Launch Lecture of UNCTAD Trade and Development Report

Chair: Dr Ken Shadlen, reader in development studies at LSE

Speaker: Heiner Flassbeck, director of the Division of Globalization and Development Strategies, UNCTAD and principal author of The Trade and Development Report 2009

Content of lecture

Launch lecture of UNCTAD Trade and Development Report

Heiner Flassbeck presents The Trade and Development Report 2009, subtitled ‘Responding to the Global Crisis and Climate Change Mitigation and Development’.

The worst economic downturn since the Great Depression is having a serious impact on developing countries.

At this point, economists from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) estimate that it will be virtually impossible for sub-Saharan African nations to achieve such United Nations Millennium Development Goals as halving extreme poverty and hunger by 2015.

The report recommends increased development assistance and the granting of moratoria on debt for hard-hit developing countries to limit further damage and to prepare the way for eventual recovery.

The effects of climate change, while expected to pose substantial economic and environmental threats for the world’s poorer nations, should be seen overall as an opportunity for rapid economic and technological growth.

Climate change mitigation does not contradict development goals, but is a process of structural change worldwide that offers enormous economic opportunities for enhancing development, the report contends.

Product and process innovation to cope with climate change is not fundamentally different from other innovation activities that emerge from the entrepreneurial spirit and the search for competitive gains. Developing countries, if they plan well and design effective responses, can get in on the ground floor of what will be a major source of economic growth in the coming decades.

UNCTAD was established in 1964. It promotes the development-friendly integration of developing countries into the world economy.

UNCTAD has evolved into an authoritative knowledge-based institution, whose work aims to shape policy debates and thinking on development, with a particular focus on ensuring that domestic policies and international action are mutually supportive in bringing about sustainable development.


Biography of Dr Ken Shadlen

PhD in Political Science (University of California, Berkeley). Joined the Department in 2002, having taught previously at the University of Miami, Brown University, and the University of Connecticut.

Dr Shadlen specializes in comparative and international political economy.

His current research addresses the politics of intellectual property (IP), and the politics of North-South economic integration. He also works on the political economy of bilateral and regional trade agreements and the World Trade Organisation. He is particularly interested in the role of IP and knowledge in development, both historically and in the contemporary global economy. His work analyzes the implications of the new global regime for IP on both industrialization and technological transformation and also public health, and the various ways that the new global norms and rules for IP are transmitted to the national level and affect national practices. The working title of his new book is Knowledge Gaps, Knowledge Traps?: The New Politics of Patents in Development.

Dr Shadlen is a Managing Editor of the Journal of Development Studies.

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