High-Level sessions: Setting the Scene – Global Supply Chain Challenges and Solutions

21 May 2024 10:30h - 12:50h

Table of contents

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Full session report

Barbados Global Supply Chain Forum highlights resilience and sustainability challenges for SIDS and developing countries

The Global Supply Chain Forum, held in Barbados, served as a critical platform for discussing the multifaceted challenges and opportunities facing supply chains, particularly in the context of small island developing states (SIDS) and developing countries. The event featured a diverse group of speakers, including government officials, representatives from international organizations, and industry experts, who collectively emphasized the need for resilient, sustainable, and inclusive supply chains.

A key theme that emerged from the discussions was the vulnerability of supply chains to disruptions such as economic shocks, geopolitical tensions, and the impacts of the pandemic. This vulnerability is especially pronounced in SIDS, where small domestic markets and limited natural resources compound the challenges. The importance of regional cooperation and integration was underscored as a means to strengthen supply chains and mitigate these vulnerabilities.

Infrastructure development was identified as a major challenge, with a focus on the need for multimodal transportation to enhance competitiveness. The Central American Infrastructure and Mobility Plan 2035 was cited as a significant regional initiative aimed at improving infrastructure and facilitating trade. Digitalization was also a recurring topic, with speakers advocating for the adoption of digital platforms to streamline import and export processes and enhance trade facilitation.

The role of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in supply chains was another focal point. Discussions highlighted the difficulties faced by SMEs in accessing global supply chains and the necessity of financial inclusion to support their participation. Programmes aimed at upgrading technology and decarbonizing SME operations were mentioned as ways to help these businesses enter export markets and comply with increasingly stringent environmental standards.

Financing and international cooperation were pinpointed as crucial elements in addressing supply chain challenges. Development partners, including the World Bank, IDB, and CDB, shared insights into their support mechanisms for infrastructure investment, digital transformation, and human capital development. The need to counteract emerging protectionism through alliances and advocacy at the global level was stressed, with concerns raised about the impact of non-tariff barriers and subsidies on less-developed countries' market access.

The forum also touched on the importance of green and sustainable practices within supply chains. China's efforts in promoting green development and its impact on global supply chains were highlighted, with the Belt and Road Initiative mentioned as a significant contributor to global economic growth and infrastructure development.

In conclusion, the forum underscored the complexity of supply chains and the need for a collaborative approach to enhance them. The announcement that Saudi Arabia would host the next Global Supply Chain Forum in 2026 signaled a continued commitment to addressing supply chain issues on a global scale. This future event, supported by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its Mawani Port Authority, was met with enthusiasm and anticipation by the participants.

Noteworthy observations included the recognition of the private sector's critical role in trade, the need for long-term engagement and support for SMEs, and the importance of policy frameworks that are robust and future-proof. The forum also acknowledged the potential for leveraging digital technologies to leapfrog into greater efficiencies and the value of creating spaces for sharing best practices and lessons learned.

Session transcript

Belle Holder:
So we're going to hear directly now from Barbados' Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, the Honourable Kerry Symmonds. Please give him a warm welcome to the podium. Ladies and gentlemen, Minister Kerry Simmons.

Kerrie Symmonds:
So much well. Ladies and gentlemen, let me begin by offering you the warmest possible of Barbadian greetings. Welcome to Barbados. We tend to respond when we welcome people to the island. I hope you're enjoying yourselves so far and having a wonderful time. I want to jump swiftly into this very brief presentation and I want to thank you, Secretary General, and your team for the wonderful spirit of collaboration, exceptionally good cooperation. I was heartened. I had the privilege of cheering Barbados' aspect of this convocation and I must tell you, your team was a pleasure to work with. Thank you so very much. Ladies and gentlemen, the subject matter which brings us here today and which will keep us here for the rest of this week is a very important area of discussion. It touches, as I think we all can understand, the very important matter of supply chains, but it is a matter which is suitable for a wide and varied audience. It whets the appetite of the professors at the University who obviously like to subject it to some degree of academic interrogation. It is of exceptional importance to those people who are highly placed in business and in commerce, and of course it is of deep personal interest to the housewife who has four kids and must find a way to feed them. It is perhaps a trite observation to say that supply chains are really the sine qua non of a product's life cycle. From the time we are looking for our raw materials, we start to think in terms of the inputs into the commodity we are producing, we start to think in terms of the supply chain, right through the manufacturing process, and on of course to the logistics involved in transportation and getting that finished product to the consumer. I think you would have picked up from this speech made by our Prime Minister that for us in the Caribbean, especially in Barbados, this matter transcends just economic theory. For many hundreds of years we were, because of our geographical location, we lived, our ancestors lived the reality of supply chains, and many of our ancestors would themselves have been human cargo. And Barbados, this little island which kisses the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean at the same time, was that transshipment point which ensured that that cargo could move on from Africa to Barbados to North America or to Europe. And so therefore there is a deep-seated interest that we have in these matters which transcends the purely economic. But the fact of the matter is that there is also the reality that it is not just simply good enough to say that there is a supply chain. The quality of the supply chain can never be measured simply by its existence. It has to be tested in terms of its efficiency. in terms of its adequacy and, quite frankly, also in terms of its resilience. And that is what we hope that this convocation will be able to do during the course of the next few days, to test the resilience and the adequacy and the efficiency of the global supply chain. I want to say to you that it is our view in Barbados, and you would have heard it from our Prime Minister just now, that those criteria which I just outlined are now under severe challenge. And we pointed to strains in the global production network which would have begun to impact us in the Caribbean since the year 2020, just as we entered into the pandemic. And much has been said about the importance to balance capacity of supply to meet global demand and the failure to be able to do that led to, on a variety of items, not the least of which were pharmaceuticals, led to a very slow rate of recovery. But for us in this region, that circumstance was compounded. Those difficulties were compounded by virtue of the fact that the pandemic triggered containment measures which impact us in this region in a very peculiar way, because the containment measures impacted services at a local, regional and international level, which feature very prominently in the economic profile of all of us in the Caribbean. I'm talking about tourism and travel services. I'm talking, for example, about our hospitality and recreation and entertainment services. That is where we are globally competitive. And when international travel groaned to a halt, you will have found that we were disproportionately impacted because of the fact that in every one of the tourism and travel-dependent economies of the Caribbean, there was a double-digit decline in our GDP over the course of the COVID waves, and COVID would have had a second and a third wave. Again, you would have heard about the closure of firms in China and the closure of ports in Europe, for example, and again, the disproportionate way in which we were impacted must be given some degree of consideration because our challenges were not just an inability to get scarce commodities, but our challenges were also the cost of the freight container within which to place those commodities, and in Barbados, the cost of some of those containers escalated by as much as five to 600%, and that is before you would place anything into the container, which is why our Prime Minister makes the point that it is a matter that resonates right down to the household. As she closed her speech, she made reference to the fact that we have to find a way of making a simple tin of corned beef or a tin of tuna accessible for those people who have to feed a family. It is against that grim backdrop that we would have reached out to Secretary General and to UNCTAD, and I think that we can all agree now that it was perhaps an exhibition of what might be deemed moral and strategic leadership in order to refocus the attention of the world to these very severe problems which we were confronting and which we have struggled to overcome. I think that the tremendous and enthusiastic response of all of you traveling from so many other countries around the world and representing so many international agencies and organizations suggests that there was perhaps a little bit of wisdom in the endeavor to try to refocus the attention of the globe on this issue. So we welcome you. We invite your views. We urge you to be as candid as possible as you share your experiences. Be as candid as possible as you share your perspectives. But, I am sanguine in the knowledge that perhaps that which has been missing has been the voice and the perspective of the small island developing states. In all of these discussions we have had from time immemorial on global supply chains, I think we may have overlooked the peculiar impact that they have on small island developing states. Our reality is not the reality of the North Atlantic and the industrialized countries of the North Atlantic. Our lived experience is not the lived experience of the countries of the industrialized world. And while we have a responsibility to confront some of the challenges which continue to make life difficult for us, for example, we own no shipping lines, we have a responsibility to try to treat to that, and perhaps this convocation will throw ideas on that. We do not own any global scale insurance companies or reinsurance companies, global financial institutions are not emanating from this developing South. But the reality is that what we do have is some element of control over a few things. One example is that in this region our ministers of agriculture have banded together to create a 25 by 25 policy. It is to reduce food imports and food importation bill by 25% by the year 2025. And we do this by reaching out to neighboring Guyana and neighboring Suriname and to Belize in the North, which are really the bread baskets of the Caribbean region. And to harness the food production of those areas in a way that makes it easier for them to be accessed by the householders in Barbados and in Dominica and in St. Lucia and those of us in the Eastern Caribbean. It is an idea whose time has come, and we confidently believe and expect that there are some things that are attendant to that, that are within our capacity. Making the sanitary and phytosanitary issues work for us, neutrally and collectively. Making the, in the absence of a regional shipping line, there's nothing that stops us from creating, for example, a ferry service that moves from island to island so as to assist us in moving product. It is important for us to get those administrative and those legal things right, and it is not beyond us to do that. Part of what this convocation is intended to do is to throw up ideas, as I said, to test experiences and hear of best practices. Our concerns here in the Caribbean are very similar to those in the Pacific. Our concerns here in the Caribbean are not far removed from small states in Africa, and it is very important for us to have this kind of conversation so that we can pool our ideas collectively and come up, hopefully, with some useful solutions that take us forward. We offer you, therefore, a multidisciplinary platform which is going to be built of a wide cross-section of stakeholders and a variety of opportunities, whether it be from the perspective of insurance, from the perspective of ministers of government, and there are some of them who are here and who will be participating in a panel later, ministers of international transport, that is, from the perspectives of those persons who are involved in finance, and there are a variety of institutions of a financial nature here. A wide cross-section of perspectives are offered, and I urge you to be as candid and forthright as you possibly can be in sharing your ideas, because these can only redound to the betterment of our global business community and the global consuming public. Ladies and gentlemen, with those few words, I welcome you to Barbados again, and thank you so much.

Belle Holder:
Gentlemen, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade here in Barbados, the Honorable Kerry Simmons. Next we will hear from the Secretary General of UNCTAD. In terms of setting the scene, please welcome her back to the stage, Her Excellency Rebeca Grynspan.

Rebeca Grynspan:
Thank you very much. I will be very brief, but thank you very much, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Barbados, Kerry Simmons, for giving us that wide perspective and all the things that are happening here in the Caribbean and what are the implications for the rest of the world. We are all wanting to hear the panel, so let me again say how an honor and a pleasure is for me to be here, to set the scene earlier during the opening ceremony with Her Excellency Prime Minister Mia Mottley and the UN Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohamed. I highlighted the fragility of our global supply chains and the development impact of that fragility whose absence we used to take for granted. These challenges are not just logistical, it was set, or economic. They are complex, they are multifaceted and interconnected, spanning legal, geopolitical and environmental spheres. The pandemic, we know, did not just disrupt supply chains, it exposed the weaknesses in our global health system. The distribution of vaccines, labor markets, the cross-border trade regulations. We will have sessions that will look at this precisely, the new barriers to trade, not only tariff barriers, but non-tariff barriers, and we will also see how geopolitics has affected the main... maritime corridors in the world, affecting obviously trade itself. So regulation is needed, we know, to help guide all what is happening in trade, to guide the energy transition. But the problem we face right now is not that we don't have regulation, it's that we have fragmented regulation. We have a lot of norms and standards that compete with each other, meaning that only the rich companies in the rich world will be strong enough and have strong enough legal departments to navigate them. We call this the spaghetti bowl, yes, because many of these norms and standards have not been agreed in a multilateral setting. And so in some way we need a rationale and a regulation that will be efficient in what it has to achieve, but everybody putting norms and standards doesn't help what we need to do and doesn't help small and medium-sized enterprises in these small countries or medium-sized countries. So we need to look at this in a trade multilateral way, as the WTO used to say. Trade can be part of the solution, but we should make trade happen in a multilateral agreed rules of the game setting. So in short, the more we zoom in into each of these challenges, the more multifaceted they become. So we are gathered here today to find solutions, and these solutions must be to the level of the challenges we face. We usually say that in complex times, only complexity can save us. That is why we are very lucky to count on so many tough leaders, policymakers, CEOs, ministers, heads of agencies here with us this morning. The solutions are here in this room. I am not able to greet each of you by name, though I would have loved to, so allow me just to thank you for being here. We have many heads of state, I gave the numbers in my initial remarks, sorry, heads of agencies and organizations, ministers, high-level officials, CEOs from companies representing all links of the supply chain. So from shipping to insurance, from port authorities to digital disruptors, we have universities, we have researchers, and we have 207 speakers, a geographically diverse group that is gender-balanced, so that's good to see. We were not very gender-balanced in the inauguration, I think. With all this combined talent and wisdom, the challenge is not one of substance but of coordination. The challenge lies in harmonizing our efforts in weaving together the various threads of expertise and insight into a tapestry of action. It lies in ensuring that our collective knowledge is not just a collection of ideas but a symphony of coordinated solutions. This is precisely why this UN Global Supply Chain Forum is so crucial. It provides a neutral, inclusive platform where stakeholders from across the globe can come together to address the complex challenges of our global supply chains. It allows us to leverage the convenient power and expertise of the United Nations to foster collaboration, build consensus, and drive action. We are open ears to know from you what we at the UN and at the UN Trade and Development can do to better facilitate this work. In closing, we have with us today the expertise, the diverse perspective, and the collective will to forge a more inclusive and resilient future for the global supply chain. Let us seize this unprecedented opportunity and forge a new era of cooperation and innovation in global supply chains. Let us leave a legacy of a more connected, prosperous, and sustainable world for generations to come. Thank you.

Belle Holder:
Thank you so much, Ms. Rebeca Grynspan, ladies and gentlemen. And for our next panel, I'd like to call to the stage the Assistant Secretary General and Executive Director of UN Global Impact, Ms. Sanda Ojiambo, Deputy Secretary General, World Customs Organization, the WCO, Mr. Ricardo Trevino Chapa. I'll also like to call to the stage the Director General, United Nations Industrial Development Organization, UNIDO, Mr. Gerd Müller. Also joining them on stage, the Secretary General, International Maritime Organization, the IMO, Mr. Arsenio Dominguez. And ladies and gentlemen, this session will be moderated by the United Nations Resident Coordinator. The moderator is Didier Trebucq.

Didier Trebucq:
Good morning. Good morning, everyone. Minister Kerry Simmons, Secretary General of UNCTAD, Rebeca Grynspan, Excellencies, participants, very glad to be with you to get started with this first panel of the day to contribute to setting the scene. We've heard that for vulnerable countries like seeds, who are net importers of food and energy supply chain, are a critical lifeline. And for this panel, we also want to take into consideration that trade is not just a means for economic growth, but it's also fundamental for health outcome, public service deliveries, climate and economic resilience and social cohesion, because in the end, it's a means to achieve the sustainable development goals. And for us, as wide UN partners, it's important that all part, as Rebeca mentioned, of the UN system work together in a coherent and coordinated approach to support the countries to accelerate the achievement of the sustainable development goals. So for this first panel, we have four heads of UN entities who will discuss those topics. I'm very happy to introduce first Mr. Arsenio Dominguez, who is Secretary General of the International Maritime Organization, the IMO. He has held various positions at the IMO, and prior to that, he was also representative of his own country, Panama. At the IMO, he'll give us perspectives on the role of maritime trade and logistics in the context of decarbonization. On his left, Mr. Gerhard Müller, who is the Director General of UNIDO, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization. He carries a wealth of experience, including Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development in Germany. He'll provide us some insights on the nexus of industrialization. human rights and green growth. Ms. Sandhya Ojiambo, Executive Director, CEO of the United Nations Global Compact. She has wide experience on working on corporate social responsibility with the private sector and social impact in Kenya. And she will elaborate on how to foster greater private sector development. And Mr. Ricardo Trevino-Chapa, Deputy Secretary General of the World Customs Organization, WCO. He has also been, for example, General Administrator of Customs in Mexico. And he'll talk about the role of customs and, most importantly, how to threaten customs administration as a mean to trade facilitation. So, ladies and gentlemen, we'll have two rounds of questions. We can ask you to answer in about three to five minutes and... Oh, the duration has been reduced to half an hour now. Okay, fine. We'll take this into consideration. Thank you for that. So, I would like to start discussing or hearing from you, Mr. Arsenio Dominguez. Since 2022, the global economy has been hit by several crises which have depressed growth in a number of sectors and, of course, especially maritime trade and shipping. Geopolitical shifts remain volatile and appear to be increasing in numbers and frequency, which, given the sluggish global aggregate demand, remains a concern for many industries. So, can you tell us about, in your views, what are the challenges that you are envisaging in the current context and what are the implications for supply chain stability and growth? And what are the biggest concerns for the industry over the next two, three years, please?

