The Common Fund Dialogue
Pressure on the Secretariat for action, whether real or anticipated, produced a programme which, although it provided momentary relief through structured activity was neither the product of a careful analysis of the problem nor adequately weighed up the possible consequences. The history of the Common Fund dialogue reflects the resulting gaps in fundamental preparation and the pull of the wider organization and the Secretariat between two opposing forces. While the major goals of the organization were clear (logistical support of development-related trade efforts), and the means of achieving them were generally known (information gathering and the provision of a forum for the exchange of information and for negotiation), these purely neutral activities were increasingly supplemented by less-clearly legitimized activities designed more for organizational survival: taking initiatives; providing direction and leadership in programme formulation and implementation; and accommodating General Assembly resolutions which impinged on the Secretariat’s better judgement and excluded the concerns of an important element of its membership. Paradoxically, this concentration on survival or image, with the responsibilities and risks it entailed, seemed to set the organization on the opposite course, sapping credibility and, with it, viability. In several instances, the nature of this dilemma went unrecognized by those who stood to lose most, to the extent that they persistently adhered to frames of reference which afforded no basis from which the problems of trade and development, and more specifically, those of the Common Fund in the larger world of commodity trade, could be resolved.
KeywordsSugar Rubber Income Explosive Pyramid
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