United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) was established in 1964 as a permanent organ of the UN General Assembly to promote international trade, with an emphasis on speeding the economic development of developing nations. Total membership (1996) was 188 nation states, including Canada. As the central UN body concerned with promoting development through trade and investment, UNCTAD attempts to ensure that the concerns of weaker countries are taken into account in international decision making on trade, finance, technology and investment. Further, it assists developing nations and countries in transition to a market economy to make the best possible use of opportunities created by the globalization and liberalization of markets, by reviewing and designing development policies, providing technical assistance in trade-related fields, and supporting the creation of competitive and small- and medium-sized enterprises.
UNCTAD's operating budget of US $55 million (1996) is drawn from the UN's regular budget. Technical assistance is funded separately by donor countries (US $22 million in 1996). The permanent machinery of UNCTAD consists of the Trade and Development Board which has 3 subsidiary commissions dealing respectively with trade in goods and services, and commodities; investment, technology and related financial issues; enterprise, business facilitation and development. The UNCTAD secretariat, located in Geneva, Switzerland, is headed by a secretary-general (Mr. Rubens Ricupero of Brazil). UNCTAD's main publications include the annual World Investment Report.