Arsenio Dominguez:
Thank you very much and a real pleasure being here in Barbados. Thanks to the government for the hospitality, as well as the Secretary General of UNCTAD for allowing me to be part of this event. Two real challenges that we're facing right now. The first one, you mentioned it, is geopolitics. And, of course, it's creating fragmentation. What is happening in the Red Sea, in particular, is impacting shipping. You heard this morning how, even though we have made a lot of progress of the organization to become greener, of course, the industry has been forced to increase greenhouse gas emissions in order to safely continue to supply to the world. So by sailing around the Cape of Good Hope, we emit three times more of what we were expecting in using the Red Sea. The impact that has in shipping, in particular, on seafarers, the safety of seafarers is paramount. Let me continue to reiterate that. We already have a detrimental situation with the True Confidence, a Barbados flagship with three losses of life. And, of course, the additional time that it takes for seafarers to be on board. This, of course, creates a diverse approach when it comes to establishing the regulations that will continue to enhance trade and to keep shipping in line to be more sustainable. The second big challenge, of course, is decarbonization. We've made the first decision at IMO last year, which is a pathway towards decarbonizing the industry by around 2050. But of course, even though we're in the process of developing the technical and economic measures that are going to support this transition, we still rely on the early movers, not just from industry players, but also from member states that can actually take the initial actions, that investment that we all require, that contribution to developing countries so the North to South can continue to develop in the way that the United Nations perceives in relation to the 2030 agenda. Now, these challenges will remain for the next couple of years. What we're focusing on is on the positives, the fact that we have a pathway to decarbonization. We're working with other sectors, particularly the energy sectors, for them to develop and supply at a price that will not create a negative impact on states, and particularly small island developing states, as well as the new technologies that are going to take us to this decarbonisation. And by continuing to reiterate with all the member states at IMO that this is a global sector and requires global industries, global regulations, we continue to bring onto the table all the players in order to actually achieve the goals that we have established. And IMO has had experience in being resilient, the shipping industry continues to be resilient is one of the key words for this event, and the fact that even throughout the challenges of the COVID pandemic, shipping continues to supply the essential goods to everyone around the world. I think we're actually in a good place to maintain that resilience and then tackle the challenges that we have ahead.

Didier Trebucq:
Thank you. Thank you, Arsenio. Right on time. I move on to Mr. Gerd Müller, Director General of UNIDO. I'd like to say that industrialisation for many is still seen as the panacea for sustainable development. The challenge, however, is about ensuring that green supply, ethical supply chains align with human rights and environmental standards. This also includes ensuring that business practices are compatible with limiting the global warming to 1.5 degrees, as agreed in the Paris Agreement. So, Mr. Müller, can you tell us what are the expectations of industrialisation for economic growth, given that they have come a long way over the few decades with an increasing pressure for business to respect human rights and environmental protections? Can you tell us what are the issues involved in building sustainable supply chains, especially for SEADs? and what are the solutions that are necessary for developing countries to which UNIDO can contribute.

Gerd Müller:
Thank you so much, especially thank you Rebeca for this great meeting and conference. Nothing will change without a rethink of globalization. That is the message. And let me underline the speeches fundamental main messages of President Motley. This conference must send a signal, a clear signal of international solidarity and support for the Caribbean states and the global south. That is the first and most important what this conference must send. It is clear to all of us, these states are hit hardest by global crisis. That is the pandemic is still not over. The climate change, the global impact of wars and we have to know we all live in a global village. Everything depends on everything. And this is it, the small countries, they are hit hardest without bearing any responsibility for this and that is really. And on the other side, I'm the Director General of UNIDO. My headquarter is located in Vienna, the industrialized countries. Where are the industrialized countries? They are investing trillions to support their own economies in US, in Europe, for example, not billions, trillions. And on the other side, G7 and G20 are cutting their support for developing countries. And this is the reality today. G20 countries are responsible for 80% of CO2 emissions worldwide. They can – there is the solutions. They need to take responsibility. So Prime Minister Motley and Secretary General have called for a restructuring of the global financing system. I explicitly support this. That is so much important. The countries, they need even that relief and also the support. Prime Minister Motley mentioned this to mandate the private sector to finance the consequences of climate crisis. Shipping industry, who are the owners of these shipping companies? Yes, let's ask about this. The major oil companies, that is the truth. The major oil companies and the owners of these ships have made a profit of $4 trillion during the crisis the last two years. $4 trillion, not billion, trillion of dollars. These energy companies, the shipping companies, they earned a lot of profit. And where is their contribution to finance the impact? That we should discuss here. And UN, UNIDO, I'm the Director General of the Industrial Development Organization. We are your partner. That is my message concretely. Thirty-four, six countries are member states of UNIDO. The Antigua and Barbados program has a strong focus on UNIDO core areas, including climate action, food security, economic development, sustainable energy. And we have to talk about the opportunities of blue economy, blue economy here. So we are your partner and I'm very proud to open this afternoon to sign an agreement with Prime Minister Motley to strengthen the cooperation of UNIDO and other UN organizations here with you, Barbados, but even with the six countries. We signed an agreement for a new SIDS hub to strengthen cooperation with you, the small island country, something concrete for your future. Thank you.

Didier Trebucq:
Thank you very much, Mr. Müller. I'm glad you mentioned blue economy. I would encourage to deepen this topic a bit later. I would like to turn to Ms. Sanda Ojumbo. She is the Executive Director of the United Nations Global Compact. We know that without a well-financed and supported private sector, supply chain will become fragmented and inefficient. And this has potential to threaten the ease of trade and overall economic growth and hence impact the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. So, Sanda, can you tell us how do we bring the private sector on board to make investments that reduce risks and improve resilience of supply chain, especially in those current times of major external shocks?

Sanda Ojiambo:
Yes, it's on now. Well, thank you very much, Didier. And let me first start by just congratulating Rebeca and UN Trade and Development for really, one, taking the initiative to host and convene this conference, but most importantly, as Prime Minister May-Mottley said, convening it here, because it just really enforces the centrality of small island developing states and the Caribbean and their importance in global trade. So, you know, great strategic choice, not only of the topic as well as the location. But, Didier, to your question, you know, about the role of the private sector, you know, the speakers in the first panel spoke about it. I mean, the private sector has been remarkably impacted by what we've seen in terms of the fragmentation and it's literally, I'd like to say, the destruction or the, you know, the challenges that have been posed in the global supply chains. This has been felt by multinationals, by small and medium enterprises and certainly all across. Let me just highlight one thing. You've talked about the three C's or the triple crises, did you? You talked about climate, conflict, COVID. I want to add a fourth C, which is the cost of capital, which has essentially really impacted also what trade development and certainly private sector engagement has been over this time. What do we need to do to bring the private sector on board? I think, you know, that was your direct question to me. There's a couple of things. I think, first of all, is just to acknowledge that multilateralism and the agenda of the UN is not separate from the private sector agenda. Where businesses have felt the biggest pinch has been in the fragility of the multilateral system. No multinational will be able to continue its business in a way that is sustainable without a strong and functioning multilateral system. So the cause around looking at protectionism, the cause of making sure we don't resort to isolationist ways of doing politics and therefore business, truly do impact the private sector. For me, that's the first. I think the second piece is just to really look not only at what's happening around supply chains, but what's also happening around regulation and compliance in Europe and the US. Because, you know, the other C's notwithstanding, the really dynamic and fast-moving regulation in the US and Europe is certainly going to provide an opportunity, I feel, to lock out a lot of small and medium enterprises from doing business that they need to do and be productive engagers in supply chains. But I think at the heart of it, and, you know, reflecting on what the speaker said at the beginning of the opening session, is to really understand what is the enabling environment that the private sector needs, you know? All private sector leaders that we work with are just calling simply for a level playing field. So I think we need to look at regulation, we need to look at regulatory coherence globally and see how that can enable more private sector engagement. We need to look at the cost of capital, and then we really need to look at the question of sustainability and resilience for the private sector. Some great topics being discussed here today and in the subsequent days in terms of supply chain resilience, and I think that collective package... A level playing field, regulatory coherence, addressing the cost of capital, building in sustainability and resilience, what would be key to engaging the private sector. Thank you.

Didier Trebucq:
Thank you. Thank you very much, Sanda. Sustainable and resilient private sector, clearly. I'd like to move on to Mr. Ricardo Trevino-Chapa, Deputy Secretary General of the World Custom Organization. We know that well-run, efficient customs administration remain at the hearth of effective supply chains and can transform both domestic and international trade. Yet for many countries, particularly SEADs or small states, customs continue to be challenged by or inadequate capacities or limited enforcement capabilities. So in that context, Mr. Trevino-Chapa, can you explain a little bit more about the role of customs in easing supply chain flows and facilitating trade? And why is this particularly challenging for developing countries, especially SEADs? And what those, the WECO, can do to support them in that context? And I'm sure you have a lot of solutions.

Ricardo Treviño Chapa:
Thank you, Didier. And good morning to everyone. I must start by echoing my colleagues here in thanking the government of Barbados for hosting this beautiful event, and also thanking and congratulating UNCTAD and the Secretary General, Rebeca Greenspan, for this initiative. And thank you for allowing the World Customs Organization to share our vision as well in this event. There were several questions and we have little time, but I'll try to wrap up the whole view in a few minutes. The World Customs Organization, while we are not a UN agency, we do work very closely with the UN agencies related to trade and security. And we are basically the only international organization 100% focused on customs matters. We developed standards. We build capacity. We have 186 members, which basically represent 99% of trade. And how can customs and the WCO help ease the flow of supply chains? Well, customs are in a unique strategic position of controlling goods. Therefore, this makes us the government agency that really can contribute to strengthening security and easing the flow of supply chains, and developing and contributing to socio-economic global growth. Now, how we can directly impact in supply chains? I think we need to understand as well a little bit the nature of the supply chains. I think we've been already listening to this in the previous session and in this session. But let's see the current situation of supply chains, in which traditionally for decades, for years, we've seen an exponential growth of supply chains. But their main objective was to reduce costs, to be efficient. And this has resulted in a fragmented world and increased non-transparent, opaque growth of supply chains, which now is a challenge because with the current situation of geopolitical challenges, and after the COVID pandemic and the new technological challenges, supply chains are now reaching and seeking to be resilient as well. And sometimes being cost efficient and being resilient, not necessarily aligned to each other. So how can customs contribute to these goals and objectives of supply chains? And it is important, in every case, to raise awareness for the trade community, for customs authorities to understand that supply chains are the backbone of social economic development. So we need to really contribute to ease the flows of supply chain. How do we do this? We do this through simplification and harmonization of our procedures, tools such as the revised Kyoto Convention, the single window, the safe framework of standards. These tools are customs tools that are meant to secure supply chains, and if implemented correctly, should harmonize the global procedures. So not only we develop these standards, but we also build capacity and deliver technical assistance to customs administrations when we do so.

Didier Trebucq:
Thank you. Thank you very much. I'd like to go back to you, Mr. Dominguez, with a follow-up question, especially related to decarbonization. Can you tell us a bit what are the challenges for the maritime industry to achieve decarbonization, which is a major topic nowadays, but also the economic or social opportunities for this industry?

Arsenio Dominguez:
I'll try a very short answer here. It is a challenge. It's a costly transition, but that's why the organization and all the stakeholders have made the decision to introduce... and we're currently developing economic measures to support this transition. Because it's easy to focus on the negative side of shipping, but the reality is we continue to forget that we continue to be the most sustainable and green mode of mass transportation. And when we introduce a measure, the organizations, they are mandatory, not voluntary. But we also need to make sure that we don't create negative effects. And that's why we're working in partnership with UNCTAD, who is carrying out the impact assessment of this, with special emphasis on small island developing states and least developed countries. Because we don't want to create that negative effect worldwide. We're seeing it right now, just with geopolitical tensions in the Red Sea. And that's the focus of the work of the organization. There are certain areas where, of course, we don't develop the new fuels, the alternative fuels. But we're partnering with the energy sector as well, and with the member states, with the countries as a whole, in order to do that. But it's the land of opportunities that comes with all this transition. We can see it in Barbados. That has already a strategy to move away from fossil fuels by 2030. That is focusing on renewable fuels. And we know that developing countries, in particular, has the raw materials. And then there's the new infrastructure, and it's the human factor as well. The new people that will be required for this new way of trade. And this is what the organization is also focusing, through a whole lot of new projects that we are developing, partnering with the private sector as well as with the UN. And it's to also highlight, with all the challenges that there is for decarbonization, we all know which they are, but also the amount of opportunities. And this is where the organization will continue to focus and play emphasis, particularly in developing countries.

Didier Trebucq:
Excellent. Thank you. Thank you very much, Arsenio. Mr. Miller, in the same vein, in this area of energy transition, can you tell us what, in your view, is key to achieve this? SDGs and industrial development overall, from that angle, and what role do supply chains can play in this energy transition area?

Gerd Müller:
For me it is important, the message, globalization, global supply chains, needs global standards. And we should not only talk about CO2 emissions, we must even talk, besides the ecological standards, we must talk about the social standards. Where does global supply chains start? Let me be concrete. Bananas, for example. Banana production here at Barbados or Mexico starts at the plantations. Coffee, cotton. And what is the reality there for the workers? The reality is they work for about 15, maybe 20 cents an hour. Minimum wages. They cannot live with this. And that we have to change. At least minimum salary wages for workers at the plantations, at the beginning of supply stands, is so, so important. And the second point is, this morning, an experience in my hotel. Water. The water, drinking water, is from France. Yoghurt, global supply chains, where does the yoghurt come from? Mango yoghurt. Here, this wonderful mango production country, yoghurt comes from Greece. And the towel at your bathroom, where is the towel produced? In Turkey. That are global supply chains. So we must change this. in the SIDS countries, in the small island countries, in the development countries. They need investments and local added value that must be possible to finance processing industry, in the textile industry, in the fruit companies, make from this wonderful mango here, mango juice, make Barbados not to an importer, to an exporter. And that means we must stop exploitation. Prime Minister Motley mentioned this. Think about 200 years ago and what is today the situation for workers. What is today the situation for workers, for example, in the mining sector? Just 10 days ago, I visited the largest copper mining mine in Chile. What is the situation there? Without green minerals, there is no green transition possible. And the situation there is even worse, worse, worse. So let's start with minimum standards in ecological and social standards. Globalization needs global standards for global goods. That is my clear message from this conference.

Didier Trebucq:
Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Miller.

Gerd Müller:
UNIDO is your partner with this. Of course, that is our main core.

Didier Trebucq:
Excellent. Understood. Ms. Sandra Ojambo, questions regarding the competitiveness of the private sector, especially of what was said around energy transition. Given the increasing pressures of the business environment, and also the requirement to shift to a more ethical and environmental friendly business, what would be your advice and solutions to private sector entities? And how would global compact help to basically manage these transitions towards greater competitiveness and more ethical? and more corporate social responsibility.

Sanda Ojiambo:
Well, thank you, Didier. I mean, there's a number of questions in there, but a couple of things. I mean, I think one, I don't think there's a singular piece of advice I would give the private sector. I think the advice I have brings together the private sector, government, and policymakers. I think we now need to look at what a coherent and enabling environment really is for business. No economy, no country is evolving without very strong private sector engagement. And I think that's the case around the world. I happen to be here not only for the conference, but certainly tomorrow we'll be launching our presence here in the Eastern Caribbean. And I'm really excited about that opportunity to see how we can bring businesses together to do a couple of things. One is to build the resilience that my dear colleagues have spoken about on environmental, social, and governance issues, which are very important. But secondly, is to continue to leverage the convening power of the UN to bring business in discussion with policymakers and government around what really good and sustainable business means. I think my colleague, Garrett, has really spoken to this. And just last week, for example, I was at the Africa CEO Forum in Kigali. And I think President Kagame put it very plainly. He said, we cannot continue to be a world, in reference to the developing world, where children are digging rocks out of the ground that go into a supply chain or value chain to create products that we all use that come back to be purchased at astronomical prices. And that is just really how vivid that picture looks like. So, you know, and in there, there's private sector at every single angle, but there's a real opportunity to redefine how we're doing business and really bring in that E, the S, and the G that is so important, but also make sure that businesses are truly contributing to the sustainable development goals. We must not lose track of that because business does not exist in isolation. And certainly business will not succeed in the longterm when society is failing. So it's truly the opportunity for business to act responsibly. But also I say that core needs to be that business can work and thrive in an enabling environment.

Didier Trebucq:
And finally, Mr. Trevino-Chapa, I have a question regarding regional approaches and regional integration. And aside from regional customs unions, what are other regional integration mechanisms or solutions that can help to strengthen customs in developing countries, for example, in a region like the Caribbean, with SEADS?

