UNCTAD: United Nations Conference on Trade and Development

Topic A: Trade Barriers on Primary Sector Economies

The ubiquity of trade in the global economy cannot be overstated. Every facet of economic interaction between states involves the exchange of goods, whether physical or abstract. Consequently, trade has been used as a tool of politics, as countries seek to strengthen political positions through favorable trade agreements and the exploitation of national resources. However, this leads many developing countries to overexploit their natural resources, known in the economic world as the “primary sector.” Reliance on primary sector industries such as mining, agriculture, and oil production, puts countries at risk for a multitude of negative economic effects. Delegates of UNCTAD must decide how to best encourage and advance primary sector economies while advancing their trade into the 21st century. Due to the large breadth of the primary economy and its entanglement in global industries, UNCTAD’s diverse membership creates a forum of practically every type of economy that relies differently on certain diplomatic strategies for trade.

Topic B: Climate Change and the Global Economy

The importance and gravity of climate change was made abundantly clear to the international community through a report published by the International Energy Agency (IEA), which showed that global growth of carbon dioxide emissions from fuel combustion increased at a rate of 5.3 percent in 2010. UNCTAD’s New Development Goals have placed a specific focus on helping countries reach a development path that is environmentally sustainable, but issues still arise with regard to implementation. Many economies around the world still rely on the massive subsidization of fossil fuel-dependent industries. Furthermore, sustainable producers must provide and pay for the precautions that they take in order to ensure they are meeting the required levels of sustainability. The purpose of the committee discussing the effects of climate change on the global economy is to aid developing countries in finding alternate routes to global trade without placing dependence on the current trend of increased resource consumption and energy usage. New creative solutions must be implemented to protect against environmental disasters and identify ways for states to transition to more environmentally-friendly economies.

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