“We need to move forward in strengthening the multilateral system, to ensure a fairer and predictable commodity international market,” UN General Assembly (UNGA) President Maria Fernanda Espinosa Garces told the Informal Interactive Dialogue on Commodity Markets, held at the UN headquarters in New York.
“We need a stronger multilateral commerce system that promotes the participation of developing countries in a global trade structure without imbalances or inequities,” she said.
It is paradoxical that many of the developing countries with the greatest abundance of natural resources and that depend on commodities are at the same time the countries that are the furthest behind and most vulnerable to commodity price shocks, the UNGA president said.
“The fluctuations in the international prices of agricultural, energy, mineral and metal products inevitably affect the economic, social and environmental conditions of the countries that depend on them, with direct and immediate effects in persons,” she added.
This link is clearly reflected in developing countries. Sixty-four percent of them depend on the exports of commodities and 45 percent depend on imports, according to the UNGA chief.
When the prices of these products come down or their demand decreases, the exporting countries, whose income comes mainly from this market, “can suffer severely” in their capacity to implement policies in education, health and other priority areas clearly marked by the 2030 Agenda, said Espinosa.
Although in a different way, the variations in prices also affect countries that depend on commodity imports, due to the inflationary effects when the prices go up, she said, adding that “the impact is direct both for producers and in the everyday lives of consumers, with repercussions in their purchasing power and food and energy security.”
Twenty-six out of the 32 landlocked developing countries depend on commodities and their participation in total exports is 60 percent. “These countries face additional challenges, such as elevated costs in the transportation of their products to reach the main international markets,” she said.
The UNGA president urged the international community “to be creative and proactive” in this regard.
“Addressing these challenges will contribute to the eradication of poverty and will favor food security and preserving the environment and, thus, from this moment on and until 2030, we can achieve the goal of living in fairer, more prosperous, resilient, inclusive and peaceful societies,” she said.