The UN's Post-2015 Development Agenda, scheduled to be agreed in September, will build on a set of Sustainable Development Goals and targets and the outcome of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development to be held in Addis in July 2015. Trade-related targets are mentioned in support of several of the goals, most notably on economic growth and employment, but trade also plays a critical role in achieving the SDGs more broadly, including the goal around eliminating poverty, food security, access to sustainable energy, infrastructure, and sustainable use of oceans and other natural resources etc. Trade is also an important element in financing for development as an engine for economic growth.
Targeting Aid for Trade in support of inclusive and sustainable growth will ensure policy coherence and reinforce the added value and impact of Aid for Trade. The objective of the event is to highlight the need for a coherent and comprehensive sustainable development approach to Aid-for-Trade strategizing and planning and to demonstrate ways in which Aid for Trade can support the achievement of the SDGs.
The session will open with a detailed mapping of the linkages between trade and the post-2015 development agenda and how trade could be brought into play in support of the SDGs. Using specific goals as the starting point, two specific projects from Africa and from the Pacific will demonstrate how aid for trade projects (on trade facilitation and infrastructure) contribute to food security and access to modern and affordable energy. Secondly, guidance and concrete examples on how aid for trade projects can be “screened” to ensure that they are sustainable from both an environment and a social perspective will be provided.
The session will be moderated by Mr Ricardo Melendez-Ortiz, Chief Executive of ICTSD.
Relative to merchandise goods, services have received less attention from economists and policymakers. This is starting to change. Recent initiatives have gathered services experts to discuss how trade policy can best promote the contribution of services to growth and development (ICTSD), or have provided capacity building support for LDC delegates regarding services challenges and negotiations (ITC). Increasingly, the potential of the services sector as a driver of economic growth in developing countries is being recognised. Additionally, services trade can play an important role for sustainable development, including poverty reduction and economic empowerment of women; key objectives in the UN's emerging Post-2015 Development Agenda.
A rapidly advancing body of research illustrates the point that in addition to customary market access barriers, issues such as network infrastructure and domestic regulation add significantly to trade costs for service suppliers. An important step to realizing the untapped potential of services was taken in February 2015 at the high-level meeting of the WTO Services Council to operationalise the LDC Services Waiver. The meeting sent a clear indication of the willingness of the trading partners of LDCs to provide preferences to LDC services and service suppliers. Against this backdrop, this session will highlight the opportunities for LDCs to penetrate commercial services markets by increasing supply side capacity and addressing barriers to services trade. Based on concrete examples, the session will focus on some of the key challenges faced by LDC-based companies and explore possible services trade facilitating solutions as well as support by investors and aid for trade to enable steady growth of services sectors and improve export performance of LDCs to advance sustainable development objectives.
Attending this event requires access to the WTO's Fifth Global Review of Aid for Trade. Register here.