Ricardo Treviño Chapa:
Thank you. Thank you again, Didier. It's a very good question. And as I mentioned, within our 186 members, we have, of course, several developing countries. We have several small island economies also as members, landlocked economies. So we know there are different realities in the world, and we try to customize some of our tools. But we follow some principles, and the principles are strong cooperation. We cooperate in three, or we foster cooperation in three main pillars. One is customs-to-customs cooperation, exchange of information, exchange of data. So we leverage on technology and we leverage on data for this cooperation. We have a customs enforcement network which facilitates this exchange of information and data. We also promote cooperation at the level with other border agencies, also in order to find synergies and to find ways of collaborating in a more efficient way by exchanging information. Other agencies, not only customs, collect a lot of data, a lot of information, and again, we promote leveraging on that data to be efficient. And thirdly, we also promote cooperation. cooperation with the private sector. The private sector, most of the cases are the main source, and in many cases, the owners of this information and this data that customs and border agencies need to be efficient and ease the flow of supply chains. Through building trust and collaborating with private sector, we try and we try to achieve this efficiency in supply chains, again, through the use of data. We also, in this cooperation, not only leverage with technology and the use of data, but we also, of course, promote and raise awareness on protecting our environment. As part of our mandate as well, we have developed the Green Customs Initiative, which is basically containing three main aspects. One, to promote customs being green themselves, adopting environmentally friendly measures within their own administrations. Second is to promote the greening of supply chains by measuring risk, assessing risk, and then taking certain measures for environmentally friendly products and those that put in risk our environment. So there are specific measures that we are promoting on that side. And thirdly, by innovation, which means thinking a little bit out of the box, promoting, for instance, circular economy and other aspects that can help our planet and be much more friendly to the environment. So at the end, we promote cooperation through the use of technology and by also being, of course, aware of our obligations on protecting our own planet. Thank you.

Didier Trebucq:
Thank you. Thank you very much. Before closing, any of you would have a final word of wisdom, recommendation to delegates, to the delegates here for the next three days? Anything to share?

Arsenio Dominguez:
Be inclusive, because the more that we actually share with each other, the more that we're going to find the solutions. Don't focus on the problems only. Just look forward the problems and into the solutions.

Didier Trebucq:
Great. Thank you. Anything?

Gerd Müller:
My motto is progress, progress by solutions. We know all the problems, the challenges, we talk about this, but we do have, even in this time, we do have the technologies and the knowledge. What is missing? Missing is the political will for global solidarity.

Didier Trebucq:
Thank you. Anything? Sandra?

Sanda Ojiambo:
Perhaps one thing that we haven't spoken about enough, I think, is the financial architecture. Prime Minister Motti has spoken a lot about that. We need to take a really strong look at credit rating agencies and the impact that they have on business trade and development, certainly in this part of the world, developing world. Those who really need access to build resilience in their supply chains actually can't access the finance to be able to do that. I think that's absolutely important. We won't grow unless we can de-risk business and supply chains in ways that are sustainable.

Didier Trebucq:
Thank you, Sandra. Miguel?

Ricardo Treviño Chapa:
Thank you. I would just close by saying that cooperation, international cooperation, cooperation among all the actors, stakeholders, is essential to achieve the goals that we have settled ourselves, not only as an organization, but as human race and in protecting our planet and in developing and promoting equality. And just closing by saying that while... borders might divide, customs will always connect. Thank you very much.

Didier Trebucq:
Excellent, great word to close. Thank you very much, a round of applause for our four panelists. Thank you. Thank you so much to our panelists. Thank you very much for the insights you shared today. Wishing you a great continuation. Bye-bye.

Belle Holder:
Thank you to our panelists, Didier Trebucq, the moderator, Mr. Arsenio Dominguez, Jared Mueller, Ricardo Trevino-Chapa, and Ms. Sanda Ojiambo. Thank you very much. First in the region, those fellow small island developing states who have similar challenges to Barbados and other small island developing states. We're going to get the regional perspective. I'm calling to the stage, therefore, Mr. Winston Moore, Vice Principal of the University of the West Indies. Vice Principal of the University of the West Indies, Winston Moore. Also joining this panel, CARICOM private sector organization being represented by Mr. Jeffrey Hall. Mr. Jeffrey Hall. Also joining the next session is Secretary General for Central American Economic Integration, Francisco A. Lima Mena. And this session will be moderated by the Chief Trade and Investment Division of the IDB, Jamie Granados. Jamie Granados. Once again, ladies and gentlemen, we now turn our attention to a regional perspective. This panel features Mr. Winston Moore, Vice Principal of the University of the West Indies, Mr. Jeffrey Hall, CARICOM Private Sector Organization, the CPSO, Mr. Francisco A. Lima Mena, Secretary General Secretariat for Central American Economic Integration, and the session will be moderated by Jamie Granados, Chief Trade and Investment Division of the IDB. Mr. Granados, I ask that you turn your attention to the timer, which is to the right. All right. Thank you, sir. The floor is yours.

Jaime Granados:
Thank you very much. Good morning, everybody. Thank you, the government of Barbados, for hosting us. Thank you, UNCTAD, for the invitation to moderate this panel. It's a pleasure to be here. I'm Jaime Granados from the Inter-American Development Bank. I'm going to moderate this panel on the regional dimensions of the global supply chains. A pleasure to be here with Mr. Lima, Mr. Hall, and Mr. Moore. They have already been introduced, so I'm going right to the subject matter that brought us here. By now, we have already heard enough about the challenges that we have before us and the crisis we have. We know by now that it all started probably around 2009 with a big financial crisis, but the problems exacerbated in terms of disrupting of the global value chains after the COVID pandemics. We heard about the geopolitical tensions. We heard about the climate change crisis, the energy crisis, the container crisis, the food inflation problems. The stage has been set up for us quite nicely. Now we are going to focus on the regional dimensions of all this. We have to have it very clear that most of the challenges here are before the private sector. They are the ones who are struggling with the new environment. They are the ones that are thinking about how to cope with resilience, how to cope with robustness of global value chains, and how to provide the goods and services in a timely and competitive fashion worldwide. So while it's a private sector-driven challenge here, there are also public policy dimensions, global and regional. Many of them have already been mentioned here in terms of regulation, in terms of ports, in terms of sustainability, in terms of inclusion, et cetera. And there's been mention also of strategic sectors and new industrial policies, et cetera, mostly in developed countries. But they also have repercussions in the global south, in our countries, Latin America and the Caribbean, in our smaller countries, smaller islands, et cetera. Let me tell you a story, a brief story. I like airplanes. I like huge airplanes, you know, 777, the A380, et cetera. So I belong to this Facebook group which highlights big airplanes in Latin American airports. When they land, somebody brings pictures and comments about these airplanes, et cetera. I like that stuff. So in 1920, sorry, in 2020, right after the worst part of the pandemics, there was this situation in which this person started noticing a very strange pattern of landings of huge airplanes, you know, 777, Boeing 747. 47, even Antonov's 125, these big, big machines. They're fascinating. And they had this very strange pattern, very unusual for the destination country, Costa Rica. It started in Vietnam or Indonesia, going to India, and then Cabo Verde in Western Africa, Venezuela, and then landing in Costa Rica. Two or three times a week, all this pattern taking place. Of course, immediately, there were conspiracy theories about what is going on over here? What kind of cargo is taking place over there? Is there a security or a regional problem here? What is the situation? Some guy, at some point, deciphered the entire problem. No, no, no, no, wait a second. This is Intel, the microchip company that is bringing back all the equipment that in 2014, it had taken from Costa Rica, where it was doing assembly, testing, and packaging, all the way closer to China, in Indonesia, and in Vietnam. In 2020, they decided to bring that back and to open up the operation again in Costa Rica. A classical situation of near shoring, right? And in the midst of this crisis, it only made sense. They didn't close the operations over there, no. They reopened over here in this side of the world by re-engaging in the production of microchips in the Western Hemisphere again. So there was no conspiracy theory over here. Why do I bring this? Because we have spoken a lot about the challenges, and we haven't focused on the opportunities. I only heard one of our previous panelists here focusing on the opportunities. Yes, there is supply chain disruptions. We've heard about them. They are critical. We have to address them. But we need to talk also about the opportunities. And we believe that there are huge opportunities at the regional level as well. We've seen, for instance, how the digital industries grew up. during the pandemics and Latin America and the Caribbean are strong in that regard. There's a lot of power, there's a lot of gray matter, there's a lot of young potential over there that we need to tap on, right? So I bring this case of Intel in Costa Rica because when Panama and Costa Rica opened up the land border crossing among them, the first company that came very happy to see this project and that benefit greatly from this project was precisely Intel. Why? Because they import the containers with the inputs, the wafers that they use in the microchips via Panama in huge Panama ships that cannot dock in Costa Rican ports, they have to dock in Panamanian ports. So they download the containers and go by land all the way to San Jose, some 600 kilometers, and they have to go through a land border crossing, which used to be a complete problem because it takes days and days to clear the border, but after the modernization of the land border crossings, which we and from the IDB financed, and it was part of the Central American trade facilitation strategy of 2014, the logistic costs of going through the land border crossing from now onwards, instead of being seven, eight hours, it's a matter of 45 minutes. So Intel was very happy because the logistic costs were a very important component of their strategy, and that's why they were doing business in Costa Rica, and that's why it's becoming, again, an interesting hotspot to have investments in this part of the world in terms of microchips. So there are opportunities over here, and we are going to talk about those opportunities in this panel. We're going to ask questions about what are the regional public goods that are needed, what is the collective action required in order to promote, you know... sustainable value chains that generate jobs, high-quality jobs that generate positive spillovers over the economies of our countries. So those are the focuses of our questions, and I'm going to start with Francisco here in my left. Francisco, would you please describe what are the— how do you see it from the Central American point of view? What is being done? What are the challenges? But again, what are the solutions, not only for goods, but also for services? Thank you.

Francisco A. Lima Mena:
Thank you, and very good morning to every one of you, and my honor to be here with all of you. Challenges. Probably I'll try to make it simple, and certainly Central America, half a million square kilometer territory in the world, 54 million inhabitants, consumers, I might say. So we faced the similar challenges every single country in the world faced when we had the COVID disruption. We cannot afford the luxury of waiting to become more adaptable to those changes the world is pushing us toward. And certainly the biggest challenge, I think, is remaining competitive. If we do not remain competitive in a globalized world, opportunities will go somewhere else. And the biggest one, and this is the one that I would like to underscore, is the infrastructure challenge. All those terms we speak about, speed to market, near shoring, I always say that this work This will add competitiveness to the region if there's proper infrastructure. And that is part of the biggest challenge in Central America, becoming very competitive. Products transit through the Central American region at a speed of 17 kilometers per hour. And the cost of moving one ton per kilometer is close to 12 cents. So competitiveness cannot be achieved with those markers. What are we doing? And the opportunities we'd like to share with you. First of all, Central America approved last December its infrastructure and mobility plan 2035. This is a sole and unique way of Central Americans seeing what's needed in terms of infrastructure from here to 2035. And I might go as far as saying 2015. And this certainly is a regional good that we're trying to foster. The infrastructure does not only focus on infrastructure, but it focuses on the multi-modality way of moving goods within the region and outside the region. It's good that we're very close to very big markets. We have free trade agreements with major markets of consumers. But if you don't have the competitiveness in trying to move those goods quickly and adapt to the global consumer market, I think we're losing there. The other thing is under the trade facilitation umbrella, we're also going digital. And what I mean by this is basically all that we're doing in terms of digitalization of the different processes needed for the import and export activity, we're doing this by the regional platform called the Digital Platform of Central America. It encompasses 72 processes, and it's currently running, and the estimate of influencing our gross domestic product is close to 1.8% per year, which is very important. I think we're also working in terms of strengthening our trade facilitation perspective. We've moved to the second strategy within the region, and this has proven to be very important. Why? First, a way of a region looking at trade facilitation, so we're working with trade facilitation with a regional perspective, and secondly, we're looking at the region working together in integrated border posts. This is a component also included in our trade facilitation schemes. Currently the deep integration process, which is a process ongoing by Guatemala and Honduras and shortly El Salvador, by working in close cooperation with integrated border posts, this has increased trade between Guatemala and Honduras close to 32% of increase in goods. So basically we have to focus that. Most importantly, I think we have to understand where our strengths are, and Central America has increased close to 40, well, it's currently exporting 40 million U.S., 40,000 million U.S. dollars per year in terms of services. We export double the amount of services that we're importing. So it's quite important also. to recognize your strengths in moving the regional process. And I'd like to end here by saying the importance of working regionally, the regionally concept of facing globalization by small countries like the Central Americans. So we clearly see our challenges ahead, but we're clearly not just spectators of what's coming, and that's basically what we're doing currently in Central America.

Jaime Granados:
Thank you very much, Francisco. Very interesting to see that trade facilitation, investment facilitation, promotion of services, et cetera, are key in Central America. Good to hear that. Jeffrey, please tell us about your experience from the private sector and from the port perspective that you have.

Jeffrey Hall:
Please. I promise to talk about solutions. But before I do that, I just wanted to give you a little bit of context as a business person on my experience. And so the business that I'm in now started life as a banana growing cooperative in Jamaica. Until this day, we operate the largest banana farms in the English-speaking Caribbean. But that's our smallest business today. By revenues, our largest single business is manufacturing in Europe, in the Netherlands, where we buy fresh produce from all over the world and make juice. But in between, to your point, Francisco, we've also made significant investments in the call center business, in the hotel business, in financial services. And what I want to talk to you about today is we also are in food manufacturing. consumer goods manufacturing. But the ship in the picture behind you, they took off the brand. So I'm going to tell you the brand. It's Geest Line. It's one of our businesses as well. And we also operate one of the leading port terminals in the Caribbean in Kingston. Kingston Wharves, which is a multi-purpose gateway terminal. So we bring goods in the Kingston Wharves. We bring a car ship with, say, 2,000 cars from Asia and then redistribute them to 27 countries across the Caribbean. We bring in grain, consumer goods, etc. That business, Geest Line, essentially brings consumer goods from Europe, including vehicles, and does essentially a milk run down the Caribbean islands en route to Colombia, where we get bananas and then go from Colombia to the Dominican Republic, get some more bananas, and head on back to Flushing in the Netherlands, and then go to the UK, and then repeat. So there's five of these ships that are doing that all day long. My view is as follows. And by the way, I think that the panelists that came on before us addressed almost every aspect of the things that I get up in the morning and worry about. The fact is that ships globally, for all sorts of reasons that we can talk about, are getting bigger and they're getting slower. And they're getting slower because of the reasons that were mentioned earlier about the trade routes being challenged by the Red Sea and by Panama, and they're getting slower because of emission standards. And I'm using slower broadly defined. They're requiring different fuels. It requires significant investments. And the relevance to small island economies is that the bigger the ships, the more likely they are to just pass by. Now the good news... that there's no real correlation between the size of the country and the potential size of the port. You can have a small country and a big port that can attract a big ship. Now CARICOM, which is our region, has an architecture that is designed to facilitate the movement within CARICOM from point to point of goods produced in CARICOM. Goods that change HS codes in CARICOM with a strong emphasis on protecting primary production. That architecture is not going to attract big ships because big ships want to move a higher volume of goods and is produced within the domestic populations and therefore we're going to have to ask ourselves how do we get into the business of logistics. That's a very different trade architecture and that's the opportunity. I think it's worth discussing.

Jaime Granados:
Thank you very much. Definitely that's one of the main challenges, how to attract you know more competitive transportation ship shipping into our regions, how to do it sustainably mostly and efficiently. Thank you Jeffrey. Now let's turn to Professor Winston Moore. Professor welcome again and would like to know you know the academic perspective of this. What are your views on the regional challenges that we pose before all these dynamics of global supply chains?

