Development of Productive Capacities and Trade: the Key to Inclusive and Sustainable Growth

During this side-event to the LDC IV conference in Istanbul, ILO and other member agencies of the UN Cluster on Trade and Productive Capacity will present a joint concept note outlining their view on the importance of trade and productive capacity for LDCs. They will also sign a framework document for a new multi-agency trade support project for LDCs financed by Switzerland.

Programme and Participants

For the first time within the UN system, a Cluster of fifteen UN agencies, including the WTO, present

After an opening speech by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, fifteen member agencies of the cluster, including the WTO, will present a joint concept note entitled “Development of Productive Capacity and Trade: The Key to Inclusive and Sustainable Growth”. This note presents a joint vision of the agencies on the critical role of trade and productive capacity to achieve sustainable growth and poverty reduction in LDCs. The note argues that socio-economic progress in LDCs has often been hampered by insufficient attention to the production sectors as the basis of social and economic development. It also states that the creation of decent employment should be at the centre of a holistic and coherent strategy for trade and the development of productive capacity.

At the end of this Special Event, there will be the presentation and signature of the Framework Agreement between the Cluster and Switzerland for the financing of a joint programme in Lao PDR. This operation is a concrete demonstration of how the Cluster operates, and shows the support of an important donor.

Mr. S. Panitchpakdi, Secretary-General of UNCTAD, and Mr. K.Yumkella, Director-General of UNIDO, co-chair the event.

6.15 - 6.25: Introduction by Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations

6.25 - 6.30: Statement by H.E. Ahmed Abdallah Mohamed Sambi, President of the Republic of Comoros.

6.30 - 6.35: Presentation of the joint Concept Note by Mr. Supachai Panitchpakdi, Secretary-General of United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)

6.35 - 6.40: Presentation by Mr. Kandeh Yumkella Director-General of United Nations Industrial Development Organization. (UNIDO)

6.40 - 6.45: Presentation by Mr. Juan Somavía, Director General, International Labour Office (ILO)

6.45 - 6.50: Presentation by Mr. Ajay Chhibber, Assistant Administrator and Director, Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific. United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

6.50 - 6.55: Presentation by Mr. Abdoulie Janneh, Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA)

6.55 - 7.00: Presentation by Ms. Noeleen Heyzer, Executive Secretary of United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP)

7.00 - 7.05: Presentation by Ms. Patricia Francis, Executive Director of International Trade Center (ITC)

7.05 - 7.10: Presentation by Mr. Renaud Sorieul, Secretary, United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL)

7.10 - 7.15: H.E. Mr. Jarmo Viinanen, Permanent Representative of Finland to the UN, Chairman of the Intergovernmental Preparatory Committee of the UN LDC IV Conference (from the floor)

7.15 - 7.20: H.E. Mr. Gyan Chandra Acharya, Permanent Representative of Nepal to the UN, Coordinator of the Group of Least Developed Countries (from the floor)

7.20 - 7.25: H.E. Pan Sorasak, Secretary of State and EIF Focal Point, Cambodia. (from the floor)

The floor is open to any other interventions, comments or questions from the audience.

Signing Ceremony of the Framework Agreement between the UN Cluster on Trade and Productive Capacity and Switzerland

7.35 - 7.40: Presentation of the Joint Programme and the Framework Agreement by Mr. Yumkella on behalf of the agencies of the UN Cluster.

7.40 - 7.45: Statement by H.E. Luzius Wasescha, Permanent Representative of Switzerland to the WTO.


7.45 - 7.50: Statement by Dr. Thongloun Sisoulith – Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Head of the Lao Delegation

7.50 - 7.55: Ceremony of signature of the Framework Agreement

8.00: Closing remarks by Mr. Yumkella

This special event is open to delegates, representatives of civil society, and the press.


The economies of LDCs are characterized by multiple structural weaknesses due to the low level of development of productive and trade capacities, policy coherence and appropriate institutional arrangements. International trade and productive capacities are mutually reinforcing. Without trade, LDCs cannot earn foreign exchange to import products they need, obtain new technology and finance development, and will not be able to move up the development ladder.

The productive capacities of a country are essentially a matter of what a country is able to produce efficiently and competitively. This process occurs by expanding investment – in physical, human, social and environmental capital – acquiring technology and developing innovation. Capital accumulation and technological progress not only lead to the expansion of existing productive potential; they also facilitate a process of diversification and a shift in the form of integration of LDCs into the global economy. Substantial poverty reduction occurs as employment opportunities increase, along with the transformation of the productive base of the economy.

Economic growth alone does not guarantee inclusive development. The critical issue is whether the growth has been inclusive, bringing income gains, employment and access to essential services to the poorest segments of society.

Because of the diversity among LDCs, the heterogeneity of market conditions among countries at different levels of economic development and structural global asymmetries, there is a need for a trade and productive-capacities-led policy to achieve inclusive and sustainable development. It must also take into account differences in development and income levels, economic structures, institutional development and factor endowments.

The Cluster is an interagency mechanism designed to coordinate and implement joint initiatives. It is composed of 15 members: UNCTAD, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, the United Nations Development Programme, the International Trade Centre, the World Trade Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the United Nations Environment Programme, the International Labour Organization, the five United Nations regional commissions, the United Nations Office for Project Services and the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law. ILO joined in 2010.