Import Ref: 
38
Import Imported: 
1

On July 24, ICTSD will organise a dialogue on e-commerce and development to contribute to discussions on possible ways forward at the WTO towards the Eleventh Ministerial Conference (MC11) and beyond. The dialogue will be organised under the E15Initiative, jointly implemented by ICTSD and the World Economic Forum.

Considering the widespread recognition of the relevance of electronic commerce in international trade, this roundtable will focus on the associated commitments, benefits and potential deliverables WTO delegations have begun to look into in the run-up to MC11.

The economic and social impact of e-commerce transcends the classical divide between developed and developing countries. New business opportunities are created not just in developed markets but also, and perhaps mostly, in developing ones. E-commerce has democratised access to global markets, particularly for micro, small and medium enterprises and international trade is no longer the exclusive domain of large multinational corporations.

In the context of e-commerce, the landscape is composed of a number of proposals. Despite being diverse in scope and sophistication, they all find a shared horizon on MC11, and a significant degree of convergence can be observed on issues related to trade facilitation and institutional strengthening in the context of e-commerce rules.

Working towards the next Ministerial Conference will require both flexible thinking and ambition. Considering all perspectives, particularly the views of developing and least developed countries, could prove pivotal to the success of any initiative towards MC11. It is within this context that an approach to rulemaking designed around a development dimension could be explored while preserving the binding nature of multilateral trade rules.

This dialogue will look at the issue of development and rulemaking on e-commerce, having MC11 as a possible target, with experts and select WTO delegates examining and discussing the nature of e-commerce-related rules, their different subtypes, and their interaction with development driven aspects and challenges at the implementation stage. It will also focus on the implementation/compliance of e-commerce related rules, and possible elements to be considered in a quid pro quo scheme between compliance and development.

The meeting will follow on from the E15 Engagement Day on the WTO and MC11, held on 26 September 2016, as part of a series of dialogues to be organised over the course of the year to delve further into selected topics as they evolve.

Attendance to this event is by invitation only.

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Place: 
Geneva, Switzerland
Event type: 
Our events
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Region: 
Global
Main Tag: 
E15Initiative
programme: 
programme 1
Language: 
English
Date period: 
Monday, 24 July 2017 - 5:39pm

On 5 July, ICTSD and the World Economic Forum organised a workshop on “Facilitating Investment for Sustainable Development” as part of its 2016/2017 series of investment policy dialogues, with the support of the Government of the Netherlands. These dialogues follow on from the work of the E15 Initiative Task Force on Investment Policy, which paved the way for the discussions.

The dialogue aimed at using a bottom-up approach to trace the path towards simpler and sustainable investment. In so doing, it convened participants from various stakeholder groups, including government, civil society, business and international organisations, and was structured into four sessions:

1. Investment Facilitation for Sustainable Development in Practice, which drew on practical examples from national and international frameworks in both emerging and developing countries to identify best regional or national practices for investment facilitation. This session then presented the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation, and discussed which trade facilitation tools could be borrowed to facilitate investment.

2. Key Barriers to Sustainable Investment, which discussed the challenges to achieve regulatory transparency and predictability, streamlined and efficient administrative processes, and international cooperation, particularly in addressing developing country needs. This session also identified legal, regulatory, procedural and institutional barriers affecting all phases of the investment, from both the private sector and developing country perspective.

3. Setting Common Ground on Sustainable Investment Facilitation, which assessed the role of sustainability characteristics in addressing the qualitative side of Investment Facilitation, and attempted to reach a common understanding of what Investment Facilitation is and what it is not, as well as its benefits for developing countries.

4. Supporting Mechanisms to Advance Sustainable Investment Facilitation, which discussed how the facilitation of sustainable investment could take shape and be supported, and explored possible mechanisms to advance Investment Facilitation in light of the discussions held throughout the day.

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Place: 
Geneva, Switzerland
Event type: 
Our events
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Region: 
Global
Main Tag: 
E15Initiative
programme: 
programme 1
Language: 
English
Date period: 
Wednesday, 5 July 2017 - 5:36pm

On 27 June, ICTSD organised an informal roundtable dialogue on the topic of public stockholding for food security as part of the E15 Initiative engagement process. The E15 Initiative is jointly implemented by ICTSD and the World Economic Forum.

