The UN brings the world together to advance sustainable development and inclusive trade and economy for all important for a better future for people and the planet, cannot be realized without
increased and effective cooperation of all stakeholders at all levels (Sustainability Knowledge Group, 2020). UNCTAD uses its convening power to bring together governments, businesses, civil society, academia and other international organizations. Together they debate, exchange experiences, identify best practices, and develop global standards on the most pressing issues of the day. Most of these meetings and events take place at UNCTAD headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.1
Meetings include intergovernmental meetings, such as the UNCTAD Trade and Development Board and its subsidiary bodies, and the Commission on Science and Technology for Development, and fora, such as the Global Commodities Forum and Sale or purchase of goods or services, conducted over computer networks by methods specifically designed for the purpose of receiving or placing of orders; it can involve business-to-business (B2B) or a business-to-consumer (B2C) transactions . Week. But included are also study visits, seminars, short courses for diplomats and bilateral government visits.
In 2019, UNCTAD hosted 290 meetings (as registered on the Integrated Digital Conferencing (INDICO) is a web-based conference and management system used in more than 90 instances all over the world. In this publication, Indico refers to the web-based conference storage and management system managed by the United Nations Office at Geneva instance (Indico-unog) . conference management system), up from 219 in 2017. For roughly 60 - 65 per cent of meetings, detailed participant information has been recorded, allowing more detailed analyses to be undertaken (see tables 2, 3 and 4). Of the meetings where no detailed participant information was recorded, more than a third were internal UNCTAD meetings, including the UNCTAD Research Seminar Series, the UNCTAD Crossing the Line: Research in Motion series, the Secretary General’s Town Hall meetings, and so forth. See table 1.2
|Year||Total number of meetings registered on INDICO||Number of meetings with details||Number of meetings without details||Of which number of meetings without details of which external||Of which number of meetings without details of which internal|
Note: The data do not include meetings related to the World Investment Forum.
In 2019, 189 meetings were held for which detailed information is available. More than 12,000 delegates attended, of which almost 40 per cent (5,000) were female. Intergovernmental meetings, such as the TDB, and topics like e-commerce drew the largest numbers of participants, together accounting for more than 40 per cent of all participants. Both total and female participation numbers were up in 2019 compared with previous years. Investment (including the multi-year expert meeting on investment, innovation and entrepreneurship for productive capacity-building and sustainable development) and trade meetings (including the multi-year expert meetings on transport, trade logistics and trade facilitation and on trade, services and development) also attracted high participant numbers (see table 2).
|Theme||Number of events||Number of participants||Number of female participants||Number of female participants (%)|
|2019||189||12 277||4 871||40|
|Automated System for Customs Data||18||73||17||23|
|United Nations Commission on Science and Technology for Development||4||683||65||10|
|2018||157||9 631||3 643||38|
|2017 - 2019||482||31 535||11 873||38|
Representatives from national governments are the single largest group attending UNCTAD meetings, accounting for between 44 and 52 per cent, depending on the year. Academia, the private sector and non-governmental organizations together account for between 30 and 39 per cent. In 2019, more than 5,400 participants representing national governments attended UNCTAD meetings. This is an underestimate because, as noted in table 1, a further 60 external meetings were registered that year on the INDICO system, for which no participant details are available.
|Theme||Government||IGO (Inter Governmental Organizations)||United Nations||Private sector||Academia||NGO (Non Governmental Organizations)||Other||Press / media||Total number of participants|
|2019||5 437||553||583||1249||2 297||1 226||897||35||12 277|
|Academic||38||1||12||9||1 095||12||61||-||1 228|
|Intergovernmental||1 881||111||47||91||190||112||198||2||2 632|
|2018||4 121||483||487||935||1710||965||890||40||9 631|
|Intergovernmental||1 528||116||43||88||83||112||148||5||2 123|
|2017||5 037||523||499||684||1 481||817||551||35||9 627|
|Intergovernmental||1 632||151||67||88||101||133||139||1||2 312|
|2017-2019||14 595||1 559||1 569||2 868||5 488||3 008||2 338||110||31 535|
More than one third of participants did not record which country they represented at the time of registration. Many of these participants represented international organisations, NGOs, academia, or the private sector rather than countries. Of those that represented governments, almost one third came from Africa, with Europe and Asia and Oceania together accounting for half of all participants (see table 4).
|Theme||Africa||Europe||Latin America and the Caribbean||North America||Asia and Oceania||Not Specified||Total|
|2019||2 259||1 712||1 186||103||2 238||4 779||12 277|
|2018||2 264||1 374||883||70||1 515||3 525||9 631|
|2017||2 184||1 564||1 228||252||1 991||2 408||9 627|
|2017-2019||6 707||4 650||3 297||425||5 744||10 712||31 535|
Reviewing meetings calendar as response to COVID19
Due to Infectious disease caused by the strain of coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 discovered in December 2019. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans. In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The most recently discovered coronavirus causes coronavirus disease COVID-19 ., all meetings on the UNCTAD premises were put on hold. UNCTAD has been able to react quickly to these novel circumstances, however, already organising and hosting a myriad of online events, consultations and webinars in 2020. The e-Week of online events, for instance, was held from 27 April to 1 May 2020 and attracted more than 2000 registered participants (UNCTAD, 2020a).
- More information about the UNCTAD upcoming events and the UNCTAD meetings calendar are available online (UNCTAD, 2020b, 2020c).
- These statistics only cover meetings and events organized by UNCTAD at its headquarters in Geneva. Many other meetings organized by UNCTAD at the regional or national level, outside Geneva, are not counted. The data also do not include meetings co-organized by UNCTAD outside the Palais and do not include the World Investment Forum.
- Indico (2020). Indico. Available at https://getindico.io (accessed 21 May 2020).
- Sustainability Knowledge Group (2020). Available at https://sustainabilityknowledgegroup.com/achieving-the-sdgs-the-power-of-partnerships/ (accessed 15 May 2020).
- UNCTAD (2020a). eWeek of Online Events: Dialogues, Webinars and Meetings. Available at https://unctad.org/en/pages/MeetingDetails.aspx?meetingid=2240 (accessed 21 May 2020).
- UNCTAD (2020b). UNCTAD Calendar. United Nations conference on trade and development. Available at https://unctad.org/en/Pages/calendar.aspx (accessed 15 May 2020).
- UNCTAD (2020c). Upcoming events (2020). United Nations conference on trade and development. Available at https://unctad.org/en/Pages/Meetings/Upcoming.aspx (accessed 15 May 2020).
- UNOG-Indico (2020). Available at indico.un.org (accessed 21 May 2020).
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