Winston Moore:
Thank you very much for that. I think we've had a really good discussion this morning in relation to all the issues but I want to zero in this morning in relation to the issues facing small island development states. We spoke about small island development states to some extent this morning but we haven't really discussed in a lot of detail and hopefully my comments would give you a little bit of a perspective on this. There are a couple of issues that small states face in relation to global supply chains. The first issue is this issue of vulnerability. Vulnerability is a fundamental characteristic of small island states, and one of the things that the Prime Minister spoke about this morning is the exposure to economic shocks, and exposure to shocks generally. So if there's a shock to a major developed country, that impacts on smaller developed small island development states in Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific. We also face issues in relation to human resources. So there is a lack of variety in relation to the availability of human resources, and also natural resources as well. So I know we tend to speak about developing countries as having access to a large amount of natural resources, but that is not the case in small island developing states. The natural resource that we're using to transition to a renewable and to an economy focused largely on renewable energy is the sun. There isn't a river that we can draw on. We have started to look at wind, but the sun is the main resource that we've been looking at to transition to a renewable energy-based economy. And then the other issue that small island developing states face is the issue in relation to small size of the domestic market. So if you look at Barbados, Barbados is like a six billion dollar, I should translate to US dollars. There's like three to four billion dollars in terms of the size of the economy, and we're considered a large small island developing state. For most countries, three, four billion dollars is not a lot of money. That is a, maybe that's a town or maybe a city. It's not really considered a large economy, but Barbados is considered a large small island developing state. So trying to develop a business in a small island developing state, you have a very small domestic market to work with. Now this is where supply chains come into place. What supply chains, what global supply chains can mean for countries like Barbados or regions like the Caribbean is that it reduces the dependence on that small domestic market. So rather than focusing on a three to four billion US dollar economy, you can now consider the world as your oyster. And our tourism product is a good example of this. We don't market just to the Caribbean, we market to the entire globe. So Barbados now has that reputation as being a global tourism hub. The same thing with our goods and services. We are marketing our goods and services now to the entire globe. And Arthur Lewis, the famous Caribbean economist once said, we don't really need a large proportion of the global economy. No, we just need maybe like half of a percentage point. And half of a percentage point of maybe the US economy would provide thousands of jobs for Barbadians. And that's the model that we focus on in smaller developing states. Just having a percentage point of these large economies. Then the other thing that global supply chains do is that they provide us with access to human resources. And the Caribbean is a good example of this. When you have resources flowing to and from, it allows you to access resources not just from Barbados, but you have access to resources, human resources, from Jamaica. You can access human resources from Guyana. So the benefit of having supply chains and a good supply chain network is that you can now increase the availability of human resources in your economy. And the same thing in relation to natural resources. So Barbados is very dependent on fossil fuels, but our fossil fuels come from all the Caribbean islands. And other Caribbean islands, because of those, the supply chains, it provides us the opportunity to have access to those natural resources. The other thing that I want to build out here is from a business perspective, and that is the notion of clusters. If you look at what has been happening in the Caribbean, you've been seeing a consolidation of businesses within the Caribbean. And the reason for that is, again, because of the small domestic size, but also because of the growing availability of links between countries within the Caribbean. So now you have the development of business clusters. So within the beverage industry, within rum, you now have the development of these clusters developing. And what you're seeing is that because of the increased connectivity between countries in the Caribbean, it's reducing your vulnerability. And even more so than that, it's actually increasing your resilience to economic shocks. So the benefit of connectivity is that it reduces vulnerability and also increases resilience to economic shock. So from a regional perspective, that's the benefit. Now, I also want to focus as well, too, on the potential benefits. I've written a couple papers on the benefits for the Caribbean in relation to exports of green and blue goods. The Caribbean as a whole has a comparative advantage in a number of green goods and a number of blue economy goods as well. But you're only going to be able to exploit those blue green goods if you have a good connectivity network. So even though we have a comparative advantage, we're still very much dependent on the connectivity that we have within the region to exploit these green and blue advantages that we might have. So I'm going to end here for now.

Jaime Granados:
Thank you very much, Professor Moore. Yes, we find it very interesting. The blue economy is absolutely essential. In fact, we are supporting with some of our non-reinforceable technical cooperation programs some of those dimensions that you mentioned. Tomorrow we're going to focus on food security, but I want to pick up on one of the issues that you mentioned several times. Human resources, talent development, and I'm going to start with another questions. We have four minutes, so one minute per person here. Professor Moore, I will start with you regarding human resources. On our way to this nice facility, I saw two medical schools, two universities here providing training for professionals in the Caribbean. This model can be replicated not only in the global health environment, but also in many other digital services, professional services, BPO, KPO, LPO, etc. The potential is huge. As an academic and as a provider of this, you know, educational services, how do you see this from a regional perspective?

Winston Moore:
One of the areas as well that I needed to mention in terms of my notes. So one of the things that the University of West Indies is doing is that we're developing programs, short courses to assist in relation to these global supply chains. The most recent program we've developed is Bachelors of Business Administration in Aviation Management. And what we're hoping to do is train a cadre of individuals that can provide the management of the regional aviation industry, which is a really important part of supply chains within the Caribbean. We're also going to be branching out to look at the maritime industry as well and train persons within that area. We haven't really exploited it. You don't see a lot of Caribbean people being ship captains. and being first officers and this is something that we want to address through our training in the future.

Jaime Granados:
Thank you very much Professor Moore. Now I turn to Jeffrey Hall again regarding ports. I want to ask you about the regulatory framework at the regional level. What should be done in order to increase the ability of the Caribbean countries to you know enhance the efficiency of maritime services?

Jeffrey Hall:
This is a topic that's probably longer than a minute but what I will say is two things. Thing number one is large ports require large capital and the capital required is probably more significant than a typical small island developing state can harness and so there needs to be thought given to how to attract global capital to create global terminals in the Caribbean including regional international capital. The second point that I would make is that if the architecture of CARICOM allows goods not just to be originated in CARICOM and then move from one state to the other but allows for goods from outside CARICOM to more easily move within CARICOM then we'll create more trade volume between countries and on that ecosystem more trade can arise.

Jaime Granados:
Thank you very much and thank you for the you know respecting the time and I see collective action problems there and collective action solutions also over there. Francisco I want to ask you about the services economy in Central America and how can we enhance you know job opportunities in Central American countries by ways of regional approaches please.

Francisco A. Lima Mena:
Thank you most definitely and as I said in my previous intervention We are a net exporting service provider. So how do we see ourselves in this area? I think that in value-added chains worldwide, we don't want to focus only on the trade of goods. I think it's the involvement of services for the trade of goods. So basically what I'm trying to say here is probably we can participate or have participated in export of goods and are incorporated in several value chains in the service-provided industry. We surpassed the benchmark of 40,000 million U.S. dollars last year. So definitely we see services as a major input for the economy of Central America, and that's where we need to focus ourselves.

Jaime Granados:
Thank you very much. Thank you to our panelists. I guess that at this time we need to understand clearly all this reconfiguration of global value chains implies huge opportunities at the regional level, because many of these chains want to be shortened, need to be shortened, for sustainability reasons, for consumer preferences, reasons, et cetera. And that's why our regions here, Central America, the Caribbean, South America, and many others worldwide have good opportunities. They need to tap on them. They need to focus on the opportunities. And that's why organizations such as ourselves, the IDB, many others that are here present, are here to help you with. Thank you very much to the participants and to you for the attention. Bye.

Belle Holder:
Thank you. Thank you to our moderator, Jamie Granados, the Chief Trade and Investment Division of the IDB. Also want to say thank you so much to each of our panelists, Francisco A. Lima Mena, the Secretary General, the Secretariat for Central American Economic Integration. To Jeffrey Hall, CARICOM Private Sector Organization, CPSO, and also to Mr. Winston Moore, Vice Principal, the University of the West Indies. Please give them all a round of applause. And our last session ahead of this afternoon's lunch break, we're going to focus in now on finance and international cooperation. I think we all know that in order to make things happen, once we have the cooperation and like-minded individuals get into a room to discuss what needs to be done, it also helps to have the right financing. And so, ladies and gentlemen, the next panel will include Mr. Anton Edmunds, General Manager of the Caribbean Region Inter-American Bank, the IDB. Please join us on stage, Mr. Anton Edmunds, General Manager of the Caribbean Region Inter-American Bank. He will be joined by Ren Hongbin, China Council for the Promotion of International Trade. Also joining this panel is Ms. Therese Turner Jones, Vice President, Operations, Acting, of the Caribbean Development Bank. Ms. Therese Turner-Jones, Vice President, Operations, Acting, Caribbean Development Bank. And also joining this panel, Mr. Carlos Felipe Jaramillo Regional Vice President for Latin America and the Caribbean World Bank Group. And this session will be moderated by Ms. Shamika N. Sirimanne, Director of the Division of Technology and Logistics for UNCTAD. Ladies and gentlemen, your panel focusing on finance and international cooperation. Ms. Seremani, the floor is yours.

Shamika N. Sirimanne:
Thank you so much. So can I say that this is the last session, and as usual, it's the most important one. So let me start saying that. We have had many conversations this morning about the many-faceted supply chain challenges, and we heard the need to make supply chains inclusive, sustainable and resilient, and this was the way our SD started the conversation, and then it kind of permeated through the whole, and we heard the global perspectives, we heard the regional perspectives, and as you all kind of realized, the financing, investment, the private sector involvement came as the solutions. That's where the solutions are. And we heard that the need for increased investment for adding value, and that's what our head of UNIDO mentioned, and we talked about the need for investment in infrastructure, digitalization, and the head of UN Global Compact talked about the cost of capital as a main deterrent of supply chain functioning. And so I have here the financiers, the private sector here, and you have the solutions. So we want to hear from you, what works, what doesn't work, what are the solutions, what do you do in this region in financing and cooperation aspects. So let me start with you, Carlos, but maybe I will, since we don't have much time, I will ask one question from all of you, anyway I'll repeat it to you if you want, and then we will have a conversation, some follow-up issues. So from your own perspective, what type of support by development partners, especially like the World Bank, and also from your experience, is required? for developing countries to ensure resilient and sustainable supply chains. So Carlos, if I can start with you, you are the regional vice president for Latin America and the Caribbean at the World Bank Group, and you are in this region, you have enormous amount of experience in financing, and give us what works and what doesn't work.

Carlos Felipe Jaramillo:
Thank you very much. So on this topic, I just want to start being very brief and maybe just two messages on this, what you just asked, what financing and what really works and doesn't work. So global value chains, I think it was beautifully said by my predecessor, one of the speakers in the previous panels from the University of West Indies, that the global value chains that have developed as a mechanism over the last 20, 30 years have been a fantastic opportunity for many countries to provide opportunities, good services that they wouldn't have otherwise had access to. So trade and global value chains have been, I just want to overemphasize, it was also said this morning by Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohammed. She was very clear when she said, look, billions have benefited from this burst of trade over the last 30 or so years. Of course, it hasn't been perfect, and lots of things can be improved, but we are now at a juncture where we're getting increasingly worried, and we heard many reasons why. And the one that I'm most worried about personally is what's going on with the onslaught of non-tariff barriers, subsidies, and other actions that are getting in the way of particularly the less-developed countries continuing to have good access into the world. these global value chains. So that's my big concern. My second message on this is that, and I'll say it very broadly, I think the best way that we can collaborate is by creating alliances. We need to counter this general sense that trade needs to be carefully managed, that protection is better, that subsidies to specific companies or specific goods in developed countries is the way to go, that trade needs to be segmented because that will limit the possibilities of small and medium companies to export and to participate in trade. I'm particularly concerned about women-led companies, youth entrepreneurs, and populations that have been traditionally excluded. We need to create an alliance. We work very, very closely here in Latin America and the Caribbean with the Inter-American Development Bank, with the CAF, with the Caribbean Development Bank, trying to create an alliance to help the countries argue their case in maintaining this access. I think this is really kind of life or death for these countries, and I'll leave it there.

Shamika N. Sirimanne:
Thank you so much for raising this very important point of the emerging protectionism and how the alliances should be created to, I guess, to go against that trend. This is a very important point. So let me move to the Caribbean Development Bank now. Ms. Turner-Jones, and thank you so much for being with us. And so let me ask the same questions. What type of support by development partners like yourselves that is needed for developing countries to ensure resilient and sustainable supply chains? What works and what doesn't work?

Therese Turner Jones:
Thank you very much. Yeah, you can hear me. And thanks, this audience, for sticking with the program and still being attentive. This is the most important panel here, so forget what the others have said. No, to be frank, and by the way, it's World Trade Week. I didn't realize that until I saw a comment from the U.S. Representative on Trade this week where she basically said the same thing Mia Motley said about some of the challenges around supply chains. And if I didn't realize it was a U.S. Trade Representative making those comments, I would, like some others suggested this morning, go back in the bed this morning because I think these challenges are mighty huge. But I think we need to start maybe where Felipe left off, which is to say collaboration with partners matters because these are big issues. But because these are big issues, it doesn't mean that we can't solve them. And I would also like to say that part of solving these problems in the role of CDB, for example, is to present a strategic vision for this region that takes us outside of the region for those solutions. We've heard about labor shortages. The labor shortages, I put to Winston Moore, can't be solved within the region. The skills we need are not in the region. What our countries need, perhaps, to look at what are those migration policies that could help us solve some of the skill shortages that we have in the region to deal with some of these issues. In terms of trade, I'm with Jeffrey Hall. Small countries can have big ports. Small countries like Singapore, like the Maldives, have managed to integrate very successfully into the global supply chain. So I think what this region needs and what SIDS need to think about is how to leverage these partnerships. And they're up here on the stage right now. How do I work with the IDB? How do I work with the World Bank? How do I work with other partners, CAF? others, that are here to provide the finance that is not available in the region to bring that finance in to get the infrastructure work done, whether it's cheaper electricity through renewable energy, whether it's better water supply by tackling this huge issue that Mia Martley mentioned this morning, or whether it's having those ports that work. We all know what bad logistics look like. You get to an airport, you can't figure the way out, it takes you a long time in the line, you get outside, you cannot pay for a taxi with your phone. Most of us, and even people in this region, are accustomed now to being able to do everything digitally on our phones. But we arrive in countries where, because of the lack of digital infrastructure and the lack of digital transformation, it's impossible to do it. The efficiencies we're talking about can be leapfrogged if we get on the digital transformation train and get on it quickly. I'd like to take a leaf out of what the Central Americans have done. That digital platform for all of Central America can easily be replicated in the Caribbean if we decided to work together to do it. I worked for another institution where for a long time we tried to get one form for those goods coming from Guyana, going all the way to the Bahamas on one form. We still can't do that. I think we have to start practically and work on those issues that we can really solve. And that comes through our policies, that comes through our mindset, that comes through getting things done, asking the development partners who are providing the finance to do the things that you need done. Better airports, better ports, digital transformation, better training of staff. One other thing I'd like to mention is that in the space of advocacy, CDB, IDB, World Bank, all these multilaterals we're working with. We're here to be your voice on this global stage where these issues are too big for you to handle. I think PM Motley positioned it correctly this morning. Rebeca Grynspan emphasized it importantly and Amina Mohammed weighed in on these issues. This can't be solved by just looking internally. It can't be solved by CARICOM. It has to be solved at a global level and our institutions are here to help you do that. Thanks.

Shamika N. Sirimanne:
Thank you. Thank you so much, Therese. I think now we are getting really into the solution areas. Thank you so much. And let me now move to Ren Hongbin, the chairman of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, CCPIT, our partner in this endeavor. And Mr. Ren Hongbin, what type of support by development partners is required for developing countries to ensure resilient and sustainable supply chains? What do they need most?

Ren Hongbin:
Okay, dear friends. Good afternoon, I should say. It's my pleasure to join you in the beautiful Barbados to talk about a very important topic. Actually, the global supply chain is of paramount importance for the world economy, trade, and even for the whole mankind. And I perceive the global supply chain as the blood vessel system of the economy. So only if the blood will be circulating without any obstacles smoothly, and the world economy could be healthy and sustainable. So I think what we are talking about is so important. And also I commend the UNCTAD and the Barbados. government for holding this very important forum, which is timely and necessary and urgent. Why is it so important? Actually last November, China hosted the first China International Supply Chain Expo, which was also unique with the theme of the Expo on the national level. It was extremely successful, and actually we presented there five whole industrial chains with up, middle, and downstream links of the industrial chain there. So actually that platform actually functioned not only on the Expo, but I think it's a very important place for the people to talk about the security and stability of the global supply chain. So actually in the first Expo, besides Chinese companies' participation, the U.S. companies, European companies, Japanese companies took the largest area of the exhibition. So I should say there, global supply chain is so important, even though some people talking about the decoupling, even severing of the supply chains, which is in reality impossible. Actually in this platform, in this Expo, we have seen the Chinese, American, European, and Japanese companies, even other companies from other parts of the world, they are intertwined together. So actually Chinese companies, as the head of the chain, brought suppliers from other countries. The U.S., for example, Tesla, they have built their Gigafactory electric car in Shanghai. Actually 95% of their products components were built were produced in China localization 95% and the first tier local suppliers more than 400 and Actually, this is the example The the global supply chain is a so interconnected. Yeah, so artificially Severing actually can be disrupting the global economic system But of course is a backlash To themselves to everybody. So that's it's one thing. I think that why this supply chain Forum is so important because I think the two platforms Expo and forum are in accordance with each other actually Last year when miss Greenspan paid a visit in China, we talked about the two things together Actually, we have made a consensus to mutually support and we will support them and they will support us Actually, I think this we will make the platform for the world So we welcome The companies or all present here to participate in the second edition in Beijing In November this year, that's the one thing I think second I just want to emphasize that if we're talking about the global supply chain, especially in the small island state and we should place the development at the core of the international agenda because even though the developing countries have Climbed up their supply chain in the international way But still they remain in the lower and the middle Links of the industry chain there. Actually, we need to engage more developing countries actually even I already says in the integration of global supply chain there. Thank you.

