Actions for Sustainable and Inclusive Trade
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has scheduled the third UN Trade Forum on May 8 and 9, 2023. The forum aims to pinpoint trade policies that promote economic growth, address pressing global issues, and expedite the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
The upcoming UN Trade Forum will prioritise developing nations, which have borne the brunt of several crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ukrainian conflict, and the climate emergency.
These global challenges have disrupted international trade, especially in essential goods, and exposed the flaws and inequities of the trading system, according to UNCTAD Deputy Secretary-General Pedro Manuel Moreno.
However, Moreno emphasises that trade can still be a potent force for sustainable and inclusive growth. UNCTAD is committed to equipping policymakers with the necessary data and analysis to make informed decisions that promote fair trade growth and benefit everyone and the planet.
Over 100 policymakers, international organisation officials, trade experts, business leaders, and civil society representatives will gather online and in Geneva to deliberate on policies that promote more sustainable, resilient, and inclusive trading systems.
Discussions will cover various topics, such as the ocean economy's potential, enhancing trade preferences for developing countries, ensuring women's equal participation in e-commerce growth, and promoting sustainable practices among businesses and consumers.
The forum's outcomes and report will contribute to key global events like the Summit of the Future, the UN climate summit, and the WTO's ministerial conference.
During the two-day forum, UNCTAD will launch its Trade and Environment Review 2023, which highlights the vast opportunities presented by the ocean economy for developing countries to build more innovative and resilient economies while recovering from the current crises.
The ocean economy, which encompasses sectors such as fishing, shipping, offshore wind energy, and marine biotechnology, is valued between $3 trillion and $6 trillion and provides 150 million direct jobs.
However, climate change, pollution, and overfishing pose significant threats to marine resources and livelihoods. The forum will identify policies and initiatives that can help developing countries both harness and safeguard the ocean of opportunities.
The UN Trade Forum will also focus on the potential of the Global System of Trade Preferences (GSTP) among developing countries, with Brazil's recent ratification reigniting interest in the preferential trade agreement.
The GSTP, established by UNCTAD over three decades ago, aims to help developing countries increase trade among themselves and diversify and add value to their exports. Its 42 members represent a market of over $16 trillion and 20% of global merchandise imports.
The forum will showcase fresh research on how competition and consumer protection policies can promote sustainable practices. Also, a new UNCTAD study on e-commerce from a gender and development viewpoint will be presented, with a focus on policies required to ensure equal benefits of digital technologies and online trade growth for women and men.