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Position paper on UNCTAD, on the occasion of its Tenth Conference in Bangkok, February 2000. There is an urgent need for UNCTAD to take a lead in promoting new approaches to development that favour poorer people and countries – in part because of the failures of today’s international economic managers. Many governmental organisations still do not put human development at the heart of their policy-making, and place excessive faith in economic liberalisation as the answer to all ills. However, the weakening of the ‘Washington consensus’ creates opportunities for UNCTAD to influence development thinking. At the same time, the WTO and IMF have lost a measure of legitimacy and credibility, giving UNCTAD the chance to recover a more dynamic institutional as well as intellectual role. This should encompass direct support to developing countries, along with a contribution to the reorientation of powerful global institutions towards the pursuit of sustainable and equitable development.

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