Trade Forum Features

News Brief

22 February 2016
ITC News
2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

On 1 January 2016, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development came into force. This set of goals to be achieved by 2030 was adopted at United Nations Headquarters in New York in September 2015 by 193 heads of state and top leaders. The agenda’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aim to eradicate poverty, realize human rights for all, achieve gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls, combat climate change and promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development. The goals build on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and attempt to complete what these were not able to achieve and more.

According to the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the Sustainable Development Goals are ‘our shared vision of humanity and a social contract between the world’s leaders and the people.’

Project launched to boost trade in East Africa

The Trade and Regional Integration Project (TRIP) for the East African Community (EAC), which began in January 2016, aims to increase competitiveness of EAC-based small and medium-sized enterprises, enabling them to boost intra- and inter-regional trade. TRIP is a five-year joint project between the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the EAC. In line with ITC commitments to women’s economic empowerment, the project has a strong emphasis on women and will also support wider private-sector development in the EAC to spur deeper economic integration in the agricultural sector, information and communication technologies and tourism.

The Government of Finland has pledged to provide initial funding. The project was announced by ITC Executive Director Arancha González and EAC Secretary-General Dr. Richard Sezibera at the World Trade Organization’s Ministerial Conference in December 2015.

Historic Paris Agreement on climate change

An historic agreement to combat climate change and unleash actions and investment towards a more resilient and sustainable future was agreed by 195 nations in Paris in December 2015. The Paris Agreement for the first time brings all nations together for a common cause based on their historic, current and future responsibilities.

The universal agreement’s main aim is to keep a global temperature rise this century well below 2°C and to drive efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. The 1.5°C limit is a significantly safer defense line against the worst impacts of a changing climate. Additionally, the agreement aims to strengthen the ability to deal with the impacts of climate change.

To reach these ambitious targets, appropriate financial flows will be put in place, thus making stronger action by developing countries and the most vulnerable possible, in line with their own national objectives.

‘We have entered a new era of global cooperation on one of the most complex issues ever to confront humanity,’ said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. ‘For the first time, every country in the world has pledged to curb emissions, strengthen resilience and join in common cause to take common climate action. This is a resounding success for multilateralism.’

WTO members secure ‘historic’ Nairobi Package

Members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) concluded their Tenth Ministerial Conference in Nairobi on 19 December by securing an historic agreement on a series of trade initiatives, delivering commitments that sets out to benefit the organization’s poorest members.

The Nairobi Package contains a series of six Ministerial Decisions on agriculture, cotton and issues related to least-developed countries. These include a commitment to abolish export subsidies for farm exports, which Director-General Roberto Azevêdo hailed as the ‘most significant outcome on agriculture’ in the organization’s 20-year history.

The other agricultural decisions cover public stockholding for food security purposes, a special safeguard mechanism for developing countries, and measures related to cotton. Decisions were also made regarding preferential treatment for least developed countries (LDCs) in the area of services and the criteria for determining whether exports from LDCs may benefit from trade preferences.

The WTO’s Tenth Ministerial Conference was held in Nairobi, Kenya, from 15 to 19 December 2015, the first such meeting hosted by an African nation. During the meeting Afghanistan and Liberia also acceded to the WTO. The Conference was chaired by Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Amina Mohamed.

SheTrades initiative and app launched

An initiative has been launched by the International Trade Centre (ITC) that provides buyers across the globe with a unique opportunity to connect with businesses owned by women and vice versa. The SheTrades website – and mobile app provide a platform that brings together thousands of women-owned enterprises to showcase their businesses in sectors ranging from agriculture to IT services. SheTrades is an initiative of the ITC Women and Trade Programme.

Through a series of customized filters the initiative helps women entrepreneurs identify companies that suit their requirements and helps businesses identify women-owned enterprises. SheTrades enables women entrepreneurs to unlock new markets with access to business profiles and company information.

SheTrades is designed to meet the ITC aim of connecting one million women entrepreneurs to markets by 2020, expanding their networks and trade and enabling them to become economically empowered.

ITC Executive Director Arancha González and Ambassador Amina Mohamed, Cabinet Secretary of the Kenyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, launched SheTrades at the International Forum on Women in Business, a side event of the World Trade Organization’s 10th Ministerial Conference.

ILO: 150m migrant workers the global workforce

Migrant workers account for 150.3 million of the world’s approximately 232 million international migrants, according to a new study by the International Labour Organization (ILO).

The report, ILO Global Estimates on Migrant Workers, shows migrant workers account for 72.7% of the 206.6 million working- age migrant population (15 years and over). The majority – 83.7 million – are men, with 66.6 million women migrant workers.

Commenting on the report, ILO Director- General Guy Ryder said the analysis ‘represents a significant contribution by the ILO in supporting member states to deliver the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, particularly in respect to targets within Goal 8 on protecting all workers, including migrant workers, and Goal 10 on the implementation of well managed migration policies. Decision makers will now have real data on which to base their policies.’