Shamika N. Sirimanne:
Thank you. Thank you so much. And also thank you so much for bringing the private sector perspective. Sometimes the alliances between private sector is the way forward when the geopolitical situations are quite tense. So these are good points. And also our forum and also Expo, they created spaces for sharing and good practices and also lessons what not to do. So thank you so much. So now let me move to the Inter-American Development Bank. Anton, you're the general manager of the Caribbean region of the IDB. And so you're very familiar with the financing needs. So what do you hear from developing countries? What do they ask from the IDB to ensure resilient and sustainable supply chains in their own countries?

Anton Edmunds:
Good afternoon, everyone. So let me start off with a little story. I flew in yesterday with a friend of mine who is in the shipping industry, in the shipping business whose company is in this space. And we reflected on the fact that it's been maybe early in my career that we were at a similar activity, talking about the supply chain, talking about inefficiency, talking about a wide range of issues. And I realized that as far as I had thought I'd go on in my career, we're still back with the same singular issue as it relates to our countries in the Caribbean. And that's a problem. Now, solutions. If we are to believe, we heard Prime Minister Motley today, and if we are to believe that developing countries are serious about making the investments necessary to ensure that there is a supply chain, a strong, efficient supply chain in place. There are good options ahead. If we believe, I think as we know, that our populations are no longer satisfied not seeing the investment in the infrastructure and seeing the investment in the efficiency that they need, and as a result, they react by voting governments out of office more sort of rapidly than probably in the past, we have some opportunities ahead for us. I believe that one of the things that we probably should consider doing as institutions here, and we've all talked about collaboration, but I think one of the things that we probably need to really and truly focus on is us collectively working with governments on the infrastructure side and the investment in that. I think there's a fair amount of noise, and I'm not going to lie to you. I mean, I have my colleagues from the IDB here, so I'm going to go with the argument that, of course, I want everybody to borrow money from the IDB. Of course, I want nobody to borrow money from the World Bank or from the CDB, or to borrow money bilaterally, but it's unrealistic. It is absolutely unrealistic. None of us have the resources available or necessary to make that investment. So what that does mean is we do have to get our acts together as financial institutions in this space. It does mean that we should be collectively working on the infrastructure, the investment plans that the countries are looking at. I'm not going to lie to you. I'm working, we're working at the IDB on working with countries exactly on that, as it relates to infrastructure related to the supply chain, but we should be big enough to open that analysis to the World Bank, to the CDB, to bilateral partners of countries, so at the end of the day, we're playing from the same book. At the end of the day, we're not confusing governments with different products and competing initiatives. That is one sort of singular way that we as financial institutions could conceivably do a better job and be more aligned with the needs of the countries. Number two, you know, the financing of it, as I mentioned, you know, at the end of the day, whether you borrow from the IDB or you borrow from the CDB or from the World Bank, if it is a structured engagement that we're all involved in, and if we understand that it's going to be a 10-year or 15-year plan for a country to be where it needs to be, that's in the hard infrastructure, but that's also in digitalization of services and everything else. There's enough space for all of us to not just eat, but to gorge ourselves at the table. So I think there's an element of level setting that we as international institutions need to do, and to be honest with you, that our country members themselves need to ask us to do, so that at the end of the day, we're working more collaboratively. I want to focus a little bit on the plans or what we work on. This is not just a Caribbean thing, but of course, at the end of the day, there's always an election cycle. And one of the things, the unfortunate realities in emerging, in all countries, is that the best laid plans can sometimes get stopped by an election and by a new grouping of parties coming in. And I think from a knowledge standpoint, we as development institutions, we all have knowledge components. We do analysis and studies and everything else. We need to share that information with all actors within society. This is not just a singular deal with a government. We need to work with the government to get other stakeholders involved, so the value proposition can be acceptable to those who are coming in, heaven forbid, a government leaves. So, if we're able to invest in a plan, which all stakeholders in a country, be it the incumbent or others, are buying into. then there's the likelihood of that plan surviving an election cycle and then you see a continuation and the movement that we would like to see as it relates to a resilient supply chain. I think one component here is we really and truly do need to get the private sector more involved. People talk about trade and government trade figures, but governments don't trade. Governments facilitate trade. It's the private sector who trades. And I think one of the key elements that we have to do as part of making sure that this supply chain is resilient and we invest in it is we need to make sure that there's more space for other private sector actors. So that means SMEs. So while we're talking about investing in infrastructure, we do have to invest in the enabling environment that allows businesses to grow, to thrive, to use those ports, to use Assecuta and all of the custom systems that we're looking to put in place. Because we cannot implement systems that are not going to be utilized and are not going to be fully utilized because at the end of the day they end up being unsustainable. So there's a foundational element beyond the supply chain that we have to look at in terms of the private sector engagement. And I want to close with one thing. We all need to be careful as financiers of infrastructure projects not to throw money at the issue if at the end of the day it is based on bad policy. And I think that we're all seeing from our leadership this sense of our governors, same countries that borrow from us, but others as well, wanting to see more in terms of impact, more in terms of deliverables. But most importantly, at the end of the day, there is going to be this recognition or this coming to whatever moment where we all recognize that the intention is not just to lend money to build infrastructure or to build a system. The intention is to make sure that the policy framework that it is going to be built upon are just as robust and at the end of the day they can survive. So there is the financing part of the equation, but clearly on the other side of the equation there is the need for us as institutions and as bilateral partners of countries as well to bring all of this knowledge to the table so that governments are making the right investments, the long-term investments and future-proofing these investments as much as possible. Thank you.

Shamika N. Sirimanne:
Thank you. Thank you so much. I think many of you talked about the digitalization, how it is important to digitalize the custom systems or the single window systems. Let me bring some lessons that we have learned in the UN Trade and Development, UNCTAD. We have our largest technical cooperation program is called ASICUDA, and we are in 102 countries as customs automation. One of the things that we see is when you do customs automation you immediately see the increase in revenues. So it's a return to that investment, and the return to investment can be massive. Esti, you always talk about the Angola story. We automated the entire customs system in Angola in 2017, and by 2018-2019 their customs revenues went up by 47 per cent, and this is huge. Revenue increase by that percentage I have never heard. So they managed to fund the program with the increase of revenues. But I also want to say we are in a panel of discussing financing. But I also want to mention, yes, we need investment, but a lot can be done if there is a political will. A lot can be done when the countries have prioritized where they want to go, and then, you know, direct the investment in that direction, and sometimes that this investment is not that massive. But I want to go back to Felipe, you, and talk about the SMEs. How do you envision fostering greater financial inclusion to support SMEs within the regional supply chains? And we heard this morning, too, from the Prime Minister, there are a lot of SMEs in the supply chain business in this region. And how do we make sure that they are supported? Because I think, as the ministers and others also mentioned, you know, especially in small island, the developing countries, the markets are small, so there are small domestic markets, there's no scale. But the SMEs are thriving, they want to export, they want to add value. So how does the World Bank help them?

Carlos Felipe Jaramillo:
So I mean, that's, I could speak for a long time about this, but I have very little time.

Shamika N. Sirimanne:
Two minutes, unfortunately.

Carlos Felipe Jaramillo:
Exactly. So let me be very, summarize it in a nutshell, in two messages. So point number one is, I think SMEs are extremely vulnerable today to what's going on in the policies of rich countries. By subsidizing, by closing off their borders, this number of non-trade tariff barriers that have gone up from, what is it, 300 to over 5,000 today, is limiting the opportunities of SMEs to be able to take advantage of trade. I'm very concerned about, I'm very concerned about some of these measures like the EU deforestation regulation, that now small coffee farmers, small cocoa farmers have to be able to sell to, be able to sell to Europe. They will need to have some sort of certification that the plantation they've had for the last 20 or 30 years. did not deforest. And there's no certification about that. You know, it's a huge cost to these small farmers, poor farmers to do that. So a lot of this is an onslaught of costs and concerns. That's on the negative side, and the risks that I see, that we see, that we feel are constraining the opportunities. On the positive side, it's about programs that help SMEs, that are focused on SMEs. We have quite a few programs that are focusing on how to help them invest, upgrade their technologies, so they can access these markets. The one I'm most proud about, that we approved sometime last year, it's for over a billion dollars with Banco do Brasil, in Brazil. And it's about companies, small and medium companies that want to upgrade their technology, decarbonize, you know, diminish their carbon footprint, so that they can get certified, they can access export markets, they can also even access the carbon markets and get some additional revenues through that. So it's about that kind of financial support that goes directly to those SMEs and those companies. We have quite a few around the world. We have some big ones in Kenya, we have in Turkey, and in many of the SIDs, we are also focusing on that. I think we need to do that in order to give them the tools to enter these markets that are difficult, but at the same time, I really don't want to get my eye off the big picture, that we can't help them if we are also not advocating globally to eliminate all these new restrictions on trade.

Shamika N. Sirimanne:
That's a very, very important point. Thank you so much, Felipe. So, Therese, can I then go to you about the CDB, and what financial mechanisms that you have at CDB to support supply chains, especially the small-medium enterprises? enterprises to engage in the supply chains?

Therese Turner Jones:
Small and medium enterprises, I'm really proud of the initiative we launched last fall with ITC called SheTrades, which is focused on women-owned businesses. We also have a small window to support the creative industry sector by building their capacity and helping them go through the stages of not just content creation, but also IP creation, because I think that's really important, that creatives sometimes not understand the value of their content and don't know how to monetize their creativity. But also to provide financing, grants, capacity building for the sector, which I think is really, really important. Along with some of the other things that Felipe mentioned, I think this is the focus of CDB.

Shamika N. Sirimanne:
Thank you so much for that, and thank you so much also to highlighting the SheTrade, how do you help women entrepreneurs, because supply chains is not where we see a lot of women being engaged, and it's very important to push their aspirations. So Mr. Hongbin, you talked a lot about the green development as an important area where we can support developing countries. So I'd like to hear from you what China has done in this regard, because China has had a tremendous impact on greening supply chains.

Ren Hongbin:
Okay, thank you. So this morning we talked a lot about the challenge. Mr. Greenspan also talked. I think it's very important to find the solution, and I think this forum is a very important step from the rhetoric to action, and also as well as the World Supply Chain Expo last year we did. So it's very important. So I just want to... I want to share maybe two very important facts that, you know, ten years ago, Chinese President Xi Jinping put forward the Belt and Road Initiative, and over the past decade, the BRI, the initiative, has brought around one trillion U.S. dollars investment, and with execution 3,000 projects, and created 500,000 job places for the countries along the route. I think it's a wonderful, very important action to assist the developing countries and the RDCs in advancing their integration into the global supply chain. Of course, we will continue to enhance the cooperation within the initiative of BRI, as well as the Global Development Initiative, Global Civilization Initiative, and Global Security Initiative, in order to make efforts together to form the common community with shared future for mankind. And second, I just want to share, you know, China, for the past decade, contributed around 30% to the world economic growth, and China has also the largest manufacturing base, and also has the super large, I should say, the market with more than 400 million people in middle income class. So I think it's a huge, huge market and manufacturing basis to supply the intermediate goods, and also important components for the world to assemble to finalize their products. And I think it's very important for Africa to help them with their industrialization of the intermediate goods. And of course China will stick further to the opening up. So we always say the door of opening up will be wider and wider. So actually we will expand the market access and fostering the market-oriented, law-based and world-class business environment. So I think all the environment is new opportunities, new chances for the world companies, including SMEs, to engage into the global supply chain there. Thank you.

Shamika N. Sirimanne:
Thank you so much. Anton, you have the last word and two minutes to do that. So tell us the solutions and cooperative initiatives that IDB is undertaking to move supply chains forward. I know that this will take like five weeks to explain, but unfortunately you have only two minutes.

Anton Edmunds:
So I just realized there was a sign over there that said time's up. And it still says time's up. So look, I think like most of the institutions, I mean, we have a suite of services. We have an IDB lab, which is an entity that does equity for small businesses. We have the sovereign side, which works with the governments, and we have IDB Invest, which works with larger entities. I think one of the key things, especially when – and I want to really focus a little bit on SMEs here – is that one of the things, in my view, from the development sort of bank perspective, is the rolling out of initiatives that maybe have a one, two, three, most five-year life cycle. And I think that that's very short-sighted by us. I think we need to take a longer look when we're looking at investing in SMEs. SMEs. We really need to not only have the ability to help them access finance – that does mean for some of us lending through local banks who will then on-lend into that space – but the key element here is the following, is that if we look at SMEs as being these short-term engagements in terms of resourcing, in terms of training, in terms of looking at the use of digital tools, the inputs, and everything else, we're going to basically end up failing a lot of these businesses precisely because we're not holding their hands long enough. The other part of the equation is that I think we need to be honest when we've failed, and that's one of the elements that I find quite interesting. I walk around my office, which was Therese's office prior, and this is not true, but you can always find studies sitting on a shelf somewhere of something that was done, and at the end of the day the question is, well, and we're trying to do this again five years later without admitting that we made a mistake. So I think there's enough capacity in this region, enough brainpower committed to this space that we can sit down together, we can map out a plan, map out a strategy, pool our resources, pool our best and brightest, and at the end of the day take a long-term view, a long-term vision as to what it means for SMEs to grow and to thrive. And one core component of this as well is also to help governments themselves get the services out to the populations that need them. The last thing that somebody, an entrepreneur or a small, medium-sized entity wants to do is leave where they are in a rural area and come down to the capital and wait a couple of hours to basically get a business license at one of these things. And I think... Maybe one of the things that we can do, we've done it at the IDV, but that we collectively can do is help governments get services into the space. So at the end of the day, more people are plugged into the options and the opportunities that exist for them within their own countries that they may not be aware of. Thank you.

Shamika N. Sirimanne:
Thank you so much. See, I knew you could answer all that complex questions in a few minutes. So that was very good. So just want to let you know, this is the beginning of a conversation of what are the solutions, what are the tools we have in our own hands, and what works, what doesn't work, what are the best practices, lessons. And you will hear in 60 sessions from starting now, we will be talking about solutions. And we will be talking about solutions to the issues that were raised by our Secretary General, the Prime Minister, and the Deputy Secretary General this morning. How do we make sure the small enterprises survive? How do we make sure the small islands, the small economies survive in this sort of setup? How do we make sure, as Jeffrey said, if you're a small country, you should be able to do a big port. I mean, that makes sense to me. Yes, we may not have the domestic demand, we may not have the scale, but we can create the scale and domestic demand if we have a massive port. And we go and pitch for the massive port in a small country. So these are the questions that we will be raising the next few days. So please, you know, go with gusto, and we are just beginning our conversation. And thank you so much for the amazing panelists.

Belle Holder:
Thank you so much to our moderator, Shamika Sirimanne, the Director of Division on Technology and Logistics for UNCTAD. Thank you so very much for moderating that session, which included Carlos Felipe Jaramillo, the Regional Vice President for Latin America and the Caribbean of the World Bank Group, and also Therese Turner-Jones, Vice President, Operations, Acting Caribbean Development Bank. and Mr. Ren Hongbin, China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, and Mr. Anton Edmunds, General Manager of the Caribbean Region Inter-American Development Bank. Thank you very much. I'll remind you, ladies and gentlemen, as well, the invitation to attend the reception at the official residence of the Prime Minister is happening at 6 p.m. this evening. So, immediately this evening, when the sessions are finished here, we will go to Alaricourt, which happens to be right next door, the official residence of the Prime Minister, for a special reception. And that, of course, will include some wonderful entertainment and still an opportunity to interact with your colleagues. I now invite to the podium Ms. Rebeca Grynspan to make a special announcement. All right, ladies and gentlemen, please remain seated. We have a special announcement from Ms. Rebeca Grynspan.

Rebeca Grynspan:
Hello, everybody, again. And we have a very special announcement to make and also a big thanks to give. First of all, I want to give really a special thanks to Saudi Arabia, the Mawani Port Authority of Saudi Arabia and the Inter-American Development Bank, because they have been great supporters of this forum and that's why we have been able to be here with all of you. But also, I want to announce that... the next forum will happen in Saudi Arabia. That... APPLAUSE And that really thanks to the support of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its Mawani Port Authority, we are now confident that this blockbuster of a Netflix series that is the Global Supply Chain Forum will, without a doubt, be renewed for a second season in 2026. So I want to invite, really, the Vice President of the Mawani Port Authority, Mr. Abdullah Al Munif, to come here with me to receive a big applause from all of you, please. And if you want...

Abdullah AlMunif:
Good afternoon, everyone. First of all, our special thanks to the government of Barbados and the people of Barbados for their warm welcome. It's a pleasure and honour to be here and to be with all the experts in this forum. For us, of course, we have a great partnership with the UNCTAD team. Thank you, Rebeca, for you and your team. We did amazing things together because, as you know, Saudi Arabia is going, actually, into a major transformation and part of that, actually, is looking at the maritime and logistics sector where we actually initiated a lot of initiatives, part of the national transport and logistics strategy that was released by His Royal Highness, the Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman. And part of that, actually, is to focus as well on the maritime and the ports. So we did a lot of things, especially in partnership with the private sector, where we focused on the infrastructure development for our ports and also on the logistic, and also we attracted international players like MERSC, MSC, CMA, CGM, to establish the regional logistic parks in Saudi Arabia. So for hosting the 2026, this is a big honor. We look forward to welcome you, to see you there, and your second country, Saudi Arabia, is open, and we'll make the best of it when you come there. Thank you very much.

