International trade ministers at this week's World Trade Organization (WTO) meeting need to achieve results that truly benefit the developing nations, particularly in light of the 11 September events, the head of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) said today."There is a sense that the globalized world is an increasingly unfair one, where around 2.8 billion people - almost half of the world's population - live on less than $2 a day," Mark Malloch Brown said, stressing that nonetheless, the potential that globalization offered to developing countries was real. "The ability to leapfrog decades, to recapture lost ground, to redeem long-standing promises of prosperity to the people, is available.
The fourth WTO ministerial meeting in Doha, Qatar, from 9 to 13 November, should find real solutions to outstanding problems and other unresolved trade issues, Mr. Malloch Brown said. This is particularly true in areas like technology transfer and intellectual property that have so far delivered much less than promised for developing countries. "A trade round that fails to address key issues for developing countries will be very problematic," he added.
A background paper prepared for the UNDP Trade and Sustainable Development Project argues that imported blueprints rarely spark economic growth, and that opening up countries' economies for trade is hardly ever critical at the outset.
A development-friendly trading regime, the paper argues, would evaluate demands of institutional reform by poor countries not from the perspective of integration into the world trading system but from that of development: "what do countries need to do to achieve broad-based,equitable economic growth?" The paper, The Global Governance of Trade: As if Development Really Mattered, says that a reinvigorated focus on development and poverty alleviation would have far-reaching implications for the way the international trading regime and the WTO function. Shifting to a development focus would foster a more development-friendly international economic environment, the paper says. "Countries would be able to use trade as a means for development, rather than being forced to view trade as an end in itself."