BEIJING – The Common Fund and representatives of major international commodity organizations wrapped up a meeting in Beijing March 30-31, as the world was patiently awaiting the outcome of the G20 summit in London. On the final day of their meeting, the executive heads issued a statement, calling on the G20 to develop a global action plan to assist commodity dependent countries, honor pledges for food security, and to complete the Doha Development Agenda.
This year’s meeting was hosted the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR), and had a full agenda to track progress on a number of fronts, including the rapidly changing commodity sector architecture, joint project implementation, policy advocacy and communications.
Managing Director, Amb. Ali Mchumo, in his statement said that while many countries faced downward trends in prices and volatility, the Common Fund continued to be a lifeline for financial resources for commodity development. “In 2008, the Fund approved eight regular projects with a total amount of $20 million, and a grant investment of $13.5 million, as well as 11 fast track projects costing 2 million. In 2009 the fund approved eight regular projects ($29.2 million) and three fast track projects ($600,000), covering such commodities as fisheries, sorghum, sesame, jute, coffee, vegetables and cassava.”
Dr. Coosje Hoogendoorn, Director General of INBAR, said: “Commodities play a very important role in world trade, and therefore also play a very significant role in the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals. However, commodities do not figure very high in the discussions about the MDGs. Here is an important role for the CFC in collaboration with the ICBs to raise more public awareness about the great significance of commodities in the global economy, in particular for development and for North-South relations.”
The meeting in China, which is a very important and influential member of the Common Fund, underscored the need for global solidarity among commodity dependent developing countries (CDDCs), at a time when the knock-on impact of the unraveling international financial situation is still uncertain.
In Beijing, Amb. Mchumo met with Assistant Minister, Mme. Qiu Hong and other senior officials in the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM). He made the case that as a member-country, China was a key partner of the Fund, especially around sustainable measures for commodity development and technical assistance programmes that are advancing the cause of closer South-South cooperation between developing countries.
Amb. Mchumo also expressed deep gratitude and thanks to the Government of People’s Republic of China for agreeing to host and for extending an invitation to member delegates to CFC’s Round Table Meeting on Commodity Development in the Asia-Pacific Region, which will take place in Nanning, Guangxi Province, 17-21 August 2009. [END]