Twenty-five years of experience in “access to genetic resources” and “the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from their utilization” (ABS) demonstrate that a system based on bilateral contracts is neither efficient nor equitable. Its extension to the Global Multilateral Benefit-Sharing Mechanism (GMBSM) (Article 10 of the Nagoya Protocol) is debated. 

An economic approach to ABS justifies “bounded openness” as the modality of the GMBSM, whereby the meaning ascribed to “genetic resources” is “natural information.” Seen thus, the discussion on “digital sequence information” (DSI) is obviated while the “-omics” disciplines fall within scope. Indeed, sequences are just one type of natural information and digitization, one means of communication.  

This side-event will take place during the Fourteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Sharm el-Sheikh. The meeting aims to take stock of experience with establishing policy and international cooperation frameworks to ensure fair and equitable access and benefit sharing in using genetic resources, promoting discussion around an economically feasible approach and weighing up various issues surrounding “bounded openness over natural information” from economic, legal and scientific perspectives. 

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Place: 
Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt
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Global
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Date period: 
Monday, 26 November 2018 - 6:15pm to 7:45pm

A meaningful WTO agreement on fisheries subsidies could make a critical contribution to the realisation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and help move global fisheries in a more sustainable direction. After several negotiation sessions in the first half of 2018, WTO negotiations on fisheries subsidies have entered a new phase in September 2018, with delegations engaging in a more informal idea-generating mode in “incubator groups” between formal sessions.

Ahead of the third meeting of these incubator groups, this seminar aims to provide negotiators with creative ideas they could advance in this new phase of negotiations, with a view to helping move the negotiating process forward. It will give them the opportunity to reflect on key issues in the negotiations with the benefit of input from experts and discuss potential approaches and options in an informal and neutral space. The third of a series of seminars, this event will focus on some of the fundamental questions that will need to be answered by WTO members in crafting disciplines on illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

This dialogue is part of the ICTSD initiative "WTO: Paths Forward". Building on the outcomes of MC11 in Buenos Aires, this initiative will provide a platform to exchange perspectives and in-depth analysis on possible options for WTO-based processes going forward and into the 12th Ministerial Conference.

Participation in this event is by invitation only.

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Place: 
Geneva
Event type: 
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Theme: 
ENVIRONMENT
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Updates: 
Fisheries Subsidies Rules at the WTO: A Compilation of Evidence and AnalysisIssues and Options for Disciplines on Subsidies to Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing
Region: 
Global
Main Tag: 
Fisheries
Language: 
English
Date period: 
Thursday, 22 November 2018 - 2:30pm to 5:30pm

E-commerce discussions in Geneva, in regional capitals, and beyond are grappling with the challenges of formulating appropriate policy responses to the digital transformation of trade. The literature is clear, e-commerce has the potential to bring significant development benefits, but these will not be automatic. Moreover, significant gaps in capacity, capital and skills could imperil the equitable distribution of the benefits of digital transformation and prevent them reaching the world’s poor.

Moving from the theoretical to the practical is a challenge. The rise of the digital economy is marked by an increasing concentration of market shares, and a growing sense of tension between the public interests and the consolidation of big data based companies. Governments, particularly in the developing world, look at this situation with scepticism and wonder what is needed to evolve from takers to value creators.

This workshop will look at the relationship between e-commerce and development both from a policy and a trade negotiations perspective. In doing so, we will address questions around the nature of special and differential treatment and its evolution, the relevance of competition policy in the context of the digital economy, and the shaping of trade negotiations, particularly at the WTO.

Attendance to this event is by invitation only.

The context setting is done by Ricardo Meléndez-Ortiz, Chief Executive of ICTSD.

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Geneva, Switzerland
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Global
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Digital Economy
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This event is organised with the generous support of The Goverment of Finland....

Date period: 
Wednesday, 14 November 2018 - 9:15am to 5:30pm

This workshop, held in Glion, is part of the Informal Forum on Implementation of Article 6 of the Paris Agreement under the UNFCCC process. This workshop followed the resumed SBSTA 48 Session held in Bangkok. Article 6 negotiations are carried out under Agenda Item 11. A joint reflection note by the presiding officers of APA, SBSTA and SBI was produced after the resumed SBSTA 48 which outlines the progress made to date and identifies ways forward, inclduding textual proposals.

This workshop intersected SBSTA 48 and SBSTA 49 (COP24 in Katowice) and aims to create an informal atmosphere where the main objective is to explore, discover, explain and understand different points of view related to the issues in Article 6 of the Paris Agreement.

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Place: 
Glion, Switzerland
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Date period: 
Wednesday, 17 October 2018 - 9:00am to Thursday, 18 October 2018 - 5:00pm
Standards are the gatekeepers to participation in international trade, and in this role can replicate – or challenge – gender discrimination in countries around the world.
 