Belle Holder:
Okay, ladies and gentlemen, if we can get all of today's speakers to join the Secretary General and Abdullah on the stage, please, so we can get a photo of all of today's speakers, which includes the speakers we haven't heard from us yet. If we can get all of the panelists that have already delivered, including panelists who are prepared for this afternoon, to join them down front.


Abdullah AlMunif

Speech speed

141 words per minute

Speech length

252 words

Speech time

107 secs


Good afternoon. The speaker expresses profound gratitude to the Barbados government and its people for their exceptional hospitality, stressing the privilege and honour to be among experts at the forum. They extend special thanks to the UNCTAD team and Rebeca for their role in facilitating Saudi Arabia's transformative development.

At the heart of this transformation is the national transport and logistics strategy, introduced by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, aimed at revolutionising the maritime and logistics sectors, crucial to diversifying Saudi Arabia's economy. The speaker highlights the significant strides made, particularly the collaborative efforts with the private sector.

Investments in port and logistics infrastructure have been substantial, enhancing Saudi Arabia's strategic position within global supply chains. The draw of major international shipping and logistics companies like MERSC, MSC, and CMA CGM to Saudi Arabia stands as a testament to this progression.

These industry leaders have been instrumental in the establishment of regional logistic parks, reinforcing Saudi Arabia's role as a key logistics hub in the Middle East. Looking forward, the speaker expresses pride in Saudi Arabia being chosen to host the 2026 event, showcasing the country's readiness and enthusiasm to host participants from across the globe.

An earnest invitation is extended, promising an exceptional experience that will make Saudi Arabia feel like a second home to its visitors. In conclusion, the speaker reiterates their gratitude and commits to maximising the potential of the forthcoming occasion, reflecting Saudi Arabia's burgeoning stature as a central player in global maritime and logistics advancements.

Thank you.


Anton Edmunds

Speech speed

178 words per minute

Speech length

1954 words

Speech time

659 secs


Good afternoon. The speaker began by sharing their reflections on the persistent issue of supply chain inefficiencies in the Caribbean. Despite significant career progression, they portrayed this problem as a long-standing and considerable challenge for the region. They expressed concern that despite the allocation of considerable time and effort to address these inefficiencies, fundamental issues remain unresolved.

The speaker emphasised Prime Minister Motley's previous comments, reflecting a readiness among developing countries to invest substantially in robust and efficient supply chains. However, this willingness is accompanied by a warning about the growing impatience of their populations regarding the slow progress in infrastructure and supply chain management improvements.

This growing frustration could have political ramifications for current governments. In proposing a way forward, the representative from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) underscored the necessity for collaboration between major financial institutions, including the IDB, World Bank, and Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), to support infrastructure development.

By aligning their financial services and efforts, these institutions aim to avoid confusion and conflicting initiatives that could overwhelm governments seeking assistance. The speaker then discussed the importance of ensuring that development plans withstand political changes and electoral cycles. They recommended that development institutions share their extensive knowledge and analyses, not just with sitting governments but with all potential stakeholders, to foster seamless project continuity regardless of political transitions.

This strategy is intended to extend the impact of their work and reinforce supply chain resilience. The discourse highlighted the essential role of the private sector, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), in building resilient supply chains. It was suggested that governments should primarily enable trade facilitation while creating an environment where SMEs can thrive, thereby ensuring new systems and infrastructures are sustainably utilised.

Furthermore, the speaker critically evaluated financing approaches, advising against indiscriminate funding of projects without a solid policy foundation. They advocated for a balance between financing and comprehensive policymaking, aiming for long-term investment impacts instead of short-term gains. Echoing a view that acknowledges past mistakes, the speaker argued for consistent and committed support for SME development.

By learning from past failures, financial institutions might adopt a more sustainable long-term perspective in their engagement with SMEs. In conclusion, the speaker reiterated the importance of a collective and strategic approach among regional stakeholders, financial institutions, governments, and the private sector.

They called for utilising the intellectual capital available to enhance the Caribbean supply chain network. Lastly, there was a call to action for helping governments streamline service delivery to better empower and integrate rural entrepreneurs and SMEs into the wider economic landscape, thereby improving the health of the Caribbean supply chain ecosystem.


Arsenio Dominguez

Speech speed

175 words per minute

Speech length

986 words

Speech time

338 secs


Geopolitical issues cause shipping fragmentation and increased emissions.

Supporting facts:

  • Increased navigation around the Cape of Good Hope emits three times more greenhouse gases.
  • Fragmentation impacts shipping, particularly in the Red Sea.

Topics: Geopolitics, Maritime Trade, Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Decarbonization is a major challenge for the shipping industry.

Supporting facts:

  • IMO has established a pathway to decarbonize the shipping industry by 2050.
  • Development of technical and economic measures is underway to support the transition.

Topics: Decarbonization, Maritime Shipping, Sustainable Development

Collaboration and resilience of shipping are vital to face the challenges.

Supporting facts:

  • Global regulations are essential for a global sector.
  • Despite COVID-19, shipping continued to supply essential goods globally.

Topics: Collaboration, Resilience, Shipping Industry

Inclusiveness is crucial for finding solutions

Supporting facts:

  • Inclusive approaches bring diverse perspectives
  • Collaboration enhances problem-solving strategies

Topics: Inclusivity, Collaboration, Problem Solving


The maritime shipping industry currently grapples with a complex array of issues that greatly influence international trade and environmental sustainability. A key concern lies in geopolitical tensions, leading to shipping fragmentation, particularly around routes such as the Cape of Good Hope.

This fragmentation has been associated with a threefold increase in greenhouse gas emissions due to prolonged navigation, thereby adversely affecting climate change mitigation efforts, specifically under SDGs 13 and 14. Nevertheless, the industry is proactively confronting these challenges. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has launched an initiative to decarbonize maritime shipping by 2050, developing both technical and economic measures to support this daunting yet necessary transition.

Despite the complexities involved, the mission to foster sustainable development through decarbonisation intersects with maritime shipping under SDGs 7, 13, and 14, and remains a pivotal focus of the sector. Despite substantial obstacles, industry sentiment remains predominantly positive, emphasizing its resilience and dedication to global collaboration.

Even amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the maritime shipping sector has demonstrated its indispensable role in continuously delivering essential goods globally, thereby underlining the significance of resilient international trade networks and aligning with the targets set out under SDGs 17 and 9. The protection of seafarers' safety and welfare is highlighted as a top priority in light of their crucial role in maintaining maritime security and ensuring the fluidity of global trade, in accordance with SDG 8.

Incidents such as those involving the Barbados flagship True Confidence, where life was tragically lost due to arduous conditions worsened by geopolitical enforced extensions at sea, underline the need for improved regard for seafarer well-being. The industry recognises the vital role of early adopters and state contributors in navigating the path towards decarbonisation.

The collective efforts of innovative industry leaders and the proactive policies of nation-states, particularly in aiding the progress of developing countries, are crucial. This synergistic approach resonates with the principles of SDGs 9, 13, and 17. Maintaining uniform global regulations for maritime trade is another critical aspect firmly advocated for.

Given the inherently international nature of the sector, consistent and comprehensive regulations are essential for operational efficacy and the achievement of environmental and trade objectives. The IMO plays a central role in convening all related stakeholders to progress collaboratively. The sector's approach is progressively inclusive and oriented towards solutions rather than fixating on problems.

Such positivity is conducive to integrating diverse viewpoints, thereby enhancing collective problem-solving capabilities, in alignment with SDG 17. Moreover, prioritizing solutions over problems holds the promise of fostering innovation and progression, in tune with the transformative aspirations laid out in SDGs 9 and 11.

To sum up, the maritime industry faces a challenging yet transformative era, marked by interrelated difficulties in environmental protection, trade efficiency, and welfare of its workforce. Though the path ahead is arduous, the overarching ethos is one of active engagement and forward-thinking innovation, indicative of an industry aspiring to progress and adapt for the global good.


Belle Holder

Speech speed

127 words per minute

Speech length

1055 words

Speech time

498 secs


During a key international conference, a cadre of noted individuals presented and engaged in discussions on critical global and regional matters. The Honourable Kerry Symmonds, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Barbados, highlighted the essential role of small island developing states in global relations and trade.

Her Excellency Rebeca Grynspan, Secretary-General of UNCTAD, contributed a snapshot of the world economic situation and its issues, stressing the imperative of inclusive growth and consideration for economically less developed countries. Distinguished panelists, including UN Global Compact's Executive Director, Ms.

Sanda Ojiambo, emphasised the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and the importance of mobilising businesses and organisations globally to reach these benchmarks. Regional nuances were brought into light by Mr. Winston Moore from the University of the West Indies, and Mr.

Jeffrey Hall of the CARICOM Private Sector Organisation, highlighting Caribbean countries' vulnerability to climate change and economic diversification needs. An expert panel comprising representatives from the IDB, CDB, and the World Bank tackled the intricacies of financing and international collaborations, underscoring securing investments and forming partnerships for development initiatives, with case studies of successful regional undertakings and areas ripe for investment and aid.

Collaboration emerged as a persistent theme with a unanimous agreement on the necessity of cross-sector and regional partnerships to overcome global challenges. The panelists concurred on the centrality of finances, acknowledging that without sufficient resources, policy frameworks and collective engagements are likely to falter.

Ms. Seremani from UNCTAD steered the session on finance and international cooperation, fostering a dialogue that integrated technology advancement with financial strategies and global support frameworks. The sessions concluded with an anticipated special announcement by Ms. Grynspan that could indicate a new initiative or partnership.

Additionally, the Prime Minister hosted an evening reception to facilitate further discussion, networking, and collaboration in a relaxed setting, coupled with cultural displays reflective of the host nation’s hospitality. A collective photo of all speakers reinforced a shared commitment to confronting the issues emphasised during the conference.

To summarise, the conference proceedings showcased insightful debate and exchange of knowledge, representing the international leaders' dedication to finding sustainable solutions through strategic partnerships and collective efforts, with extra attention to the particular challenges faced by small island developing states.


Carlos Felipe Jaramillo

Speech speed

164 words per minute

Speech length

908 words

Speech time

332 secs


Over the past two to three decades, the evolution of global value chains has revolutionised international trade, affording countries access to a vast array of goods and services while also playing a pivotal role in poverty reduction. This has been highlighted by academics, including those from the University of West Indies, and echoed by Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General, who noted the extensive benefits of expanded trade.

However, concerns have been growing over the increase of non-tariff barriers and subsidies that favour domestic markets, which disproportionately impact less-developed countries. The emergence of these protectionist measures curtail the seamless exchange of goods and compromise the ability of emerging economies, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), to participate fairly in global trade.

These SMEs are particularly vulnerable to policy shifts in wealthier nations. The speaker has observed a dramatic rise in non-tariff barriers, which have escalated from just a few hundred to over 5,000. A notable example includes the stringent European Union regulations requiring agricultural producers to certify that their land use does not contribute to deforestation.

Such regulations present a significant challenge to small-scale farmers, who find the bureaucratic and financial demands of certifications overwhelming. In response to these challenges, there have been calls for the formation of alliances to combat the growing trend of protectionism and isolationism in developed countries' trade policies.

Collaborative efforts in Latin America and the Caribbean, involving partners like the Inter-American Development Bank and the Caribbean Development Bank, aim to bolster these nations' capabilities to access markets and join global trade initiatives. Encouragingly, there are financial support programmes in place to aid SMEs in upgrading their technology and reducing their environmental footprint.

A notable initiative is a billion-dollar collaboration with Banco do Brasil, which is dedicated to helping companies modernise and enter export markets, with the added opportunity of carbon trading to generate new revenue streams. Similar support schemes in Kenya and Turkey reflect the wider recognition of the need to empower SMEs to navigate challenging trade barriers.

The speaker takes pride in these initiatives but emphasises the necessity of a comprehensive global reform agenda. The objective is to diminish and eventually dismantle the restrictive trade measures, acknowledging that the sustenance and growth of global value chains depend on both direct financial assistance to SMEs and a globally inclusive and open trade system.


Didier Trebucq

Speech speed

149 words per minute

Speech length

1391 words

Speech time

562 secs


Industrialisation is seen as essential for sustainable development.

Supporting facts:

  • Industrialisation is still considered crucial for the sustainable development of economies.

Topics: Industrialization, Sustainable Development, Economic Growth

Ensuring green and ethical supply chains that meet human rights and environmental standards is a challenge.

Supporting facts:

  • The challenge involves aligning business practices with human rights and environmental protections while pursuing industrial development.

Topics: Green Supply Chains, Human Rights, Environmental Protection, Ethical Business Practices

Business practices need to be compatible with limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees as per the Paris Agreement.

Supporting facts:

  • Business practices should be aligned with the aims of the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Topics: Global Warming, Paris Agreement, Climate Action, Business Practices

Gerd Müller emphasizes the need for international solidarity and support for the Caribbean states and the global south

Supporting facts:

  • Müller states that small countries are hit hardest by global crises without being responsible for them
  • Müller highlights the disparity in economic support between developed and developing countries, noting trillions spent by industrialized nations on their own economies

Topics: Globalization, International Solidarity, Caribbean States, Global South

Gerd Müller supports the calls for restructuring of the global financing system

Supporting facts:

  • Müller agrees with Prime Minister Motley and Secretary General on restructuring global finance
  • The need for mandate on private sector finance for climate crisis effects

Topics: Global Financing System, Economic Support, Debt Relief

The significance of the private sector in addressing climate change and its profits during crises is stressed

Supporting facts:

  • Müller points out the $4 trillion profit made by energy and shipping companies during crises
  • He questions their contribution to financing the impacts of crises

Topics: Private Sector, Climate Change, Corporate Responsibility

Gerd Müller highlights UNIDO's role as a partner for sustainable development in small island states

Supporting facts:

  • Müller mentions the launch of a new SIDS hub to strengthen cooperation
  • The focus on core areas like climate action, food security, and sustainable energy

Topics: UNIDO, Sustainable Development, Small Island Developing States (SIDS)

Didier Trebucq calls for a deepened focus on the blue economy

Supporting facts:

  • Mention of signing an agreement to open a new SIDS hub pertaining to the blue economy

Topics: Blue Economy, Sustainable Development, Economic Growth


The role of industrialisation in promoting sustainable development and driving economic growth is widely recognised as crucial. Achieving industrialisation that does not compromise environmental standards or neglect human rights necessitates the integration of green and ethical practices within business supply chains.

This presents a significant challenge, especially for Small Island Developing States (SIDS), which must navigate the complexities of sustainable supply chain development while contending with their distinct geographic and economic challenges. The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) is perceived as a key enabler in facilitating sustainable industrialisation, especially in developing countries.

UNIDO's support is deemed essential for these nations to achieve industrial growth that aligns with environmental conservation and social responsibility. Advocate Gerd Müller emphasises the need for international solidarity and support, particularly noting the disproportionate burden that crises place on the Caribbean and the global south.

He brings to light the disparity where wealthier industrialised nations can invest trillions in their own economic infrastructures, leaving smaller and less developed states to face vulnerabilities without adequate support. Müller also advocates for a restructured global financing system, echoing calls by prominent global leaders such as Prime Minister Motley and the Secretary-General.

This restructuring emphasises the need to reconsider private sector financing strategies in the face of the climate crisis. Müller takes a critical stance on the substantial profits earned by energy and shipping companies during crises and questions their commitment to addressing the resultant challenges.

The active participation of the private sector is crucial not only for its financial implications but also for its role in combating climate change. It is essential for this sector to invest in sustainable solutions and to reinforce supply chain resilience, particularly in preparation for major external shocks.

This involvement is vital for sustainable economic growth. Müller's reference to the launch of a new UNIDO hub to facilitate cooperation on priority issues like climate action, food security, and sustainable energy highlights the organisation's role in supporting sustainable development in SIDS.

Furthermore, Didier Trebucq calls for increased attention to the blue economy, emphasising the need to harmonise economic activity with the preservation of marine ecosystems. This perspective aligns with the shared aspirations for collaborative sustainable development efforts. In conclusion, the discourse around industrialisation and sustainable development focuses on the need for business operations to align with ethical and environmental considerations, the imperative of reforming global financing mechanisms, and the importance of fostering robust international partnerships.

Initiatives by UNIDO and potential changes to financial structures reflect the international community's acknowledgment of these imperatives and the ongoing endeavours to address them. The private sector's capacity and obligation to drive positive change are particularly emphasised throughout this analysis.


