Remarks by ambassador Pedro L. Pedroso Cuesta, Permanent Representative of Cuba to the UN at the presentation of UNCTAD's Trade and Development Report 2022.

We thank UNCTAD and the Permanent Missions of Pakistan and Egypt for the organization of this event, as well as the invitation to participate and share some reflections during the presentation of the Trade and Development Report for the year 2022. 

I also thank Mr. Jeronim Capaldo and Ms. Orsola Costantini, Economists from Globalization Division on UNCTAD for their comprehensive briefings.

We recognize UNCTAD's work as a focal point in the UN system to address issues related to trade and development, as well as other aspects linked to finance, technology, investment and sustainable development. UNCTAD has played a fundamental role for developing countries and we believe that it should further strengthen its role in examining these issues and promoting the reformulation of policies on trade, economic growth and investment from a development perspective.

We are facing a particularly complex economic, financial, social, political and climate scenario in which uncertainty, the rising cost of living, the tightening of financial conditionalities and protectionist policies, the persistence of huge amount of people who has not been immunize against Covid-19 particularly in Africa, among other factors, including the threatening advance of very conservative political forces increase the risk of recession.

The economic recovery has been uneven and to a large extent this responds to the different levels of development of our countries and to structural problems largely derived from a colonial past that perpetuated dependence and underdevelopment.

According to the Report, the global economy is estimated to grow by only 2.5 percent in 2022 and growth in 2023 is projected to slow further to 2.2 percent, with real GDP still below its pre-pandemic trend by the end of next year. Developing countries, also marked by this trend, will continue to lag behind with these insufficient growth rates to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

The slow economic recovery and lack of liquidity in these nations, whose economies have also been affected by fiscal and monetary policies of developed countries, are facing the real threat of a global debt crisis.

How will it be possible for developing countries to achieve the SDGs if we have not yet recovered from the negative effects of the pandemic? How are we going to pay an increasing debt? How are we going to finance our development if with rising interest rates and capital outflows from our countries we are financing the recovery of developed countries?

The international financial system has constantly demonstrated, and this is evident in the current context, that it does not respond to the interests of the most disadvantaged, that it only perpetuates dependence and fosters inequality.

What has been the response of the Bretton Woods institutions to the developing countries' need for liquidity? The answer is simple: to offer more loans whose impact, in addition to generating greater indebtedness for our countries, is to impose more conditionalities that lead to austerity policies and greater privatization of public goods and services.

If we do not respond to the debt crisis, we will not be able to face the current crises and reach a higher stage of development.

We must stop being reactive and passive to the current situation. We need serious, long-term measures to promote sustained economic growth. A prosperous developing world will also benefit the more developed countries.

It is incomprehensible that we have to reiterate every year that very few developed nations fulfill their commitment to provide 0.7 percent of GDP as Official Development Assistance, while some powers squander trillions of resources on military spending. The countries of the South need support through concrete actions including concessional external financing, capacity building and technology transfer.

The multilateral trading system cannot be used by some powers to impose their interests. We must defend and strengthen a rules-based, open, transparent, inclusive and non-discriminatory multilateral trading system that guarantees and expands its special and differential treatment provisions for all developing countries, and puts development at its center.

We cannot remain inert in the face of the application of unilateral coercive economic measures that are incompatible with international law and the Charter of the United Nations.

In the case of Cuba, the blockade imposed by the U.S. 60 years ago prevents my country from establishing normal trade, financing or investment relations with the world and from accessing the best technologies on equal terms.

We must transform the current scenario through a true political will that turns into actions and not just words. To this end, we can count on the work and technical support of UNCTAD, which will undoubtedly continue to be a reference in terms of knowledge for developing countries.

As we embark in the preparation of the SDG Summit and the Summit of the Future, we look forward to the fundamental contribution of UCTAD to these processes.

Thank you.