Saturday, July 16, 2011

United Nation’s Regional Economic Commissions And India

While discussing the regional initiatives of United Nations regarding economic development, i asked myself about the true nature of such regional initiatives. Are these regional initiatives truly regional in nature or can they cooperate and collaborate among themselves or with other individuals and organisations residing beyond their regions?

In other words, does the charter of such institutions or commissions allow them to engage at international level directly or indirectly? If these regional initiatives are strictly regional in nature, this may hamper their effectiveness.

For instance, recently I came across the activities of United Nation’s Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) regarding intellectual property rights (IPRs). I found this initiative really impressive. However, can India be a part of UNECE directly or indirectly?

According to Geeta Dalal, partner at New Delhi based ICT and IP law firm Perry4Law, UN-ECE is one of five regional commissions of United Nations, working for economic integration and growth in Europe primarily. For Asian countries/ India, UN regional commission is Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN-ESCAP).

Does this mean professionals and organisations working as members or otherwise of UNECE and UNESCAP have to essentially confine their initiatives and efforts to their regional initiatives alone?

This may not necessarily be the case. For instance, the International PPP Center for Excellence by UN-ECE, to my understanding, is global initiative having much wider objectives useful for all countries although it is primarily designed as a regional initiative, suggests Geeta Dalal.

Considering the ever increasing scope of engaging PPP model in growth map of Asian countries like India particularly in infrastructure projects such as road, transport, telecom, ICT etc, initiatives like UN-ESCAP and UN-ECE could play a possible pivotal role. In any case, it should engage experts from all over the world as there is nothing that restricts this exercise, suggests Geeta.

.It seems, although many UN initiatives have been launched as regional, their public private partnership (PPP) model may help in expanding their expertise and scope. At the end of the day, any regional initiative that helps in achieving a global objective is always welcome irrespective of its mandate.