Thirty graduate students from German Vi member, HTW Berlin – University of Applied Sciences, visited UNCTAD on November 9 as part of a two-day study tour to Geneva-based international organizations.
Jörg Mayer, from UNCTAD’s Division on Globalization and Development Strategies, introduced the group to the mission and activities of the organization.
In his presentation Mayer highlighted UNCTAD’s evolution from a negotiating forum to a development think tank, and pointed out some achievements since UNCTAD’s creation in 1964, such as setting up a Generalized System of Preferences - improved market access for exports from developing countries. UNCTAD's work also led to the classification of least developed countries and increasing awareness of their special needs.
"UNCTAD formulates development strategies adapted to specific circumstances of developing countries, and to opportunities and challenges of globalization. That is not a one-size-fits-all approach," Jörg Mayer explained.
The organization continues to move with the times - recent work on the financial crisis has generated proposals for a greater regulation of the international finance sector and macroeconomic coordination among countries.
The students, who attend the HTW Master's in International and Development Economics, took the opportunity to ask specific questions about financial reforms and economic recovery. They also got a briefing on employment opportunities at the UN Secretariat as well as services of the Virtual Institute by Vi staff.
Following the UNCTAD session the group also visited the World Trade Organization, International Labour Organization and United Nations Development Programme offices in Geneva.