Meaning of UNCTAD in English

Meaning of UNCTAD in English



According to abbreviationfinder, the UNCTAD secretariat provides substantive and technical services to the intergovernmental bodies of UNCTAD when they hold discussions and deliberations. Since its inception in 1964, the secretariat has provided such services to the eleventh session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, which is held every four years. It has also provided full services to three United Nations Conferences on the Least Developed Countries, which have been held every ten years.

The secretariat conducts research, policy analysis and data collection to provide substantive input to the exchanges of experts and government representatives in these intergovernmental bodies.

The secretariat also carries out a number of technical assistance programs and projects in support of developing countries, paying particular attention to the special difficulties of the least developed countries.


UNCTAD’s highest policymaking body is the four-yearly ministerial-level Conference where member states assess current trade and development issues, discuss policy options and formulate policy responses at the global level. The Conference also defines the mandate and establishes the work priorities of the organization.

The Conference is a subsidiary body of the United Nations General Assembly.

Conferences play an important political role: they help build intergovernmental consensus on the state of the world economy and development policies, and they play a decisive role in determining the role of the United Nations and UNCTAD in relation to economic development problems.

The Tenth Conference (Bangkok, February 2000) renewed UNCTAD’s mandate to analyze and monitor the effects of major international initiatives on LDCs and help them understand multilateral trade negotiations.


Conference Country Date
UNCTAD I Geneva, Switzerland March 23 to June 16, 1964
UNCTAD II New Delhi, India February – March 29, 1968
UNCTAD III Santiago de Chile, Chile April 13 to May 21, 1972
UNCTAD IV Nairobi, Kenya May 5 to 31, 1976
UNCTAD V Manila, Philippines May 7 to June 3, 1979
UNCTAD VI Belgrade, Serbia June 6 to 30, 1983
UNCTAD VII Geneva, Switzerland July 9 to August 3, 1987
UNCTAD VIII Cartagena de Indias, Colombia February 8 to 25, 1992
UNCTAD IX Midran, South Africa April 27 – May 11, 1996
UNCTAD X Bangkok, Thailand February 12-19, 2000
UNCTAD XI Sao Paulo, Brazil June 13 to 18, 2004
UNCTAD XII Accra, Ghana April 21 to 25, 2008
UNCTAD XIII Doha, Qatar April 21 to 26, 2012

Trade and Development Board

It meets in Geneva once a year in regular sessions to review the activities of the secretariat, and up to three times a year in executive sessions to deal with urgent political issues as well as administrative and institutional matters.

The board has three commissions:

  • Commission on Trade in Goods and Services and Commodities.
  • Commission on Investment, Technology, and Related Financial Issues.
  • Commission of the Company, the Facilitation of Business Activity and Development.

The commissions meet once a year in a regular session and can convene more than ten meetings of experts on specific topics.

Expert meetings

Commissions may convene meetings of experts in certain areas in order to provide expert input to the commission’s policy discussions.

General Secretaries

Country Name Year
Argentina Raul Prebisch 1963 – 1969
Venezuela Manuel Perez-Guerrero 1969 – 1974
Sri Lanka Korea 1974 – 1984
Ghana Kenneth KS Dadzie 1986 – 1994
Brazil Rubens Ricupero 1995 – 2004
Thailand Supachai Panitchpakdi 2005

UNCTAD technical cooperation in the service of trade and development

UNCTAD’s technical cooperation activities contribute to achieving the objectives established by the Accra Accord, adopted by the Conference at its twelfth session in Accra (Ghana) in April 2008.

Technical cooperation is the practical expression of the organization’s commitment to national, regional and global development, based on the interactions between policy analysis, intergovernmental deliberations and operational activities.

As the United Nations system coordinator for the integrated treatment of trade and development and interrelated issues in the fields of finance, technology, investment and sustainable development, it addresses these issues through a mutually complementary approach.

The Trade and Development Board adopted in October 2003 a new UNCTAD Technical Cooperation Strategy (TDB decision 478L). The Strategy sets out the scope, guiding principles and objectives of UNCTAD’s technical cooperation. The objective of the technical cooperation activities is also contemplated in the Strategy as well as the modalities of follow-up and evaluation of the projects. Decisions TDB 492(LI) of October 2007 and 495 (LV) of September 2008, as well as the Accra Agreement (Subtopic 4, part c) specify and update the Technical Cooperation Strategy.

The purpose of UNCTAD’s technical cooperation is capacity building in four broad areas of work, namely globalization and development; international trade in goods and services and basic products; Investments, technology and business development; and Infrastructure for the provision of services that promote the development and efficiency of trade.

Technical cooperation aims to develop the capacities of the beneficiary countries. To this end, technical cooperation activities aim to develop the human and institutional capacities of developing countries with a view to strengthening their national development policies and creating an environment favorable to sustainable development.

UNCTAD provides technical cooperation in partnership with other agencies providing trade-related assistance, in accordance with their respective mandates, expertise and comparative advantages. This partnership and cooperation helps reduce duplication, creates synergies and ensures correlativity of activities. UNCTAD coordinates the Inter-Agency Cluster of the Council of Heads of Secretaries on Trade and Productive Capacity.

Meaning of UNCTAD in English