The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) celebrates its fortieth anniversary this year. During four decades, the organization has been the focal point within the United Nations for the integrated treatment of trade and development and related issues in the areas of investment, finance, technology, enterprise development and sustainable development. Established in 1964, UNCTAD promotes the development-friendly integration of developing countries into the world economy. UNCTAD has progressively evolved into an authoritative knowledge-based institution whose work aims to help shape current 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. The organization works to fulfill this mandate by carrying out three key functions: * It functions as a forum for intergovernmental deliberations, supported by discussions with experts and exchanges of experience, aimed at consensus building. * It undertakes research, policy analysis and data collection for the debates of government representatives and experts. * It provides technical assistance tailored to the specific requirements of developing countries, with special attention to the needs of the least developed countries and of economies in transition. When appropriate, UNCTAD cooperates with other organizations and donor countries in the delivery of technical assistance. The first United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) was held in Geneva in 1964. Given the magnitude of the problems at stake and the need to address them, the conference was institutionalized to meet every four years, with intergovernmental bodies meeting between sessions and a permanent secretariat providing the necessary substantive and logistical support. Nowadays UNCTAD has continued to play a crucial role in emphasizing the development dimension of issues...
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