The middle zone: The 1964 Un Conference on Trade and Development and the Australian response

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The first United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), held in 1964, is often regarded as a pivotal moment in the history of relations between Global North and Global South. Yet there were a handful of countries at UNCTAD that sought to present themselves as not fitting into this system. These countries included Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. Using Australia as a case study, this paper will demonstrate that the dominant dichotomy oversimplifies the developmental arguments that were presented at UNCTAD. Australia’s policy at the Conference, which was generally referred to as the “Middle Zone,” revolved around presenting Australia as being neither a “developed” nor “developing” country. By examining the Australian arguments, a more nuanced understanding of North-South relations is possible. Ultimately, the Australian case study provides a new way of understanding the significance of UNCTAD in the history of international development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)465-489
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of World History
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021


  • Australia
  • Australian history
  • Development
  • United nations
  • World history

Cite this