Challenges facing UNCTAD in the International Trade Trends: Before and After the Cold War

Document Type : Original Article


The article depicts the situation before Cold War in which developing countries (DCs) and least Developed countries (LDCs) found themselves big loser, as they were deprived from participation in trade negotiation process, leading into establishment of GATT . Therefore, they resorted to UNCTAD  as the sole defender of their interests against Developed Countries in trade negotiations. UNCTAD has encountered with some serious challenges since its establishment in 1964.The climax of the challenges were in 1995when WTO  was established and coincided with UN reform as well as industrial world opposition to UNCTAD position against them. Finally, the challenges made UNCTAD transform its ideology from confronting with globalization and trade liberalization to partnership for development through capacity building for DCs and LDCs to take more benefit from new international trade negotiations which globalization had imposed. The challenges also compelled UNCTAD to withdraw from its preliminary idealistic ideology of creation of new international economic order. The implication of the challenges also changed UNCTAD from an organization, issuing powerful resolutions against developed countries into a body implementing capacity-building activity especially for the non-member developing and least developed countries of WTO for accession to the organization. This article will answer the main question whether UNCTAD could keep up its preliminary ideology on international trade or faced with serious challenges made it change its ideology and intergovernmental machinery. In addition, it will shed light on the challenges imposed on its three pillars namely technical assistance, independent research and analysis as well as consensus building.