Trade Forum Features

News brief Issue 02 - 2013

1 July 2013
ITC News
WTO appoints next Director-General

The General Council of the World Trade Organization (WTO) has approved the appointment of Ambassador Roberto Carvalho de Azevêdo of Brazil as the organization’s next Director-General. He will take up his post on 1 September 2013.

Ambassador Azevêdo, a Brazilian career diplomat, has been the Permanent Representative of Brazil to the WTO and other international organizations in Geneva since 2008.

After the announcement Ambassador Azevêdo said that he would work with the Member States to restore the standing of the WTO. ‘I have been working in and with this organization continuously for the last 15 years. I have seen it in much better days. I pledge to all members that I will work with them, with unwavering and steadfast determination, to restore the WTO to the role and pre-eminence it deserves and must have,’ he said.

WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy pledged to work closely with Ambassador Azevêdo in ensuring a smooth transition: ‘I would also like to warmly congratulate Ambassador Azevêdo on his appointment and to wish him well as he prepares to take up his post. Ambassador Azevêdo can count on my full support as well as that of the entire Secretariat… so that he can hit the ground running as he takes office on the first of September.’

ILO report highlights the grim prospects for young people in developing countries

Young people in developing countries are far more likely to have low-quality jobs in the informal economy than jobs paying decent wages and offering benefits, according to the International Labour Organization (ILO)

Global Employment Trends for Youth 2013 report, which finds that access to education and training are major stumbling blocks.

The report found that two-thirds of working-age youths in some developing countries are either unemployed or trapped in low-quality jobs. In six of the ten countries surveyed, more than 60% of young people are either unemployed, working in low-quality, irregular, low-wage jobs, often in the informal economy, or neither in the labour force nor in education or training. In Liberia, Malawi and Togo, the figure exceeds 70%.

‘The waste of economic potential in developing economies is staggering. For an overwhelming number of young people this means a job does not necessarily equal a livelihood,’ said Sara Elder, co-author of the report and research specialist for the ILO Youth Employment Programme.

The report looks at issues such as non-standard employment and labour underutilization, job quality, job satisfaction and transitions of young people to and within the labour market.

Donors pledge more than US$ 35 million in funding for ITC

Delegates at the International Trade Centre's (ITC) 47th annual Joint Advisory Group (JAG) expressed their support for ITC’s work by endorsing the 2012 Annual Report and pledging funding of more than US$ 35 million. The JAG meeting was held on 6 and 7 May 2013, and was chaired by H.E. Ms. Karen Pierce, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the United Nations and other International Organizations in Geneva.

‘We are pleased that members support our work and see it as relevant to their own development goals and needs. Getting a clear indication from members as to the strategy and implementation of our work programme is critical for the success of ITC’s work,’ said ITC Executive Director Ms. Patricia Francis.

Donor countries Australia, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland confirmed their voluntary con-tributions to the ITC Trust Fund for 2013 to 2017.

Global Review of Aid for Trade to take place in Geneva

The Fourth Global Review of Aid for Trade, ‘Connecting to Value Chains’, will be held at the headquarters of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva on 8-10 July 2013. The Global Review will focus on the results of a monitoring exercise, based on self-assessment questionnaires to which Members, Observer Governments and Observer Organizations have been invited to respond. The global monitoring exercise was launched in October 2012.

The Fourth Global Review will also discuss the responses to a survey of the private sector, in particular companies engaged in five sector-specific value chains: agri-food, information and communication technology, textiles and apparel, tourism, and transport and logistics. The aim of the survey was to collect views on the barriers that are holding back firms in some developing countries from entering value chains; actions which would help firms enter, move up and/or establish value chains; and initiatives with which companies may be already engaged in to address these constraints.

The WTO-led Aid for Trade initiative, launched in 2005, assists developing countries, and particularly least developed countries, in trade. The initiative encourages developing country governments and donors to recognize the role that trade can play in development. In particular, it seeks to mobilize resources to address the trade-related constraints identified by developing and least developed countries.

ECOSOC 2013 Substantive Session to take place in Geneva

The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) will hold its Substantive Session from 1 to 25 July at the United Nations in Geneva. Representatives from the Council's 54 member governments will discuss issues including science, technology and innovation, and the potential of culture in promoting sustainable development and achieving the Millennium Development Goals; the state of the world economy and its implications for the achievement of the UN development agenda; employment and decent work; and the future of humanitarian affairs, in terms of greater inclusiveness, coordination and effectiveness.

The High-level Segment of ECOSOC will be held at the United Nations Office in Geneva from 1 to 4 July and will focus on a broad range of issues at the heart of the UN development agenda. Participants will include heads of United Nations and other international organizations, heads of state, ministers, business leaders and technical experts.

ECOSOC, a founding UN Charter body established in 1946, is concerned with the world’s economic, social and environmental challenges. The Council has broad responsibility for some 70% of the human and financial resources of the entire UN system, including 14 specialized agencies, nine functional commissions, and five regional commissions.