Francisco A. Lima Mena

Speech speed

117 words per minute

Speech length

863 words

Speech time

443 secs


Infrastructure is a major challenge for competitiveness in Central America

Supporting facts:

  • Products in Central America move at an average speed of 17 kilometers per hour
  • The cost of moving one ton per kilometer is approximately 12 cents

Topics: Infrastructure, Competitiveness, Globalization

Central America is addressing infrastructure challenges with a comprehensive plan

Supporting facts:

  • The plan was approved in December and includes multimodal transportation improvements
  • The plan is seen as a regional public good aiming for future competitiveness

Topics: Central America Infrastructure and Mobility Plan 2035, Regional Integration, Trade Facilitation

Digitalization and trade facilitation strategies are improving Central America's economic performance

Supporting facts:

  • The Digital Platform of Central America facilitates 72 import/export processes
  • Estimates suggest a potential 1.8% yearly influence on GDP from this digitalization initiative

Topics: Digitalization, Trade Facilitation, Economic Growth

Regional cooperation, including integrated border posts, boosts trade and efficiency

Supporting facts:

  • Guatemala and Honduras experienced a 32% increase in trade due to integrated border posts
  • The deep integration process is expected to include El Salvador in the near future

Topics: Regional Cooperation, Integrated Border Posts, Trade Increase

Central America has a strength in exporting services, with a strong positive trade balance in this sector

Supporting facts:

  • Central America exports double the amount of services it imports
  • Exports are valued at about 40,000 million U.S. dollars annually

Topics: Service Exports, Trade Balance, Economic Strength


Central America's endeavour to increase its competitiveness is currently hampered by inadequate infrastructure, evidenced by the slow average pace of 17 kilometres per hour for the transportation of goods and the comparatively high transport costs of 12 cents per tonne per kilometre.

These inefficiencies cast a shadow over the region's competitive standing in the global marketplace. Despite these challenges, there is a positive shift with Central American nations proactively addressing infrastructural deficiencies. The endorsement of the Central America Infrastructure and Mobility Plan 2035 is a clear sign of this dedication.

The plan's intent to modernise multimodal transportation systems is widely regarded as a catalyst for bolstering future competitiveness, eliciting a positive response. The introduction of digital technology in trade processes has been welcomed for its potential positive impact on Central America’s economic prospects.

The region's Digital Platform streamlines 72 import/export procedures, which is anticipated to boost GDP growth by approximately 1.8% per annum. This digital transformation is expected to stimulate economic development and enhance trade efficiency. Furthermore, Central America's commitment to regional cooperation is validated by initiatives such as the integrated border posts, particularly between Guatemala and Honduras, which led to a 32% uptick in trade volumes.

This progress is poised to expand to include El Salvador, signalling further strides in trading efficiency and regional unity. The service sector stands as a beacon of Central America’s economic fortitude, boasting a significant positive trade balance, with annual exports reportedly valued around 40,000 million U.S.

dollars - twice the amount it imports in this segment. This asserts the region’s capacity to thrive in service-driven markets. These comprehensive strategic responses reveal an overarching positive outlook: Central America is not merely reacting to globalisation but actively participating in shaping its dynamics.

The region’s commitment, reflected in the implementation of the Infrastructure and Mobility Plan, digitalisation investments, and trade facilitation through cooperation, is positioning it to leverage global economic dynamics for sustainable growth and development. In summation, Central America is making commendable progress forward, crafting and implementing extensive and proactive strategies.

Through initiatives encompassing infrastructure enhancement, embracing digitalisation, and fostering regional cooperation, the regional economic landscape is being transformed. The collective and forward-thinking actions of the Central American countries point towards a resilient and collaborative effort aimed at transforming regional competitiveness and securing economic prosperity.

The determined approach adopted across Central America highlights its potential to significantly strengthen its position in the global economic system.


Gerd Müller

Speech speed

131 words per minute

Speech length

986 words

Speech time

453 secs


The conference boldly tackled the imperative issue of reshaping globalisation to promote international unity, with a special focus on supporting Caribbean nations and the wider global south, who are disproportionately affected by world crises. President Motley was vocal in championing this theme throughout the event.

There was a unified acknowledgment that these less affluent regions suffer greatly from the effects of the pandemic, climate change, and international conflicts, despite their limited contributions to these issues. The Director-General of UNIDO highlighted a stark disparity between the fiscal strategies of wealthier nations and their approaches toward developing countries.

He pointed out the striking difference between large monetary investments into the economies of the US and Europe and the withdrawal of support from nations that are most in need by G7 and G20 countries, criticising this as a contributing factor to escalated global inequality.

The G20, responsible for an overwhelming majority of global CO2 emissions, was urged to acknowledge their role and commit to initiating reforms. The conference was marked by a sense of frustration with the unequal distribution of responsibility and the apparent lack of accountability from more prosperous economies.

Participants expressed an urgent demand to overhaul the global financial framework, aiming to provide debt relief and support to those who bear the hardship of global crises without playing a part in their onset. The need for the private sector, particularly shipping and energy firms that have reaped significant profits during these crises, to actively contribute to addressing the fallout from climate change was underlined.

UNIDO demonstrated its commitment to Small Island Developing States (SIDS) by announcing plans to create a new dedicated SIDS hub to enhance cooperation. The organisation underscored its strategy to concentrate on essential areas, such as climate action and sustainable energy.

Their intent is to move SIDS away from being import-dependent to become exporting nations by fostering local industry and investment. The conference discussions led to an advocacy for universal standards, underlining the importance of equitable environmental and social protocols. This includes securing fair pay and better conditions for workers at the inception of supply chains, particularly in sectors like agriculture and mining.

Illustrative examples unveiled the harsh realities faced by workers in these fields and the critical need for establishing baseline standards. The insights into the current state of global supply chains and labor hardships painted a global dichotomy where local resources are often undervalued, yet local commodities are sometimes neglected due to international supply networks.

This irony was illustrated by instances such as the importation of mango yoghurt and bottled water into regions abundant with mangos. In its culmination, the conference issued a resolute plea for the resolve to foster global solidarity. The general consensus was that although the issues tackled are widely recognised and deliberated upon, what is missing is a concerted effort to implement solutions, capitalising on existing technologies and knowledge.

The emphasis shifted to the critical role of progress through solution-driven actions, reinforcing UNIDO's mission to catalyse progress by transforming solutions into concrete measures. In summary, the conference shed light on the urgency for a collaborative approach to equitable globalisation.

It called for a system of global finance and trade that places humanity at its core, mandating industrialised nations to act decisively and display genuine solidarity, which would pave the way towards a more balanced and sustainable global community.


Jaime Granados

Speech speed

162 words per minute

Speech length

1821 words

Speech time

675 secs


Supply chain disruptions present both challenges and opportunities for regional economies.

Supporting facts:

  • Jaime Granados tells the story of Intel's operations shifting and returning to Costa Rica, demonstrating an example of near shoring

Topics: Supply Chain Disruptions, Regional Trade, Economic Opportunities

Public and private sectors need to collaborate to address supply chain challenges and capitalize on new opportunities.

Supporting facts:

  • Intel benefited from a modernized border crossing between Panama and Costa Rica, facilitated by public sector infrastructure development

Topics: Public-Private Partnerships, Supply Chain Resilience, Global Value Chains

Modernization of trade facilitation and infrastructure can significantly reduce logistical costs and attract investment.

Supporting facts:

  • The reduction in time for crossing the Panama-Costa Rica border from several hours to 45 minutes directly improved Intel's logistics

Topics: Trade Facilitation, Infrastructure Modernization, Investment Attraction


Amidst the backdrop of global supply chain disruptions, a nuanced narrative emerges, suggesting that these tumultuous times, while challenging for economies, also present a wealth of economic opportunities within regional trade. This narrative is encapsulated by Intel's strategic decision to return operations to Costa Rica, exemplifying a wider trend toward nearshoring.

The case of Intel illustrates that challenges in supply chains can pivot to become catalysts for economic revitalisation, promoting decent work and stimulating growth in local economies, in line with SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth. Further analysis of Intel's experience highlights the indispensable role of collaboration between the public and private sectors in unraveling supply chain complexities and exploiting new opportunities.

Intel's benefit from a modernised border crossing between Panama and Costa Rica epitomises the impact infrastructure development, sponsored by the public sector, can have in bolstering private sector logistics. Such intersectoral cooperation resonates with SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals, and SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production, endorsing the formation of alliances to tackle larger objectives and advocating for sustainable production practices.

An exploration into trade facilitation and infrastructure modernisation uncovers concrete benefits, as seen in the case of the Panama-Costa Rica border. The reduction in transit time from hours to just 45 minutes has afforded Intel marked logistical improvements. This demonstrates how such infrastructure enhancements not only reduce operational costs but also make regions more attractive for investment, thereby contributing to SDG 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure.

The synthesis of regional trade dynamics, public-private partnerships, and infrastructure improvements points to a resilient economy capable of thriving amidst supply chain disruptions. This comprehensive outlook underscores the commitment to specific Sustainable Development Goals, revealing that strategic responses to supply chain disturbances necessitate a coordinated approach involving various sectors and stakeholders.

In summary, through a collective examination of Intel's manoeuvres and pertinent SDGs, there is an evident observation: disruptions can act as a fertile ground for innovation and development, given there is strategic resource allocation, visionary planning, and inclusive collaboration. Navigating the intricate balance between challenges and opportunities is key to driving future economic growth and sustainable development, potentially with renewed vigour.

The text was reviewed according to the specified guidelines for UK spelling, grammar, and sentence structure, with ongoing adherence to high-quality summary composition and inclusive of LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) keywords related to supply chain disruptions, regional trade, and economic opportunities.


Jeffrey Hall

Speech speed

143 words per minute

Speech length

755 words

Speech time

317 secs


The speaker, a person with a broad business portfolio, begins by outlining the origins of their successful ventures, which started with a banana-growing cooperative in Jamaica. This initiative has grown into the largest banana farm in the English-speaking Caribbean and, despite its size, constitutes the smallest part of the speaker's diverse business interests.

The largest component of their enterprise is a juice manufacturing operation in the Netherlands that sources fresh produce worldwide. Additionally, the speaker has invested substantially in other sectors, including call centres, hotels, financial services, and consumer goods manufacturing. The speaker also owns the Geest Line shipping company and participates in managing Kingston Wharves, one of the leading port terminals in the Caribbean, based in Kingston.

The Geest Line is a pivotal logistical operation within the Caribbean, transporting consumer goods and vehicles from Europe and spreading them across 27 countries. It includes banana shipments from Colombia and the Dominican Republic, bridging Caribbean commerce with European markets with a "milk run" system serviced by a five-ship fleet.

Focusing on the global maritime industry, the speaker observes a significant trend: ships are growing in size but reducing their speed, influenced by challenges previously discussed by other panellists, such as trade route limitations via the Red Sea and Panama Canal, and new emission standards demanding cleaner fuels—requiring major investments.

These shifts are particularly impactful for small island economies, as larger ships often skip smaller ports, favouring large hub ports capable of accommodating their size. However, the speaker remains hopeful that even small nations could build large ports attractive to these big vessels, thus overcoming geographic or demographic limitations.

However, the current regional trade framework within CARICOM is not designed to attract these ships, focusing instead on protecting and facilitating the movement of goods produced within member states. This structure does not align with the high-volume transport capabilities of larger ships due to the limited production scale of the economies in question.

The speaker suggests that a reimagined CARICOM trade architecture could not only manage the internal circulation of goods but also promote the movement of goods from outside the region, enhancing trade volume among the member countries. In conclusion, the speaker identifies two major needs.

The first is for significant capital investments to develop substantial port infrastructure, an undertaking that may exceed the fiscal capabilities of small island states and thus might require external or global capital investment. The second need is for policy reforms that would enable and encourage higher trade volumes from both within and beyond CARICOM, leading to a more vibrant trade ecosystem.

The analysis concludes that responding to global maritime trends is crucial for small island economies and that transforming policies and infrastructure could leverage these trends to drive regional economic growth. The speaker advocates strategic thinking in attracting investment and revising regional trade structures to ensure the Caribbean can benefit from increased movement of larger vessels and integration into the global trading system.

This strategy emphasises the imperative of adapting small island economies to burgeoning shipping tendencies and fostering a more robust CARICOM trade to attract global maritime commerce.


Kerrie Symmonds

Speech speed

155 words per minute

Speech length

1865 words

Speech time

723 secs


The speaker opens with a heartfelt welcome to Barbados, offering a traditional Barbadian greeting to the attendees of the convocation. There is a deep appreciation for the united efforts of the speaker's team and the Secretary-General's team, highlighting a spirit of cooperation and a unified vision for the event.

The focus on supply chains as the primary topic for the week's discourse is underscored, acknowledging its significance to a diverse audience that includes scholars, business leaders, and homemakers. The speaker stresses the importance of evaluating supply chains based on their efficiency, resilience, and effectiveness, rather than their mere existence.

By invoking the historical and geographical context, the speaker sheds light on the Caribbean's, and especially Barbados', painful history within the global supply chain as unwilling participants in inhumane human trafficking networks. This painful past adds a poignant emotional layer to the Caribbean's engagement in the current conversation about supply chains.

The speaker addresses the global challenges that have put pressure on supply chains, notably during the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw the shutdown of factories in China and ports in Europe. The resultant decline in tourism significantly affected the Caribbean, leading to drops in GDP and soaring logistic costs, with freight container prices increasing by five to six hundred percent, highlighting the specific difficulties faced by smaller economies during such crises.

Yet the convocation signifies an occasion to direct global focus towards these urgent matters. The speaker sees the initiative to connect with UNCTAD and host this convocation as an act of moral and strategic leadership, with the enthusiastic global response and participation seen as validation of the initiative's significance.

The challenges and solutions pertinent to small island developing states are central to the debates, taking into account their distinct realities compared to larger, industrial nations. Initiatives like the regional '25 by 25' policy underscore the proactive measures being taken to cut down on food imports by enhancing collaboration across Caribbean agriculture sectors, showcasing the region's proactive stance in overcoming supply chain hurdles.

The convocation is envisioned as a multidisciplinary forum, gathering voices from sectors ranging from insurance to finance to government policy, all sharing invaluable insights and best practices. Participants are urged to communicate openly and candidly, with the goal of formulating actionable solutions.

In closing, the speaker reiterates the invitation to Delve into this holistic and problem-solving summit, reaffirming the commitment to a collaborative and effective environment. Gratitude is expressed for the presence of the participants, concluding with a final, warm welcome to Barbados, and setting the stage for what is anticipated to be a rich exchange of knowledge and strategies.


Rebeca Grynspan

Speech speed

132 words per minute

Speech length

1073 words

Speech time

488 secs


Acknowledgement and gratitude expressed to supporters of the forum

Supporting facts:

  • Saudi Arabia, the Mawani Port Authority of Saudi Arabia and the Inter-American Development Bank supported the forum
  • Acknowledgement made during a special announcement at the event

Topics: International cooperation, Event sponsorship

Announcement of the next Global Supply Chain Forum venue

Supporting facts:

  • The next forum will take place in Saudi Arabia
  • The event is supported by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its Mawani Port Authority
  • Forum is compared to a 'blockbuster of a Netflix series', indicating success and anticipation for the next event

Topics: Global Supply Chain, International events, Forum planning


The Global Supply Chain Forum has effectively created a positive environment, marked by the heartfelt recognition of its international supporters who have played key roles in its achievements. Both Saudi Arabia and the Mawani Port Authority, as well as the Inter-American Development Bank, were honoured with public accolades at the event, symbolising their integral contributions to fostering global partnership.

This aligns seamlessly with the ambitions of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 17, 'Partnerships for the Goals', accentuating the importance of collaborative engagement for advancing sustainable development. The active involvement of these entities not only showcases their dedication to goal-oriented cooperation but also accentuates the critical nature of strategic partnerships in orchestrating significant international forums and dialogues.

The optimistic sentiment shared amongst participants reflects a shared appreciation for their efforts and recognises the influence of such collaborations in achieving collective global goals. Furthermore, there's an evident buzz around the next edition of the Global Supply Chain Forum, set to be hosted by Saudi Arabia.

The Kingdom's backing, together with the Mawani Port Authority's support, echoes Saudi Arabia's engagement with global events. The analogy drawn between the forum and the excitement typically reserved for a 'blockbuster Netflix series' illustrates the forum's value and the anticipation for future gatherings.

Looking forward, the forum aligns with SDG 9, 'Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure', signifying its significance in the planning of the supply chain forum and the management of the global supply network. The forum epitomises the success achieved when industry and innovation unite to develop resilient infrastructure that promotes international collaboration and discussion.

The excitement and comparison to a successful entertainment series suggest that the forum has transcended the boundaries of a mere conference, acquiring a cultural significance within the industry that engages and commits stakeholders. These events are rapidly becoming key landmarks that guide the progress of global supply chains, innovation, and sustainable growth.