While there is preliminary evidence that Sanitary and Phytosanitary Standards (SPS) and technical barriers to trade (TBT) can be particularly challenging for women who own small businesses or who work towards compliance, relatively little is known about the standards-gender interface. On the one hand, the adoption of standards can transform value chains in a way that excludes women workers, but on the other it can spur ongoing changes to competitiveness that could increase the returns to women-led businesses. Technical assistance can and has worked with women who are key actors in improving quality for standards compliance, thereby promoting gender equity under Sustainable Development Goal 5 as well as inclusive economic transformation more broadly. Discussions have also inquired into the role and importance of the participation of women in standard setting. Trade policy-making at the WTO SPS and TBT committee can consider gender in the design of new measures, as well as their implementation, to ensure the measures attain their safety and technical objectives along with their sustainable development potential. 
 
This session explored opportunities to design and implement standards that support gender equity. Discussions explored the differentiated impact of standards on women and men, capacity building activities, women’s participation in standard setting, and opportunities in the SPS and TBT committees, and in technical assistance, to design and implement standards in a gender-sensitive way.
 
Main takeaways
 
• Standards can have gender-specific impacts because women producers lack the skills, resources and scale to comply and since standards may be designed for male end-users of products;
 
• Women’s limited participation in standard-setting, and the lack of comments relating to gender in the WTO SPS and TBT committees, reflects the fact that gender inequality is deeply rooted in societies around the world;
 
• There are opportunities for standard-setting bodies to be part of the solution to gender-based discrimination, including by helping firms, governments, and multilateral organizations measure gender and mandate activities to consider gender impacts;
 
• While more research into the gendered impacts of standards is welcome, the time is ripe for gender champions to lead the mainstreaming of gender considerations in SPS and TBT policymaking, including by building on best practice in other forums and issue-areas.
 
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WTO
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Global
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Gender
programme: 
programme 1
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English
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                     ...

Date period: 
Thursday, 1 November 2018 - 1:30pm to 3:00pm

In response to the Joint Statement on Investment Facilitation for Development at the MC11 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the resulting process, the WTO structured discussions on investment facilitation, is nearing the completion of its first year.

The aim of the dialogue is to take stock of the progress made during the structured discussions, juxtaposed to the objectives set out in the Joint Statement. Participants are invited to review the outcome, define the challenges and opportunities for the roadmap ahead, and to discuss the strategies that could be pursued to maintain the momentum towards MC12.

Participation is by invitation only.

This dialogue is a part of ICTSD’s WTO: Paths Forward initiative, a platform that provides the research, ideas and neutral spaces negotiators need to ensure the technical work required for a successful 12th WTO Ministerial Conference moves forward.

Ricardo Meléndez-Ortiz, Chief Executive of ICTSD, is the moderator.

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Geneva, Switzerland
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Global
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English
Date period: 
Thursday, 18 October 2018 - 8:30am to 10:30am

Data has intrinsic value as infrastructure in the new economy, where trade, supply chains and business operations are enabled by the ability to move data globally. 

In December 2017, a group of members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) agreed to a Joint Statement on Electronic Commerce, effectively opening a path towards a WTO-based open plurilateral negotiation. Since then, these discussions have atttracted the attention of of approximately ninety WTO delegations who have been attending regular work meetings throughout the first semester of 2018. 

As those discussions move into the second half of the year, delegations are looking forward to step up the game by holding text-based member driven thematic discussions, where positions and sensibilities are more clearly reflected and articulated.

In this context, ICTSD has taken the challenge of addressing the important topic of data flows and localisation requirements from both a policy and international rulemaking perspectives. The objective is to provide delegations and policy makers with a set of possible options for tackling this key issue within in the context of the plurilateral discussions.

WTO: Paths Forward is an ICTSD initiative that provides the research, ideas and neutral spaces negotiators need to ensure the technical work required for a successful 12th WTO Ministerial Conference moves forward.

Attendance to this event is by invitation only.

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Geneva, Switzerland
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Global
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Date period: 
Monday, 22 October 2018 - 8:45am

This seminar provided an opportunity for WTO negotiators to reflect on inputs from experts and engage in informal dialogue around some of the fundamental legal questions that will need to be answered by WTO members in shaping an agreement on fisheries subsidies and crafting disciplines on overfished stocks.

In particular, presentations examined the structure and functioning of the WTO’s Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures (ASCM) and considered options and issues with regard to the legal form of a possible WTO agreement on fisheries subsidies, including regarding its relationship with the ASCM. A key question in the discussions was how the agreement would be interpreted and applied in practice, in particular in terms of the potential remedies that could be used by successful complainants to induce compliance from other members. The need for additional dialogue on these questions was also underlined.

