World Export Development Forum 2023


    The World Export Development Forum (WEDF) is the annual flagship event of the International Trade Centre (ITC). This year's event, hosted by the Government of Mongolia, marks the 20th edition of WEDF. The conference gathers participants from around the world to talk trade, do business and drive development. It is a unique opportunity to bring together the voice of small business, women, young entrepreneurs, policymakers and international organizations.

    This year’s conference explores trade-led solutions to challenges caused by conflict, climate, COVID and rising costs. The theme, `Diversify with Green Trade`, explores organic, digital and sustainable solutions to multiple crises. WEDF is a global conference, bringing insights and good practices from the across globe. This year’s event reaches out especially to Asia-Pacific countries as well as landlocked developing countries. 

    Conference Highlights

    • Conference Debates on Trade Diversification and Green Export Opportunities (27-28 June)
    • Private Sector Consultations: Landlocked Developing Countries
    • Young Social Entrepreneurs Competition
    • Mongolia SheTrades Hub Launch
    • National Export Strategy Workshop
    • Mongolian Nomad cultural experience


    Landlocked Developing Countries and Business Meetings
    Monday 26 June
    09:00 - 09:30
    The United Nations has a Vienna Programme of Action for landlocked developing countries that is being reviewed at a UN Ministerial meeting set for 2024. The World Export Development Forum, hosted by Mongolia this year, is officially gathering insights from business for this UN Ministerial. This is the first time the business voice is officially being brought into the preparatory process. The discussions cover trade connectivity, infrastructure, trade finance and inclusive trade facilitation. 
    09:30 - 11:00
    Regional Trade Connectivity
    Corridors and border areas are key to trade connectivity for Landlocked Developing Countries. Innovative e-tools for trade facilitation, inclusive solutions for women in business, soft and hard infrastructure development and financing can boost efficiency.  
    11:00 - 11:20
    Networking break
    11:20 - 13:00
    Business Voices from Landlocked Developing Countries: Private Sector Consultations
    Moderated dialogues and Q&A 

    The first four focus areas in the Vienna Programme of Action impact businesses directly. Four parallel roundtable discussions set the scene for a forty-minute concluding discussion. Dialogues among business representatives for each of these areas will be documented and feed into the priorities of the 2024 UN Conference on LLDCs. 
    13:00 - 14:00
    Working lunch and introduction to B2B
    14:00 - 18:00
    Business to Business Meetings
    Sectors: ICT Services, Natural fibres, Leather
    Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Day
    Tuesday 27 June
    09:00 - 10:00
    Official Opening of the World Export Development Forum
    International officials open the event with the President of Mongolia, outlining forward-looking vision to diversify trade in ways that are green, digital and organic – and bring small businesses into regional and global trade. 
    10:00 - 10:30
    Networking break
    10:30 - 12:00
    Paths to Diversification: Business Cases
    Businesses take the spotlight on this International Day for Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises. Making trade work for small firms is key to making trade truly inclusive. Here, business pairs share inspirational examples of green and digital trade – and reflect on the visions set out earlier in the day.  
    12:00 - 13:30
    Partner-hosted lunch
    13:30 - 14:30
    In Conversation: Scaling up Youth Entrepreneurship
    This session sets the stage for the Youth Ecopreneur Awards pitch competition by discussing youth entrepreneurship, and how to harness the innovative drive of young populations around the world. 
    14:30 - 16:00
    Youth Ecopreneur Awards: Green Pitch Competition
    Young entrepreneurs from around the world pitch their green startups before a panel of judges.  This year, in addition to the Youth Ecopreneur Award, a special prize will be awarded for startups addressing sustainable Land Use.
    18:00 - 21:00
    Featuring Mongolian cultural performances, exhibitions and fashion show
    Green, Digital and Inclusive Trade
    Wednesday 28 June
    09:00 - 10:00
    In Conversation: Trade Trends
    A high-level discussion on the outcomes of the Private Sector Consultation for Landlocked Developing Countries, as well as broader trade development trends. 
    10:00 - 11:20
    Towards Green Trade
    How policymakers, business support organizations and MSMEs are orienting economies and value chains towards greener trade.
    11:20 - 11:40
    Networking break
    11:40 - 13:00
    Harnessing Digital Transformation
    Power digital transformation with local innovation – to ignite green growth.
    13:00 - 14:30
    Partner-hosted lunch
    14:30 - 16:00
    Access to Finance
    Unlock SME finance for sustainability and diversification. This session explores trends in trade finance, climate finance, fintech and regional bank lending. 
    16:30 - 17:00
    SheTrades Hub Mongolia Launch
    The launch ceremony will include the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the International Trade Centre and the Mongolia National Chamber of Commerce and Industry for the hosting of the Mongolia SheTrades Hub. 
    17:00 - 18:00
    SheTrades Mongolia: Springboard to Inclusive Growth
    Women’s entrepreneurial development is key to Mongolia’s path towards economic diversification. SheTrades Mongolia Hub can make a difference by mapping and catalysing the country’s business and policy ecosystem, and by learning from similar organizations around the world.  
    18:00 - 18:30
    Announce pitch winners, WEDF outcomes, next WEDF host country, and continuation of capacity building next day as well as cultural experience
    Post-Conference Events
    Thursday 29 June
    09:00 - 16:00
    National Export Strategy Workshop
    This workshop is an opportunity to reflect on the insights of the World Export Development Forum discussions and business meetings and ensure they are integrated in the development of a national export strategy, which is expected to be
    launched at the end of 2023.
    Businesses in Mongolia are specially invited to this workshop. It is designed to bring the voice of business to export strategy development. The workshop will explore priority sectors for trade development. It will feature international experts and national government officials will be present.
    Mongolia is developing a national export strategy with the World Bank and the International Trade Centre, with the aim to diversify trade. The focal point in the government is the Ministry of Food, Agriculture, Light Industry, and other government ministries are also involved.
    A second day of closed-door discussions will take place among those directly involved in developing the strategy.
    10:00 - 14:00
    Nomadic Festival excursion
    International participants will meet a nomadic family, hear Mongolian folk songs, have an introduction to herding, milking and distillation of dairy alcohol. Archery, felt-making and rides in yak and camel-drawn carts are also part of the experience.
    Buses leave the Shangri-La at 10:00 and return at 14:00. The programme includes a traditional Mongolian lunch.

