THE HAGUE-At its 23rd Annual Meeting, the Governing Council of the Common Fund for Commodities, endorsed the recommendations of the Executive Board and urged the open-ended reform committee to proceed with the necessary work on the mandate and institutional reforms of the Fund with a report expected by July 2012.
The meeting, which took place 7-8 December at the Steigenberger Kurhaus, was opened by the acting Chairperson, Ms. Giuseppina Zarra (Italy). The welcoming statement by the host government was delivered by Mr. Martin de la Beij, Director, Department of Sustainable Development Cooperation, the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on behalf of Mr. Ben Knapen, the Minister for European Affairs and International Cooperation.
In the welcoming remarks, Mr. de la Beij, said the Common Fund can still play its role in the international global discussions on commodities and sustainable development cooperation, as new actors enter the field and influence by national governments is reduced.
“I would encourage the Common Fund to embrace emerging opportunities to engage with the private sector, intensify policy coordination and communications with other international agencies as well as NGOs and research organizations in order to deliver effective solutions for development cooperation among all its members,” said Mr. de la Beij.
Amb. Mchumo in his formal statement to the Council outlined the major highlights of the Secretariat’s work plan in 2011. He noted that the Fund’s active commodity development advocacy initiatives were especially relevant in the new reality of the global financial challenges, and particularly the impact of commodity price volatility and fluctuations on the economies of commodity-dependent developing countries.
On the reform process, being the main issue for the Council’s agenda deliberations this year, Amb. Mchumo indicated that the Secretariat had provided the necessary ground work and the adopted Agreed Conclusions contain the principles of agreement, the rationale for reform and the implementation plan for reforming the mandate and institutional structure of the Common Fund.
“The reform process is member-countries driven and I would reiterate that providing the political and philosophical rationale for and guidance on the Fund’s future is the task of member-countries,” he said. “We therefore expect and call on the membership to put forward all ideas regarding their vision of the Fund and its future role and mandate, as they see and envisage it.”
He recapped that Fund’s contribution in 2011 to commodity dependence and market volatility discussions and outcomes of the Brussels Conference, the Global Commodities Forum, UN LDC-IV’s Istanbul Programme of Action, and the 66th session of the Second Committee of the UN General Assembly.
“The G-20 in its recently concluded meeting in Cannes presented an agenda to restore confidence in the global economy through its commitment to reinvigorate growth, create jobs, ensure financial stability, and make globalization more sustainable and inclusive,” Amb. Mchumo said.
“It is our ardent wish and desire that concerted international action coupled with policy coherence will lead to improved economic prospects and spur growth of global economy.”
A number of important decisions were endorsed by the Governing Council, especially in regard to the reform framework, but also for the transitional process, given that election of an in-coming Managing Director was put off, until the reform process and decisions about the future of the Fund are finalized in 2012.
Amb. Mchumo’s current term as Managing Director, will expire 31 August 2012.
Among the decisions by the Council, was that all steps required to launch the formal procedure to appoint a new Managing Director shall be initiated in accordance with the decision on the reform of the CFC. A list of candidates for the position of the Managing Director shall be presented for consideration at the 24th Annual Meeting of the Governing Council. Mr. Parvindar Singh, Chief, Policy, Programme and Evaluation Unit, would serve as acting Managing Director on an interim basis with effect from 1st September 2012 for the duration up to the 24th Annual Meeting of the Governing Council. H.E. Amb. Sirajuddin Hamid Yousif (Sudan) was elected Chairman of the 2012 Annual Meeting of the Governing Council. The Vice-Chairpersons are: H.E. Mr. Karim Ben Becher (Tunisia/Africa Group); Ms. Giuseppina Zarra (Italy/OECD Group); Mr. Wu Mingxin (China); Names to be communicated-Asian Group (Sri Lanka); Latin American Group (Venezuela) and the Russian Federation. [END/2011]