. And I think we are well placed in the areas that we have the expertise to really make a contribution in that sense. And take advantage of the opportunities that we, the digital revolution, [have]. It’s a challenge due to the inequalities, but it’s a huge opportunity.”

She added that it could also pave the way for fresh discussions on the diversification of the global economy, suggesting there needed to be emphasis on innovation and non-traditional areas including  renewable energy, the marine environment, and the productive and creative sectors.

The UNCTAD Secretary-General also posited that the conference would provide small island developing states with a much needed voice, as she praised Barbados’ hosting of the event.

Barbados is the first small island developing state and Caribbean country to organise and host the global conference; a move which Ms. Grynspan highlighted as significant, because it “puts the agenda of SIDS in the centre of the discussion”.

A record 139 countries are participating in the conference despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, thanks to the use of technology.

Representatives have been contributing through recorded messages, and real time online panel discussions. UNCTAD15 is being held in Barbados from October 4 to 7.

nya.phillips@barbados.gov.bb

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