UNCTAD member countries granted observer status to two non-governmental organizations on 27 June 2019 during the annual meeting of the organization’s governing body, the Trade and Development Board.
The board’s president, Ambassador Michael Gaffey of Ireland, made the announcement, welcoming to the UNCTAD NGO family the Shipyards and Maritime Equipment Association of Europe (SEA Europe) and the Latin American Steel Association (ALACERO).
The two organizations join 236 other NGOs that play a special role in UNCTAD’s policy discussions and debates.
For example, only organizations with observer status may take the floor during certain UNCTAD meetings. This is the case for the Trade and Development Board and for the ministerial conferences, which gather every four years to set the organization’s work programme.
Latin American Steel Association
Headquartered in São Paulo, Brazil, ALACERO represents more than 60 steel companies in 19 Latin American countries and some 90% of the steel manufactured in the region.
“ALACERO is aware of UNCTAD’s willingness to reduce inequality and to develop closer cooperation with the private sector and civil society”, the association said in a statement addressed to UNCTAD member countries.
It added: “ALACERO is mindful of the UNCTAD projects that contain tremendous efforts in facilitating trade, investment, finance, and technology as vehicles for inclusive and sustainable economic development.”
Shipyards and Maritime Equipment Association of Europe
The Brussels-based SEA Europe represents the European shipyards and maritime equipment manufacturers, an industry worth US$ 91 billion.
By joining UNCTAD, the organization builds on its long-standing and active participation in international organizations and its commitment to building a sustainable future.
The new partnership also reinforces UNCTAD’s work on maritime trade and development, which includes research on seaborne trade, such as the annual Review of Maritime Transport.
UNCTAD also provides technical assistance on logistics and shipping to developing countries and holds intergovernmental meetings on trends in the maritime sector and their implications for sustainable development.
Becoming an observer
Non-governmental organizations, trade unions, business associations and other civil society organizations that are not yet part of UNCTAD’s family are encouraged to apply for observer status.
The status grants the organizations access to UNCTAD’s public meetings, including its quadrennial ministerial conferences, whose next edition will take place in 2020 in Bridgetown, Barbados.
The eligibility criteria is set by the Trade and Development Board and includes the organization involvement in issues relevant to UNCTAD’s work. Member states have the final word on whether an organization meet these requirements.