The event also addressed specific questions related to the possible prohibition of subsidies to the fishing of stocks that are in an overfished condition. Presentations shed light on the implications of various options in the current negotiating text for assessing whether a stock is overfished, including regarding who should be able to make such assessments and on the basis of what type of scientific evidence. They also examined relevant precedents in WTO law and jurisprudence regarding deference to national or regional decisions/determinations outside of the WTO, highlighting how such examples could inform WTO negotiations on fisheries subsidies.

Main takeaways

  • Data collected by other international organisations, and in particular the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, could be particularly useful for the notification and monitoring process of a possible WTO agreement on fisheries subsidies.
  • Key considerations that WTO members need to take into account when addressing transparency and notification requirements in WTO rules include the scope of notifications, their timing, potential sanctions or incentives, as well as technical assistance and capacity-building.

The event built on previous ICTSD dialogues and research on these topics, in particular ICTSD’s recent publication Fisheries Subsidies Rules at the WTO: A Compilation of Evidence and Analysis and the policy brief Building Comprehensive and Effective WTO Rules on Fisheries Subsidies.

The meeting is part of the first set of dialogues of the ICTSD initiative WTO: Paths Forward. Building on the outcomes of the 11th Ministerial Conference in Buenos Aires, this initiative will provide a platform to exchange perspectives and in-depth analysis on possible options for WTO-based processes going forward and into the 12th Ministerial Conference.

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Place: 
Geneva
Event type: 
Our events
Theme: 
ENVIRONMENT
Image: 
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No
Updates: 
Fisheries Subsidies Rules at the WTO: A Compilation of Evidence and AnalysisOptions for the Legal Form of a WTO Agreement on Fisheries SubsidiesAdvancing Multilateral Trade Negotiations on Fisheries Subsidies
Region: 
Global
Main Tag: 
Fisheries
Language: 
English
Date period: 
Thursday, 25 October 2018 - 2:30pm to 5:30pm

New technologies and their applications drive profound industrial and societal reorganization. Despite improved efficiency and aggregated enormous wealth associated with certain economic structure and business models as enabled by technologies, a constant issue has always been proper policy responses in dealing with negative externalities, including the alarming gap between rich and poor. Dramatic social reactions against trade and globalization are a good testimony of this kind of policy failure.

With the advent of disruptive technologies, rapid applications of foundational technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), and distributed ledger technologies (DLTs), will further alter the way industries operate and crash some fundamental concepts in existing trade policies. The challenge for the global trade community is keeping up with developments and harnessing the power of disruptive technologies and reflecting relevant adaptations in future trade rule-making and negotiations agenda, with a view to among other things achieving sustainable development. A few countries and regional integration schemes are already experimenting on innovating in this regard.

During the session, the participants had an interactive interdisciplinary exchange on the application of disruptive technologies and related business models at company level in international trade, at government level in the context of trade policy formulation and implementation, and emerging collaboration and potential issues at international level. The discussion also focused on opportunities and challenges for new and the existing global trade and investment frameworks, directions of the next generation of global trade policy, and their implications on inclusiveness and environmental sustainability.  

Ricardo Meléndez-Ortiz, Chief Executive of ICTSD, is the moderator.

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Place: 
Geneva, Switzerland
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Region: 
Global
Main Tag: 
Technology
Language: 
English
Date period: 
Wednesday, 3 October 2018 - 8:00am to 9:45am

On September 14th, gathering at the G20 Trade and Investment Ministerial meeting in Mar del Plata, WTO members representing 75 percent of world trade recognised “the urgent need to discuss current events in international trade and ways to improve the WTO to face current and future challenges.”

In their joint statement, ministers agreed to encourage “all G20 Members individually and with other interested parties to continue to come forward with ideas to ensure that the WTO continues to be relevant.” Against this backdrop, ICTSD hosted an open dialogue on WTO modernisation alongside the 2018 WTO Public Forum.

The objective of the dialogue was to encourage policymakers and experts to find new paths forward to strengthen and improve the multilateral trading system, and to do so by building on the extensive work carried out by ICTSD, the E15 Initiative, and many others in recent years. As one of a series of activities, this dialogue followed an format that encouraged an active exchange of ideas to address both current trade tensions and long-term systemic challenges.

The Chatham House rule applied to this dialogue to encourage open and frank discussions.

Ricardo Meléndez-Ortiz, Chief Executive of ICTSD, is the moderator.

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Place: 
Geneva
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Global
Main Tag: 
Event
programme: 
programme 1
Language: 
English
Date period: 
Monday, 1 October 2018 - 9:00am to 1:00pm