Title: Empowering Small-scale Traders in Post-COVID West Africa
Organizer: Trade Facilitation West Africa Program (TFWA Program), World Bank Group, German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU)
Description: The COVID-19 pandemic has heightened obstacles for traders. Analysis conducted by the TFWA Program found that the COVID-19 pandemic greatly affected West African traders, especially women. These traders faced dramatic drops in demand for their products and were negatively affected by border closures and mobility restrictions. Additionally, being largely informal, many traders were left out from cash transfers and other relief measures introduced by West African governments. With a focus on COVID-19 and the post-COVID trade landscape, distinguished speakers will unpack the topic while providing insights on trade facilitation in West Africa. Specifically, the session will explore how we can protect traders from the short and long-term burdens triggered by the pandemic and how trade facilitation and policy reform can strengthen and increase opportunities for inclusive growth and economic empowerment.
Title: Youth Ecopreneurs – Innovating to Build Back Greener
Organizers: Permanent mission of Finland in Geneva, International Trade Centre (ITC)
Description: Today, humanity faces two major ongoing threats: the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change. Youth entrepreneurs can be a driving force to build back better, for a green and inclusive transition. To do so, they must be granted the resources, networks, and conditions to succeed. Without collaboration across the ecosystem, key roadblocks that youth encounter will be difficult to resolve. Challenges include access to resources and the regulatory and legal environment. Developing concrete solutions that empower youth to act, and which ensure they are crucial players in building the green economy of tomorrow is paramount. In this session, youth entrepreneurs in the green economy, policy makers and key support organisations will discuss how stakeholders must align to encourage and support green youth entrepreneurship. This session will close with speakers formulating a series of calls to action to build back better and advance the green transition with youth at the centre.
Title: Trade and Environment at MC12: How can Governments Work Together at the WTO to Support a Green and Fair Global Economy?
Organizer: Forum on Trade, Environment & the SDGs (TESS)
Description: The purpose of this session is to spur forward-looking discussion on what governments can do at the multilateral level to ensure trade and trade policy advance progress on shared environmental goals, the SDGs, and a green recovery. In particular, it aims to highlight the growing political focus on what specific environmental deliverables governments could pursue at the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference? Further, it aims to illustrate the interest of business and environmental stakeholders in this agenda and their support for stronger engagement of governments on this topic.
Title: Investment Facilitation for Development: Revitalizing Investment for COVID-19 Recovery
Organizer: German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE), International Trade Centre (ITC)
Description: WTO members face a huge challenge to tackle declining FDI flows as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since a fundamental component of the recovery will be to boost FDI, the significance of the negotiations of WTO members on an agreement on investment facilitation for development is crucial. A successful outcome of this Joint Statement Initiative, launched at the WTO Ministerial Conference in 2017, can contribute to revitalizing the global investment landscape through enhanced transparency and predictability, streamlined procedures, use of e-government services and strengthened international cooperation, with a view to advancing sustainable development. This session will look into how a reform agenda on investment facilitation for development can deliver positive results for developing and least-developed countries, and help countries recover from the pandemic and support sustainable development. The session will also focus on the importance of technical assistance and capacity development for developing and least developed countries.
Title: Services and Innovation: The Future is Digital
Organizer: Coalition of Services Industries (CSI)
Description: The panel will explore ways in which innovation policy issues intersect with trade policy especially regarding development and harmonization of standards as accelerators for digitally-enabled trade in services and cross-border data flows. In the digital age, adoption of international standards can accelerate the use of digital technologies at different stages of the supply chain, which in turn can increase the scope, speed and scale of trade. For businesses, especially SMEs, there is a need to reduce regulatory compliance costs and other constraints to firm flexibility including for rapid business model adaptation for the digital age. Interoperability of digital standards and regulations is becoming all the more important. Many chapters in recent FTAs are relevant: chapters on Technical Barriers to Trade, Regulatory Cooperation, E Commerce/Digital Trade and side letters encouraging collaborative work on digital standards or best practice regulation and interoperability on a variety of digital trust issues.