United Nations Global Supply Chain Forum

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The inaugural United Nations Global Supply Chain Forum, organized by UN Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the Government of Barbados, concluded successfully recently.

About UN Global Supply Chain Forum:

  • It was the inaugural edition of the forum, which was held from May 21 to 24, 2024, in Barbados.
  • It was hosted by UN Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in collaboration with the Government of Barbados.
  • Over 1,000 participants from around the world convened to tackle the pressing issues of global disruptions, geopolitical tensions, climate change, and the COVID-19 pandemic and their impact on global trade.
    • It gathered key figures, including trade and transport Ministers from several small island developing states (SIDS).
    • Representatives from various UN agencies ,major ports like the Port of Seattle, and industry leaders in shipping and logistics were also present.
  • The forum underscored the complexities and opportunities in decarbonizing global shipping, with a particular focus on developing countries rich in renewable energy resources.
  • Efforts to incentivize low- or zero-carbon fuels, establish safety frameworks for new fuels, and enhance port readiness for handling various fuels were identified as critical steps in driving sustainable freight transport and logistics.
  • One of the major outcomes of the forum was the launch of the “Manifesto for Intermodal, Low-Carbon, Efficient and Resilient Freight Transport and Logistics.”.
    • This manifesto calls for a significant transformation in freight transport to achieve global climate targets and improve socio-economic resilience, emphasizing the transition to zero-emission fuels, optimized logistics, and sustainable value chains.
  • Digital technologies were highlighted as key to enhancing global supply chain resilience.
  • Ministers from SIDS advocated for international financial support and investment in green and sustainable technologies to enhance energy efficiency and combat marine pollution.
  • A significant achievement of the forum was the launch of the UN Trade and Development Trade-and-Transport Dataset, developed in collaboration with the World Bank.
    • This comprehensive repository provides global data on over 100 commodities and various transport modes, offering a holistic view of trade and transport costs.
  • The next forum is set to take place in Saudi Arabia in 2026.

Q1: What is United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)?

It is the UN’s leading institution dealing with trade and development. It is a permanent intergovernmental body established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1964. Its objective is to assist developing countries, especially the least developed countries, and countries with economies in transition, to integrate beneficially into the global economy. It provides economic and trade analysis, facilitates consensus-building, and offers technical assistance to help developing countries use trade, investment, finance, and technology for inclusive and sustainable development.

Source: UN global supply chain forum calls for resilience amid world trade disruptions