The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the Government of Barbados will hold the first Global Supply Chain Forum here from May 21 to 24 next year.
Government officials, business leaders and experts will explore how to promote development through sustainable and resilient transport and logistics, improved connectivity and trade facilitation.
They will address digitalisation, food security, transport costs, climate change, developing countries’ financing needs and how to better manage the energy transition in international transport.
UNCTAD Secretary-General Rebeca Grynspan said to help resolve the current cascade of global crises and prepare for the future, shipping and supply chains need to be more efficient, more resilient and far greener.
“Strong, resilient and predictable supply chains will be critical to help developing countries manage the ongoing impact of the poly-crisis,” added Matthew Wilson, ambassador of Barbados to the United Nations in Geneva.
He said the forum will offer countries a platform to create solutions that support climate change adaptation, food security and economic growth.
For the last three years, COVID-19, the war in Ukraine, climate change and geopolitics have wreaked havoc on maritime transport, logistics and cross-border trade.
The confluence of crises has clogged up ports and closed others, reconfigured routes, extended delays and raised shipping and logistics costs.
According to UNCTAD, economies far from the main lines of trade – small island developing states, landlocked developing countries and some countries in Africa, Asia-Pacific, the Caribbean and Latin America – are hit the hardest by supply chain disruptions.
Next year’s forum will focus on the policy actions required to better prepare countries to cope with future shocks to global supply chains.
The event responds to a call by Prime Minister Mottley, during the 15th UNCTAD ministerial conference, urging the world to build resilient supply chains in developing countries. This call is underlined by the Bridgetown Covenant adopted at the conference.
The forum also responds to a call by the Bridgetown Initiative for urgent and decisive steps to tackle the unprecedented combination of crises facing the world.
The event will be held in person and selected sessions will be streamed online.