    Youth Ecopreneur Award

    The International Trade Centre's Youth Ecopreneur Award was open for applications until 10 May 2023, searching for young innovators in the green economy who are building solutions to create a more sustainable world.

    This year, a special prize for land restoration will also be awarded.


    Get in touch with us for further questions at hello [at] lebone.com and youthecopreneurawards [at] intracen.org.

    The top four finalists (one from Mongolia and three from other countries) will travel to Ulaanbaatar to pitch their businesses live on stage at WEDF in front of a panel of judges, business experts, investors, and governments on 27 June 2023.

    To be eligible...


    • Must be a youth (under 35)

    The Business:

    • Must be majority run by a young person.
    • Must be registered in an eligible country. See the list here.
    • Must promote sustainability, circularity, and/ or the green economy
    This year, we are partnering with the G20 Global Land Initiative at the UN Convention to Combat Desertification. Together we're excited to announce a special award in land restoration. The top three finalists will travel to Ulaanbaatar to pitch their business live on the WEDF stage. 

      To be eligible...


      Must be a youth (under 35)

      The business must be active in:

      • Reforestation or afforestation
      • Wetland restoration
      • Cleanup of contaminated land
      • Invasive species control
      • Stream and river restoration
      • Soil conservation and enrichment
      • Erosion control
      • Agroforestry and carbon farming
      • Forest or urban woodland fire management
      • Use of modern technology for any of the above.

      Event Resources and Information

      Note: Please check for biweekly updates on visas, hotels, flights and tourism packages 

      Participation in WEDF 2023 and business development meetings are free of charge and subject to confirmation by the organizers. Participants are responsible for their travel and accommodation costs. 

      WEDF, including its related events, takes place from Monday, 26 June through Thursday, 29 June. The Official Opening will be in the morning of 27 June. The Official Closing will be in the afternoon of 28 June. 

      Before the official opening, on Monday 26 June, related events include the launch of a SheTrades Hub for Mongolia, an LLDC Private Sector Preparatory Meeting, and Business Clinics. 

      After the closing, on Thursday 29 June, there will be a capacity-building day, dedicated to organic certification, quality management system, market linkages and e-commerce training. 

      The event takes place in English. Simultaneous interpretation from and into Mongolian will be offered for WEDF plenary sessions. 

      Mongolia: business development 

      Mongolia's commitment to diversifying into non-traditional export areas, as well as its young population, present exciting opportunities for businesses looking to expand into new markets. Mongolia positions itself as a hub for innovation and entrepreneurship. 

