ITC ‘here for the long haul’ Executive Director tells annual governance meeting
The International Trade Centre is 'here for the long haul,' the organization's new executive director Pamela Coke-Hamilton said during its annual governance meeting on 25 November 2020.
Ms. Coke Hamilton was addressing the 54th Joint Advisory Group of representatives of governments that are members of ITC sister agencies the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
'This year will be permanently seared on our collective consciousness for the COVID pandemic and the way it has dramatically reshaped our world,' Ms. Coke-Hamilton said.
Ms. Coke-Hamilton, who joined ITC in October 2020, described how ITC plans to assist micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) to pull through the economic collapse following the coronavirus crisis.
'With your engagement and support, we must ensure MSME recovery today. We must ensure MSME resilience tomorrow. And we must dare to re-imagine the world for MSMEs in the years to come,' she said.
Due to local health emergency restrictions at ITC's Geneva headquarters, the 2020 meeting was held in hybrid form for the first time, with delegates joining remotely. It had been postponed from its usual July date.
The meeting was also addressed by WTO Deputy Director-General Frederic Agah, UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi, outgoing chairperson Ambassador Kirsti Kauppi of Finland and incoming chairperson Ambassador Athaliah Lesiba Molokomme of Botswana. Member states reviewed ITC's work in 2019 and commented on its performance in 2020.
Ms. Coke-Hamilton made several announcements on ITC's work on green growth and sustainability, including a plan to open a Trade for Sustainable Development Hub in the Caribbean and a new 'Green to Compete' strategy.
'Some have called climate change the next disaster waiting around the corner to challenge humanity − the "real" second-wave,' Ms. Coke Hamilton said.
'But it can't be the next frontier of our efforts - it has to now be the substance of our efforts. That's because we have a golden opportunity to build back boldly after the pandemic and put gender equality, social responsibility, and environmental protection at the heart of the recovery,' she said.
Full proceedings of ITC's Joint Advisory Group meeting for 2020 can be found here.