Civil society organisations (CSOs) will meet in Accra from April 17 to 19, 2008 to discuss pertinent issues on trade and development, some of which may not feature on the main agenda of the 12th United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), scheduled for April 20 to 25, 2008.
The meeting will also afford civil society organisations the opportunity to finalise a draft communiqué on the agenda of the Accra meeting, which will also be the basis for their contribution to discussions during the main meeting.
The Third World Network (TWN) Africa is facilitating and organising the CSO forum and a press conference was held yesterday to brief the media on preparations so far.
A member of the Steering Committee of the CSO Forum and Member the Co-ordinator of the TWN, Africa, Dr Yao Graham, said the forum would create the opportunity for the discussion of trade issues from the perspective of CSO organisations.
The global financial crisis brought on by the USA’s housing problems and its impact on developing economies, EPAs, free trade agreements and the future of UNCTAD, he said, were some of the issues that would be delved into.
He said the sub-prime mortgage fallout of the USA, which is estimated to cost $1 trillion dollars, with global economic and financial consequences, would be explored for an understanding of the impact on countries.
Although these issues are major themes for the main meeting of UNCTAD XII, the forum will give an elaboration of that.
Dr Graham said the increasingly global nature and effects of the USA economy called for a surveillance on the USA, just as the World Bank and other financial institutions did to countries whose development programmes they financed.
A tentative programme for the forum consists of four plenary sessions during which thematic issues for the main meeting would be discussed.
These sessions, Dr Graham said, would take place at the National Theatre, while other group discussions would be held at the British Council Auditorium.
The CSO forum has been organised to furnish participating CSOs with a series of events on various issues. For instance, various sessions and events were planned daily on thematic areas and issues.
A dedicated session to finalise the CSO communiqué, he added, had also been planned for the morning of the second day of the forum.
A member of the national steering committee of the UNCTAD XII CSO Forum and a Programme Officer of the Gender Unit of TWN, Mrs Kathy Boohene, in an overview said so far about 150 individuals and organisations from various institutions world-wide had registered to participate and estimated participants to be more than 400.
Apart from an impressive presence of African countries, India, Nepal, other Asian, South American, European and international groups would also attend.
DAILY GRAPHIC, APRIL 11, 2008, PG 31