      The country has demonstrated its commitment to developing its non-mining sectors, with a particular focus on agribusiness, prioritizing pine nuts and services, as well as tourism and ICT. Particularly, Mongolia supports women entrepreneurs and youth businesses. 

      Entry requirements for Mongolia 

      Mongolia allows many countries to travel to its country without a visa. For a full list of visa-exempt countries and length of permitted stays, click here.

      For countries which are not on this list and hence require a visa, Mongolian immigration authorities have guaranteed visa-on-arrival for all registered WEDF participants. The registration process will collect your passport and other basic information, which will be provided to the Mongolia Department of Immigration. You will then receive a signed and stamped letter from the Department confirming your eligibility for visa-on-arrival, so that you can depart from your port of origin without complication. 

      Accommodation and meals 

      Participants are expected to make their own accommodation arrangements. 

      The hotels below are examples for participants to consider. 

      During the conference, lunch and coffee/tea breaks are offered on 27 and 28 June. Dinner is also offered on 27 June. 

      Travel to Mongolia 

      Chinggis Khaan International Airport is 52 km south of the country’s capital, Ulaanbaatar. Opened in 2021, it is Mongolia’s largest airport. Four shuttle buses connect travelers to the capital. Among the airlines offering the most frequent travel to Mongolia are: 

      • Mongolian Airlines 

      • Turkish Airlines 

      • Qatar Airways 

      • Air China 

      • Hunnu Air 

      • Korean Air 

      • Air Busan 

      • Tway Air 

      • Asiana Airlines 

      To obtain preferential flight rates to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia on Mongolian Airlines, please contact Ms. Ts. Azzaya at Tapatrip LLC:

      Email: azzaya [at] tapatrip.com

      Phone: +976 8515 4444


      While Mongolian is the official language, there are two additional languages that are widely spoken in Mongolia, namely Chinese and Russian. 


      The local currency in Mongolia is the Tughrik. ATM machines are available in major hotels and at the Chinggis Khan International Airport (on its second floor). We recommend that participants also bring US dollars. The official daily foreign exchange rates can be explored at the Central Bank of Mongolia. 

      Credit cards 

      Credit cards can be used at upmarket shops, major hotels and many restaurants in the capital. For small businesses and markets, and outside of the capital, local currency is required. 

      Tourist packages 

      Five sightseeing tours are available for WEDF participants after the conference. Brochures with detailed information and pricing can be found here at the bottom of the page.

      All tours are available for a fee and must be reserved by the delegate directly with the tour operator. A 10% discount can be applied to four of the five packages for WEDF participants. The discount can not be applied to the "Wild Wild South-Gobi Tour" package.

      Commitment to common challenges

      The International Trade Centre evaluates host country requests for their commitment, geopolitical significance and the possibility to be a springboard for longer-term impact in the country, the region and beyond.

      Mongolia is:

      • Geopolitically important for its strategic location between Europe and Asia, and firmly committed to multilateralism.
      • A thought leader on issues facing landlocked nations, through its International Think Tank for Landlocked Developing Countries.
      • A global leader on battling deforestation through its ‘1 billion trees by 2030’ initiative.
      • Open for new business and investment outside of the traditional mining sector, with potential in services as well as value-added agribusiness.
      • An emerging actor in technology-enabled trade to overcome landlocked challenges through digital services, software innovation development and fintech.
      • Host to a vibrant small business sector, including an educated workforce of women and youth-led firms.

      Mongolia’s commitment to hosting the World Export Development Forum comes from the highest levels in the country and the private sector, including the Office of the President, the Parliament, key ministries and the Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

      Many institutions in the international development community are committed to supporting the path to diversify exports in Mongolia, the region and beyond. They, too, see the World Export Development Forum as a catalyst to shift awareness and action to make trade sustainable, green and inclusive. They see in this event the opportunity to:

      • Feed into global discussions on common trade challenges.
      • Hear new perspectives on making trade more inclusive for women and youth.
      • Share expertise with a very targeted, relevant network.
      • Work together on solutions that are replicable and adaptable to many contexts.
      • Discover business opportunities and gain awareness on capacity-building needs.

      Through WEDF 2023, Mongolia signals its intent to carve out a cutting-edge, inclusive and practical trade development path. This path resonates with ITC’s strategic approach to trade development and those of its partner institutions.

      Past events

      Launch event for the World Export Development Forum 2023


      15 February 2023
      World Export Development Forum (WEDF) 2019
      African Union headquarters, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
      18–22 November 2019