Since its coming into being, UNCTAD has had two avatars . In its first avatar , until late 1980s, UNCTAD was seen as an important tool in creating the developing countries a more balanced international trading system to realise their goal of development. Then from 1990s onwards, it underwent a remarkable change as far as its structure and vision are concerned. The Midrand conference restructured UNCTAD's intergovernmental role by changing the funding pattern and mode of functioning curtailing the number of meetings and publications. This was its second avatar .

Since then, UNCTAD has lost its identity and development role it performs. The recently concluded UNCTAD XII conference held between 20-25 April 2008 at Accra began with a different purpose of extending the benefits of globalisation. The Accra Accord talks of policy diversity to help individual countries attain their development priorities and objectives, and the specific policies and practices should be based on detailed rigorous diagnostic analysis. Further, national strategies of development should take into account the needs and circumstances of each country. It suggests many trade policies to fill the wide gaps arose out of lack of technical capacities and more specific diagnostic research needs. From UNCTAD's view, though the Accra Declaration has come about advocating wide policy recommendation, the funding structure, which determines its mandate and support, and research prioritisation seem inadequate to address the growing needs in a globalising world.