UNCTAD: UN Conference on Trade & Development


Committee Overview:

Following the events of World War II, the rapid decolonization of colonial empires around the world led to a swell of brand-new countries that were welcomed to the United Nations. Furthermore, the growing rivalry between the two Cold War powers and the high cost of allying with either led to the establishment of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). Many of the states that were part of the NAM were newly independent and still developing post-colonial countries. This group of developing countries then moved to establish the Conference on Problems for Developing Countries, held in Cairo in 1962, at which they called for an “international conference within the framework of the UN on all vital questions related to international trade, primary commodity trade and economic relations between developing and developed countries.” The consensus reached at this conference resulted in the first meeting of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in Geneva, Switzerland in 1964.

Topic: Climate Change and the Global Economy

In a study published in 2014 by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), it was stated that if current environmental trends continue, the global temperature could increase by at least six degrees Celsius in the next decade. This massive increase has the ability to damage many areas of the global economy, including the five main sectors of the global economy. The increase in temperature felt throughout the world can be attributed to the heightened use of fossil fuels during the First Industrial Revolution. These emissions have only increased in the decades since. In this era, market economies around the world rely on fossil fuel-dependent industries. Furthermore, producers attempting to be sustainable oftentimes pay a premium which in the long run can severely hamper their efforts to provide sustainable, continuous means of power which continues to attribute to the rising temperatures of the last century. Without proper steps to mitigate the increasing threat of climate change, various areas around the world will face negative economic impacts, with countries’ gross domestic products (GDPs). shrinking from between 1.6% and 5.2%. A substantial drop in GDP could result in potential economic recessions with global impacts, not unlike the global recession that started in 2010. This could impact the global economy through stress on trade agreements, in which the affected country’s lack of production can impact another state’s economy.