On 30 December 1964, the first session of the Conference on development, trade, investment and technology transfer – UNCTAD — was held in Geneva (Switzerland) . Since then, for nearly half a century, UNCTAD is the principal organ of the UN General Assembly in the field of trade and development.
Thirteen sessions of UNCTAD have been held since the inception of the Conference. The Conference meets at least once every four years. The latest session on “Development-centred globalization: Towards inclusive and sustainable growth and development” was held in 2012 in Doha (Qatar).The Belarusian delegation comprising representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Economy and National agency of investment and privatization took part in the working session.
The creation of UNCTAD in 1964 initiated the restructuring of international economic relations and closer economic cooperation between the developed and developing countries. The Doha Mandate and the Doha Manar adopted at the last session of the Conference in Doha confirmed the ever-increasing desire of developing countries to participate fully in international trade and economic relations.
Today the main Conference’s goal is to promote integration of developing countries and countries with economies in transition into the global economy and its development through trade and investments. To this end, continuous analysis is made in accordance with the specific needs of member states. UNCTAD member states are provided with seminars and courses, thematic projects of technical assistance.
The Conference activities are embodied in three basic forms: intergovernmental dialogue on urgent issues on the international economic agenda, analytical work and technical cooperation. UNCTAD does not work on regulatory arrangements, mandatory for all members of the organization. Its activities are advisory by nature.
UNCTAD consists of 193 states. Belarus joined the organization in 1964. The BSSR was one of the initiators of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, and since the founding of the organization it has been actively involved in its various bodies.
Membership in UNCTAD is one of the priority areas for Belarus in cooperation with international financial and economic institutions.
On 27 July 2010, the Government of Belarus and UNCTAD signed The Memorandum of Understanding on the priority areas of cooperation in the field of international trade, investment and development. The memorandum guarantees assistance from UNCTAD in attracting investments to Belarus and technical assistance to Belarus' accession to the WTO.
For Belarus, the membership of UNCTAD is a real opportunity to raise international community and investors’ awareness of investment opportunities in our country. Its prospects are confirmed by the Presentation of UNCTAD's Investment Policy Review of the Republic of Belarus (April, 2010). At present, the work is underway to implement the recommendations of the Investment Policy Review of the Republic of Belarus.
Belarus cooperates with UNCTAD in the academic field as well. The UNCTAD Virtual Institute – International Education and Research Network on Trade and Development – unites 31 largest universities of the world. Therefore, great attention is paid to participation in the project “Virtual Institute” in 2007, of the Belarusian State Economic University. Jointly with UNCTAD, teachers and students of Belarusian State Economic University hold training seminars, lectures, discussion of problems of the world economy. The library of the University is regularly replenished with up-to-date UNCTAD materials. In 2008, the Center for International Studies of the Belarusian State University was included in the global network of UNCTAD-launched think tanks on development issues.
The Republic of Belarus aims to join the World Trade Organization and attract investments into the Belarusian economy. In connection with that, the Republic of Belarus has repeatedly held regional seminars by UNCTAD. The main topics of these seminars have become an agricultural aspect of the negotiations on Belarus' accession to the WTO, international investment agreements. In November 2012, with the support of UNCTAD expert was held a workshop in Minsk on the Settlement of Investment Disputes.
An important event in 2012 was the participation of the Deputy Secretary-General of UNCTAD Mr. Draganov in the VII Belarusian Investment Forum (15-16th November, 2012, Minsk). As part of Mr.Draganov’s stay in Minsk, he met with Minister of Economy of the Republic of Belarus Mr. Snopkov and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus Mr. Aleinik. The prospects for expanding bilateral cooperation, the issues of attracting investment in our country, as well as the possibility of UNCTAD in providing technical assistance in this area, were discussed.