WTO members have agreed to negotiate a permanent solution on public stockholding programmes for food security purposes, for adoption by the WTO’s Eleventh Ministerial Conference in Buenos Aires this December. While some have suggested that the Bali ministerial decision on this topic serve as a starting point for these talks, the G-33 has argued that purchases at administered prices should be exempt from counting towards countries’ WTO commitments. At the same time, some other developing and developed countries remain concerned that food purchased at subsidised prices could adversely affect their own producers, in some cases potentially also undermining food security and rural employment.

This event looked at experience using the public stockholding decision since Bali, and explored possible options for a permanent solution in this area. The dialogue built on discussions in the E15 Engagement Day on the WTO and MC11, drawing on recent ICTSD research and developments in the policy environment, with a view to deepening understanding of possible outcomes for Buenos Aires and their likely implications for aspects of the sustainable development agenda.

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Place: 
Geneva, Switzerland
Event type: 
Our events
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Main Tag: 
E15Initiative
programme: 
programme 1
Language: 
English
Date period: 
Tuesday, 27 June 2017 - 11:36am

On 19 May, ICTSD organised an informal roundtable aimed at examining means to advance Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14.6 through fisheries subsidies disciplines in the WTO ahead of the 11th Ministerial Conference in Buenos Aires and beyond, with particular attention paid to subsidies to illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

Negotiations towards a possible agreement on fisheries are gaining momentum; several WTO Members have repeatedly highlighted this issue as a possible deliverable for the next ministerial conference. Recent proposals tabled in the WTO Rules Negotiating Group on fisheries subsidies include proposals for prohibiting subsidies provided to vessels and operators involved in IUU fishing. Some proposals suggest a general prohibition of all subsidies to IUU fishing as defined in the IPOA-IUU. For some, the prohibition should apply to any subsidy granted to a vessel or an operator identified in the IUU fishing list of the subsidising member or a regional fisheries management organisation (RFMO). The negotiations involve technical questions that require clarification, including how national and RFMO IUU vessel lists are constructed, what the exact scope of the prohibition should be and what type of technical assistance or transition periods might be needed.

This workshop aims to provide negotiators with a better understanding of these technical issues, starting with how IUU fishing is defined and then moving to the operational implications of potential disciplines, in particular how IUU activity could be identified and how a prohibition on subsidies to IUU fishing could be applied. The roundtable helped to build convergence by providing a neutral space for informal dialogue among leading WTO negotiators and selected fisheries experts on the specific challenges under discussion. Issues covered ranged from the definition of IUU fishing to how RFMO vessel lists are constructed and how a prohibition on subsidies to IUU fishing could be operationalised.

The meeting followed on from the E15 Engagement Day on the WTO and MC11, held on 26 September 2016, as part of a series of dialogues to be organised over the course of the year to delve further into selected topics as they evolve.

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Place: 
Geneva, Switzerland
Event type: 
Our events
Image: 
Promote to homepage: 
No
Region: 
Global
Main Tag: 
E15Initiative
programme: 
programme 1
Language: 
English
Date period: 
Friday, 19 May 2017 - 3:21pm

On 13 June, ICTSD organised an informal roundtable aimed at examining means to advance Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14.6 through fisheries subsidies disciplines in the WTO ahead of the 11th Ministerial Conference in Buenos Aires and beyond, with particular attention paid to subsidies and overfished stocks. This dialogue was organised as part of the E15 Initiative engagement process initiated in 2016 alongside the negotiations to address knowledge gaps arising from the talks.

Several recent proposals on fisheries subsidies tabled in the WTO Rules Negotiating Group include the idea of prohibiting subsidies that have a negative effect on stocks that are already overfished. Discussions on the idea have led to a range of questions related to the potential scope of such a prohibition, how overfished stocks would be identified and how such a prohibition would be applied.

This roundtable sought to build convergence by providing a neutral space for informal dialogue among leading WTO negotiators and selected fisheries experts on the specific challenges under discussion. Issues covered included the current information available at a global level on the state of fish stocks, the role of national and regional bodies in assessing fish stocks, and how the disciplines could address specific challenges like data-poor fisheries and by-catch in fisheries.