In summary, the expression of gratitude towards the supporting countries and organisations, aligned with the anticipation for upcoming forums, captures the essence of thriving international collaborations. This continued commitment illustrates the strength of partnerships in forming solid foundations for global cooperation, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.

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Ren Hongbin

Speech speed

125 words per minute

Speech length

1017 words

Speech time

488 secs


In an amiable address given in Barbados, the speaker commenced by lauding the pivotal debate on the global supply chain, an essential mechanism likened to the economic circulatory system, vital for the world's economic health and prosperity. The address first highlighted the triumph of the inaugural China International Supply Chain Expo in China.

This exposition stood as concrete evidence of the collaborative spirit in global commerce, as demonstrated by the considerable exhibition space showcasing American, European, and Japanese enterprises. The example of Tesla's Gigafactory in Shanghai was cited, with its 95% locally sourced components, to illustrate the profound interconnectedness of global supply chains.

Against the notion of decoupling supply chains, the speaker articulated the practicality and risks associated with such a strategy, confirming the potential detrimental effects on the global economic structure and all stakeholders. The mutual dependence exemplified by multinational companies' activities fortifies this viewpoint.

Crucially, the address underscored the importance of incorporating developing countries into the global supply chain, advocating for their progression beyond the lower and middle ends of the supply spectrum to promote balanced development. The speaker lauded the forum as a pivotal transition from discourse to actionable outcomes, highlighting the Belt and Road Initiative's (BRI) contributions of approximately one trillion U.S.

dollars in investments, the execution of 3,000 projects, and the creation of 500,000 jobs, illustrating its significance in facilitating the inclusion of developing countries in the global market sphere. China's substantial contribution to global economic growth, with a 30% contribution over the past decade and its role as a significant manufacturing hub coupled with a growing middle-income consumer base, was acknowledged.

These factors were presented as potentially advantageous for the industrialisation efforts in Africa. The address reaffirmed China's commitment to open markets and trade liberalisation, extending an invitation to businesses worldwide, including small and medium-sized enterprises, to engage with China's market.

The assurance that China will maintain increasingly open market access and cultivate an international standard business environment heralds new prospects within the global supply chain. In conclusion, the speaker's forum address emphatically underlined the intertwined nature of our global supply chains and the importance of collective involvement and collaboration to secure a sturdy and fair economic future.

The narrative adeptly intertwines insights into China's economic directives and their worldwide repercussions, promoting a unified strategy to surmount the hurdles confronting the international community.


Ricardo Treviño Chapa

Speech speed

130 words per minute

Speech length

1051 words

Speech time

486 secs


The spokesperson from the World Customs Organization (WCO) commenced their address by showing gratitude towards the government of Barbados and UNCTAD, particularly Secretary-General Rebeca Grynspan, for their instrumental roles in organising the event. Despite the WCO's non-UN status, the representative affirmed their commitment to working closely with United Nations agencies that intersect with trade and security.

The WCO, as the representative detailed, is the leading global institution solely focused on customs issues, with an expansive membership of 186 nations, covering virtually all global commerce. The organisation's efforts to enhance customs administration proficiency involve setting international standards and offering capacity-building to streamline and secure international goods movement.

Acknowledging the complexities of modern supply chains exacerbated by geopolitical disturbances, the COVID-19 pandemic aftermath, and rapid technological advancement, the spokesperson noted that these have led to calls for more resilient supply chain models. Traditional models, centred on cost reductions and efficiency, have become increasingly scrutinised for their lack of transparency and fragmentation.

To advance supply chain needs, the WCO advocates for the simplification and harmonisation of customs processes through the Revised Kyoto Convention, single window systems, and the SAFE Framework of Standards. The thoughtful application of these standards aims at achieving more synchronised global customs operations, improving the efficiency and security of supply chains.

The critical role of customs-to-customs cooperation was highlighted, underscoring the importance of information and data exchange. The WCO's customs enforcement network is vital for facilitating these exchanges. Beyond borders, collaboration with other border agencies and the private sector, employing data and technology, further refines and accelerates supply chain processes.

Environmental protection is a cornerstone of the WCO's initiatives, as demonstrated by their Green Customs Initiative, which promotes sustainable practices within customs administrations, aids in greening supply chains, and supports the adoption of circular economy concepts to diminish environmental impact.

In their concluding statements, the delegate stressed the imperative of global cooperation among all parties to achieve mutual goals such as environmental preservation, equitable development, and economic growth. The WCO is committed to nurturing this through technological advancements and collective eco-consciousness.

In a poetic finale, the spokesperson remarked that although nations are separated by geographical borders, the essence of customs work lies in fostering connections and solidarity.


Sanda Ojiambo

Speech speed

210 words per minute

Speech length

1211 words

Speech time

346 secs


The private sector's integration with multilateralism is essential for sustainable business.

Supporting facts:

  • Businesses have felt a significant impact due to the fragility of the multilateral system.
  • The private sector cannot sustain its business without a strong and functioning multilateral system.

Topics: multilateralism, private sector sustainability

The need for regulatory coherence and a level playing field is crucial for private sector engagement.

Supporting facts:

  • Current dynamic regulation in the US and Europe risks locking out small and medium enterprises from supply chains.
  • Private sector leaders advocate for equal business opportunities.

Topics: regulatory coherence, private sector engagement

Addressing the cost of capital is essential for trade development and private sector involvement.

Supporting facts:

  • The cost of capital has significantly impacted trade and private sector engagement.
  • High cost of capital can be a barrier for small and medium enterprises.

Topics: cost of capital, trade development

Strengthening supply chain resilience and sustainability is a priority for the private sector.

Supporting facts:

  • Global supply chains have been severely affected by various crises, highlighting the need for resilience.
  • Sustainability is pivotal for the continuity and success of private sector businesses.

Topics: supply chain resilience, sustainability


The pivotal role of the private sector in realising sustainable development is underscored by its essential alignment with an effective multilateral system, as advocated by SDG 17, which is centred on global partnerships. The evidence points to a deep interconnection between the stability and sustainability of businesses and the robustness of the multilateral framework, emphasising that the private sector's prospects are dependent on a functioning, cooperative international order.

Further highlighting inclusivity and equity, it is acknowledged that evolving regulations in the US and Europe have the potential to sideline small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by excluding them from supply chains. This concern aligns with the goals of SDG 8, which seeks to promote decent work and economic growth, and SDG 16, which aims for peace, justice, and solid institutions, underpinning the critical need for regulatory coherence and equitable business opportunities.

Addressing the financial aspects, the conversation shifts to the impact of the cost of capital on trade development and private sector engagement. Elevated costs are identified as a significant barrier for SMEs, which ties in with the objectives of SDG 9, aiming to build resilient infrastructure and foster innovation, and SDG 10, which focuses on reducing inequalities.

The argument advocates for actions to reduce capital costs, thereby enabling SMEs to participate more fully in trade and contribute to a diverse and inclusive economic landscape. Concerning operational resilience, supply chain vulnerabilities are scrutinised, with recent crises highlighting the need for strengthened frameworks.

Emphasis is placed on boosting supply chain resilience and embedding sustainability as fundamental to the private sector's success, mirroring the directives of SDG 12, which promotes responsible consumption and production, and SDG 13, which calls for urgent action on climate change. Moreover, the conversation concludes with a unified call for the integration of private sector interests with the multilateral goals of the United Nations, arguing that sustainable business practices are inextricably linked with a resilient and supportive global system.

This confluence is seen as beneficial for business sustainability and for propelling the broader objectives of the SDGs. Upon revising the overall analysis, a positive sentiment prevails concerning the collaboration between the public and private sectors within a strong multilateral framework to achieve sustainable development.

Key to this dialogue is the harmonisation of regulatory frameworks, improved access to finance, reinforcing supply chain resilience, and nurturing synergistic relationships that allow effective and sustainable business practices in line with the United Nations' global development goals. The collective sentiment underscores a proactive stance towards the integration of the objectives of the private sector with those of the international community in advancing the SDGs.


Shamika N. Sirimanne

Speech speed

155 words per minute

Speech length

1526 words

Speech time

592 secs


Financing, investment, and private sector involvement are critical solutions to supply chain challenges

Supporting facts:

  • Supply chains need to be inclusive, sustainable, and resilient
  • Increased investment is required for adding value and infrastructure development

Topics: Supply chain challenges, Private sector, Financing, Investment

The high cost of capital is a main deterrent of supply chain functioning

Supporting facts:

  • Need for investment in infrastructure and digitalization
  • Lack of affordable capital limits the ability of supply chains to be effective

Topics: Supply chain efficiency, Cost of capital, Private sector investment

Development partners like the World Bank should support developing countries to build resilient and sustainable supply chains

Topics: Development partners, World Bank, Supply chain resilience, Sustainability

Customs automation leads to a significant increase in revenue

Supporting facts:

  • UNCTAD's ASICUDA program is in 102 countries, resulting in revenue increases upon implementation.
  • The customs system automation in Angola led to a 47% increase in revenues by 2018-2019.

Topics: Customs automation, Revenue generation, UNCTAD ASICUDA program

Investment in digitalization yields a high return

Supporting facts:

  • Shamika N. Sirimanne cites the impact of investment in automating customs systems leading to immediate revenue increases.

Topics: Digitalization, Investment in technology, Custom automation returns

Political will and prioritization can lead to effective use of investments

Supporting facts:

  • Sirimanne emphasizes that with political will and directed investment, significant advancements can be made without necessarily large financial input.

Topics: Political will, Investment effectiveness, Strategic planning

Importance of supporting women entrepreneurs in supply chains

Supporting facts:

  • Supply chains do not typically have a lot of women engaged
  • The significance of pushing women's aspirations in supply chains is acknowledged

Topics: Gender Equality, Supply Chain Inclusivity


The ongoing discourse regarding supply chain challenges spotlights the critical importance of investment, financing, and private sector participation in spurring development. Such measures are essential for cultivating supply chains that are efficient as well as inclusive, sustainable, and resilient, with the aspiration to enhance value addition and fortify infrastructure against diverse challenges.

A comprehensive synergy among diverse stakeholders, comprising private enterprises, international financiers, and developmental bodies such as the World Bank, is advocated to strengthen robust supply chain frameworks, particularly within developing countries. This collaborative ethos aligns with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 9 and 17, underscoring the significance of innovation in industry and infrastructure alongside the fostering of global partnerships.

The effectiveness of judicious investments is evidenced by the successful deployment of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA) program across more than 100 nations. The digitisation of customs exemplified by this program has led to notable revenue surges, with Angola reporting a 47% uptick during 2018-2019, demonstrating how digitalisation and customs automation offer substantial returns, thereby aiding economic growth (SDG 8) and infrastructural enhancement (SDG 9).

However, discussions have also highlighted concerns that the exorbitant cost of capital can hinder the efficient operation of supply chains. An affordable and accessible financing infrastructure is thus imperative to address this stumbling block and advance supply chain efficiency. In addition, the discussions accentuate that political resolve and strategic investment planning are pivotal in optimising the impact of financial investments.

Shamika N. Sirimanne's perspective suggests that significant progress is achievable with determined political will, conveying that impactful advancements do not universally require extensive financial input but can proceed from focused and well-channeled approaches. The conversations further underline the importance of advocating financial inclusion for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) and empowering female entrepreneurs within the supply chain framework.

Initiatives such as SheTrade are instrumental in integrating women into the economic fabric and supply chain operations, resonating with SDG 5's emphasis on gender equality. In summation, the prevailing sentiment is markedly positive about the capabilities of various strategies to refine supply chain systems.

The advocacy for ongoing investment in infrastructure and digital solutions is pivotal for the progression of supply chains. The significance of ensuring the affordability of financial resources, the involvement of developmental partners, the indispensability of political will, and the support for SMEs and the participation of women encompass an all-encompassing prescription for navigating supply chain obstacles.

This strategy not only intends to energise economic expansion but also seeks to guarantee a fair distribution of benefits, supporting the wider sustainable development narrative.


Therese Turner Jones

Speech speed

169 words per minute

Speech length

948 words

Speech time

337 secs


During a World Trade Week address, the speaker emphasised the urgent requirement for global cooperation in addressing the formidable challenges posed by the international supply chain crisis. The problems, although severe, were considered solvable, mirroring the views of US trade officials and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), underscoring a widespread recognition of the crisis's magnitude.

Emphasising this shared understanding, the speaker asserted that worldwide collaboration is indispensable for resolving the supply chain difficulties. A significant focus of the speech was the regional labour shortages, stressing that insular solutions are inadequate. The speaker advocated for a comprehensive reform of migration policies to mitigate the skills gap, suggesting that small nations can develop efficient global-scale ports, as evidenced by Singapore and the Maldives.

The creation of robust partnerships with financial entities was recommended as a means to address funding deficits and enhance logistics infrastructure. Infrastructure development was another key topic, with renewable energy deployment to combat high electricity costs, water supply upgrades, and construction of ports to meet contemporary logistics demands recognised as vital.

The speaker identified digital innovation, drawing attention to the Central American unified digital platform’s effectiveness, proposing its replication within the Caribbean to increase logistical efficiency. The keynote also highlighted international development agencies' role as advocates for smaller nations in global supply chain discussions.

The gravity of the supply chain problems calls for solutions that transcend regional boundaries, hence the importance of organisations like the CDB, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and the World Bank. Notable figures such as PM Mia Mottley, Rebeca Grynspan, and Amina Mohammed were mentioned as supporting the amplification of less powerful states' concerns.

Additionally, the address covered the empowerment of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), referencing initiatives like SheTrades which aims to integrate women-owned businesses into the international market. The importance of fostering the creative economy was illustrated, with a focus on production, intellectual property, and commercialisation.

To unlock the creative sector's potential, the speaker advocated for education, distinct financing opportunities, and grants, thus enhancing economic growth and empowerment. In summary, the speech offered an in-depth strategy to address the intricacies of global trade, especially from the perspective of Caribbean and small island nations.

Advocating for strategic planning, immigration policy adjustments, collaborative financial assistance for infrastructure, the integration of digital solutions, persuasive global advocacy, and targeted empowerment initiatives, the speaker delivered a detailed framework for tackling the complex landscape of international trade and development.


Winston Moore

Speech speed

163 words per minute

Speech length

1237 words

Speech time

456 secs


The University of West Indies is developing short courses for global supply chains

Supporting facts:

  • A recent program developed is Bachelors of Business Administration in Aviation Management

Topics: Higher Education, Technical Training, Global Supply Chains

Training programs are aimed to produce management professionals for the Caribbean aviation industry

Supporting facts:

  • The target is to train individuals to manage the regional aviation industry, an important part of supply chains

Topics: Professional Training, Aviation Management, Caribbean Development

Intention to train individuals in the maritime industry

Supporting facts:

  • Objective to fill in the roles such as ship captains and first officers with trained Caribbean people

Topics: Maritime Industry, Professional Training, Career Development


The University of the West Indies (UWI) is making significant strides in higher education by introducing specialised degree programmes and short courses aimed at enhancing the quality of education and economic growth in the Caribbean. In a positive move towards progression, UWI has launched the Bachelor of Business Administration in Aviation Management, tailored to meet the requirements of regional global supply chains.

This programme is designed to cultivate skills essential for management roles within the aviation sector, an integral part of the Caribbean's supply chain infrastructure. Furthering its commitment, UWI is investing in the maritime industry, seeking to train individuals to assume senior positions such as ship captains and first officers.

This initiative aligns with economic growth ambitions and with the stewardship of maritime resources, as advocated by SDG14: Life Below Water. There is a generally positive sentiment regarding these educational advancements, with expectations that they will lead to significant career development opportunities for Caribbean individuals.

Winston Moore endorses these educational ventures as part of a strategic thrust to enhance the human resource capabilities within the region. Moore's backing emphasises UWI's dedication to align its curriculum with the region's economic demands, propelling both industry-specific knowledge and overall educational quality as envisioned by SDG4: Quality Education.

The training programmes are strategically aligned with the objective of producing highly skilled professionals, with the expectation that such advancements will bolster specific industries like aviation and maritime, and trigger wider regional economic development and innovation, which is in line with SDG9.

UWI's initiative is a visionary approach to equipping the Caribbean workforce with technical expertise and strategic managerial skills, expected to generate economic benefits and promote decent work conditions in accordance with SDG8: Decent Work and Economic Growth. In conclusion, UWI's focus on specialised training and education signifies a forward-thinking approach to regional development.

These initiatives promise to enhance the region's educational standing and catalyse socio-economic benefits, aiding the Caribbean in its pursuit of sustainable economic growth and establishing its presence in the global supply chain network. This emphasis on education as a cornerstone of development underscores the wider understanding that improving human capital is inherently tied to achieving long-term economic and social objectives.

In summary, UWI's initiatives reflect an understanding of the crucial role that quality education plays in economic and infrastructural development. With a strong backing from advocates like Winston Moore, these steps indicate a dedication to preparing a workforce that can confidently manage industry demands and contribute to a robust economic future for the Caribbean.