The globalization process is being driven by market liberalization, the expansion of multinational corporations and the information technology revolution. This is the satellite globalization, the expansion of trade in goods and especially of "symbolic goods", consumer images, experiences of happiness, ideas about beauty, trademarks of products and objects representing symbols of integration into the modern world. The globalization of communications systems, trading systems and political systems are what may be called "top down globalization".
This strategy features in the framework of Agenda 21 as formulated at UNCED (Rio de Janeiro, 1992), now coordinated by the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development and implemented through national and local authorities.
Ensuring that all countries enjoy the benefits of globalization requires meeting complex policy challenges which arise, particularly at the global macroeconomic level, from the growing interdependence of the various spheres of economic activity, including particularly trade, finance and investment, and the downside risks which this interdependence sometimes carries.
UNCTAD, as the focal point within the United Nations for the integrated treatment of trade and development and the interrelated issues in the areas of finance, technology, investment and sustainable development, is pre-eminently placed to examine these issues and to build consensus for reformulation of policies in a globalizing world from a development perspective and has a major role to play in helping developing countries, in particular the least developed countries, and the economies in transition better understand how to design policies for an efficient integration into the world economy, taking into account the many new issues which confront policy-makers, and tailoring the process to each country's level of economic development and institutions. In this respect UNCTAD should continue to explore, based on relevant experience, how to enhance the development opportunities at the domestic, regional and international level offered by the globalization process.
The process of creating a more closely integrated world economy is likely to continue during the next 10 years, and with increased globalization will come greater interdependence of all aspects of economic life. National economies will gradually lose their separate identities and become closely linked into an international economic system.
Economic integration is achieved through multilateral international economic agreements, treaties and organizations (based on regional location; prior military, mutual defence treaties; common language; common political heritage; common ideologies, or any combination of these) whose purpose is to create a common market between members and to achieve common economic domestic and foreign policies.
2. In its broadest sense, the economic globalization process leads also to the integration of societies and many of their problems, such as the need for protecting the global environment.
3. An open international trading system must work fairly so that it brings real development benefits to the world's poorest countries, helps contribute to poverty eradication, without leading to a deterioration in environmental or labour standards. Taking greater account of the trading interests of poor countries is also in developed world's more immediate self-interest. Without the co-operation of the developing countries - who now make up a majority of WTO members - there is little prospect that the next WTO trade round, due to begin in 2000, can be concluded successfully.