The meeting followed on from the E15 Engagement Day on the WTO and MC11, held on 26 September 2016, as part of a series of dialogues to be organised over the course of the year to delve further into selected topics as they evolve.

Undefined
Place: 
Geneva, Switzerland
Event type: 
Our events
Image: 
Promote to homepage: 
No
Main Tag: 
E15Initiative
programme: 
programme 1
Language: 
English
Date period: 
Tuesday, 13 June 2017 - 3:05pm

On 2 June, the fourth dialogue on the trajectory of investment for sustainable development, following on from the E15 Initiative, was jointly organised by ICTSD and the World Economic Forum with the support of the Government of the Netherlands.

The dialogue aims to deepen discussions on clarifying the linkages between investment and sustainable development by developing an indicative list of sustainability-oriented attributes most often sought after when facilitating cross-border investment flows.

Such an indicative list of characteristics could benefit negotiators of international investment agreements seeking to take sustainability considerations into account when negotiating such treaties; host country governments and investment promotion agencies seeking to attract sustainable foreign direct investment (FDI); home country governments supporting their firms to investment abroad; arbitrators in international investment disputes seeking to account for the development impact of investment projects; and intergovernmental organisations seeking to develop their own guidelines to further the sustainable development impact of FDI, among a host of additional actors.

The objective of the dialogue is to examine the rationale for developing the list, by considering its use in light of recent changes within the global political and business landscape, and to review sustainability-oriented attributes most often mentioned in various international and domestic instruments dealing with multinational enterprises and FDI. Feedback was also given to mechanisms through which the sustainability characteristics can be promoted and aligned into formal political processes, including the WTO, the G20, G77, G33, and APEC, to name a few.

Should there be deeper international cooperation that may lead to a framework on investment facilitation, the characteristics could be integrated into the framework to provide guidance on what type of investments to prioritise when providing investment facilitation-related services.

Undefined
Place: 
Geneva, Switzerland
Event type: 
Our events
Image: 
Promote to homepage: 
No
Region: 
Global
Main Tag: 
E15Initiative
programme: 
programme 1
Language: 
English
Date period: 
Friday, 2 June 2017 - 4:48pm

On 12 June, ICTSD organised an informal roundtable on disciplining fossil fuel subsidies as part of the E15 Initiative, jointly implemented with the World Economic Forum. Discussions built on some of the options with respect to fossil fuel subsidies which emanated out of the expert-driven phase of the project in 2016.

Energy use is the biggest cause of climate change, accounting for two thirds of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. An energy transition is therefore necessary and pressing. Importantly, it will enable emission abatement while also spurring economic growth and development through improved energy security and access through renewable and sometimes off-grid sources of energy, not least in poor counties. 

In spite of this, policies to stimulate such a transition are lagging. In fact, not only are measures like carbon pricing making slow progress, but in addition all major economies continue to subsidise both the exploration and the use of fossil fuels, thereby undermining the prospects of a speedy energy transition. Even in poor countries, fossil fuel subsidies (FFS) are being used, often with the intention to support the poor populations, however mostly missing the target. 

There are tools available in the trade system to address this, which are currently not being fully utilised  notification of fossil fuel subsidies to the WTO under the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures is inadequate, the dispute settlement system has not yet provided any guidance, and any attempts to hold discussions about climate change in the WTO Committee on Trade and Environment (CTE) struggle to get off the ground. In addition to making use of these tools, the magnitude of the climate threat may be a reason to step up efforts and to sharpen trade rules. 

In order to make progress towards this end, it is necessary to build a solid technical and legal understanding about the trade-related options to addressing FFS, and to engage trade policymakers in an open and constructive dialogue. This workshop aims to provide negotiators with a better understanding of these technical issues and will help build convergence by providing a neutral space for informal dialogue among leading WTO negotiators and selected experts on the specific challenges under discussion. 

The meeting follows on from the E15 Engagement Day on the WTO and MC11, held on 26 September 2016, and forms part of a series of dialogues being organised over the course of the year to delve further into selected topics as they evolve.

Undefined
Place: 
Geneva, Switzerland
Event type: 
Our events
Image: 
Promote to homepage: 
No
Region: 
Global
Main Tag: 
E15Initiative
programme: 
programme 1
Language: 
English
Date period: 
Monday, 12 June 2017 - 10:42am