Promoting inclusive trade: ITC at the WTO Public Forum and T4SD Forum 2016

23 September 2016
ITC News
Ensuring everyone benefits from global trade is the focus of this year’s WTO Public Forum and the ITC Trade for Sustainable Development Forum, which run in parallel at the end of September.

Policymakers, business leaders and trade experts from around the world will gather in Geneva, Switzerland, next week to focus on fostering inclusive and sustainable trade as part of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Public Forum 2016 on 27-29 September and the International Trade Centre’s (ITC) Trade for Sustainable Development Forum (T4SD) on 28-30 September.

ITC at the WTO Public Forum

During the Public Forum, ITC will co-host four sessions, including one on ‘Inclusive trade and women’s economic empowerment: aligning global trade with the 2030 agenda’ with the Governments of Australia and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland on 27 September. The session will showcase initiatives that create opportunities for women in domestic, regional and international trade. Speakers, including female business leaders and entrepreneurs, will emphasize the importance of prioritizing gender equality while supporting women entrepreneurs to become technological innovators. ITC Executive Director Arancha González will close the session by discussing how empowering female entrepreneurs and producers in global value chains ensures that they reap greater economic benefits.

ITC will also co-host two sessions on 29 September on supporting the participation of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in international value chains to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

The first session, ‘SME participation in global value chains: best practices for capacity building’, is an interactive workshop from 15:30-17:00 that will explore strategies to help SMEs to connect to such networks. It is hosted with the World Bank and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The panellists will use case studies to discuss ways to address bottlenecks frequently faced by SMEs, including those related to obtaining financial services and meeting standards and international regulations. The panel will highlight how business leaders and international organizations can improve their technical assistance to enable more SMEs to participate in global value chains. Panellists will also discuss ways to better assess the impact of the work.

Speakers at the second workshop, ‘Inclusive trade and growth: building the link between smallholder farmers and international value chains’, hosted with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) from 17:00-18:30, will discuss a model of sustainable development in agribusinesses that can benefit small farmers and satisfy the increasing global food demand. Small-scale farmers can play an important role in satisfying this demand but due to obstacles including limited access to resources and business opportunities, they are unable to integrate into global markets. Panellists will discuss how to develop strategies to promote diversification and increase competitiveness, while maximizing the benefits and diminishing the risks involved in integrating into international value chains.

Additionally, from 27-29 September, ITC will have a booth in the WTO Atrium to present the ‘SheTrades: empowering women through e-solutions’ initiative to connect women-owned enterprises to global markets.

ITC at the T4SD Forum

Alongside these sessions, ITC will run its third annual Trade for Sustainable Development (T4SD) Forum on 28-30 September at the WTO and at ITC, with the opening session at the WTO from 15:30-17:00. This forum will bring together policymakers and business people to discuss voluntary sustainability standards, their role in supporting sustainable value chains and how this relationship can help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. This year, discussions will focus on the importance of the open sharing of good practices and data-driven decision-making in sustainable value chains.

See the full T4SD programme here.

Launching new tools, reports

On 29 September, at the ‘Open house: trade for sustainable development’ event, ITC will showcase the new Sustainability Map, a market intelligence tool allowing companies to compare voluntary standards to help them obtain the right certifications and make informed decisions to enter sustainable supply chains. Participants will receive tutorials on how to use the tool.

On 30 September, ITC will present its latest initiatives and research, as well as discuss changing perspectives on voluntary sustainability standards. These sessions will include interactive panels that highlight results from the 2016 edition of the ‘State of Sustainable Markets’ report, in addition to findings from a ground-breaking quantitative analysis of more than 180 voluntary sustainability standards.