As the international community wades into the political discussions regarding the alternatives to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) after 2015 and the design of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as mandated by the Rio+20 conference, it is timely to consider the question of whether development is a matter mostly of individual effort on the part of nation-states or whether there are elements in the international economic system that could serve as significant obstacles to national development efforts.
President Rafael Correa Delgado of Ecuador does not mince words when it comes to development. ”Neoliberal policies based on so-called competitiveness, efficiency and the labour flexibility framework have helped the empire of capital to prosper at the cost of human labour,” he told a crowded auditorium at the 15th Raul Prebitsch Lecture.
Anti-poverty campaigners are celebrating the Norwegian government’s release of an external audit of all outstanding public debts it is owed by developing countries, the first time any country has undertaken such a process.
The current discourse on Global Value Chains by key proponents and also the World Trade Organisation (WTO) secretariat is that developing countries should liberalise - in goods and services - and conclude a trade facilitation agreement.
Thick locks hug the front gates of shuttered shops, now covered in graffiti and dust from lack of use.
Only a handful of customers pass along the dimly lit road, sometimes stopping to check the ripeness of fruits and vegetables, or ordering meat in near-empty butcher shops.
- The Geneva-based U.N. Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), described as a key forum for developing nations on issues relating to trade, investment and development, will have a new secretary-general come September.
The issue of foreign debt has made a major comeback due to the crisis in Europe, in which many countries had to seek big bailouts to keep them from defaulting on their loan payments. Before this, debt crises have been associated with African and Latin American countries. In 1997-99, three East Asian countries also joined the indebted countries' club.
The global economy weakened significantly towards the end of 2011 and further downward pressure emerged in the course of 2012. The growth rate of global output, which had already decelerated from 4.1 percent in 2010 to 2.7 percent in 2011, is expected to slow down even more in 2012 to around 2.3 per cent. Developed economies as a whole are likely to grow by only slightly more than one per cent in 2012, owing mainly to the recession currently gripping the European Union (EU).
Although it remains the fastest growing region, Asia is already experiencing an economic slowdown, with gross domestic product (GDP) expected to fall from 6.8 percent in 2011 to slightly below six percent in 2012. Several countries - including China, India and Turkey - have been adversely affected by weaker demand from developed countries.