UNCTAD's Trade and Development Board reviews problems of debt and finance
A wide-ranging debate on trade, development, finance and the international monetary system, and debt and development problems of developing countries dominated the two-week session (16-27 September, Geneva) of the Trade and Development Board of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
Alister McIntyre, Deputy Secretary-General of UNCTAD, told the Board that the 1980s could well become a "lost decade' for development unless action was taken on three matters: alleviation of the problems of developing countries' debt, stimulation of growth on a broader scale on the part of industrialized countries, and reversal of the growing trend towards protectionism. An appraisal of current indicators held out little hope for rapid improvement in any of these areas in the near future, he said.
In the absence of agreed conclusions, Board President Martin Huslid (Norway) prepared a summation which, without being formally endorsed, was annexed to the Board's report.
Focusing on the debt problem, the paper noted that the sacrifices being made by debtor developing countries were "extremely onerous'. In many of those countries, debt service absorbed a significant part of export earnings and the gross national product. "The present considerable transfer of net resources from a number of developing countries to industrialized countries endangers their political and social stability and is not tenable over a longer period', the paper stated.
Mr. Huslid cited the following areas of "considerable convergence of views' among members of the Board:
--the need for "increased international co-operation, in addition to domestic action' for improving the international economy;
--general support for "securing a broad continued and strengthened growth process without reviving inflation' and for certain "shifts in monetary and fiscal policies on the part of major industrialized countries';
--need for domestic policies and economic management of developing countries to respond to development priorities and growth opportunities;
--developed countries should foster a favourable environment for economic development.
The paper called for greater efforts to implement the Substantial New Programme of Action for the 1980s for the Least Developed Countries. Other points of convergence mentioned were liberalization and expansion of world trade, increased resources for international...