Import Ref: 
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Import Imported: 
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Climate action has been recognized as an overarching priority of the international community in the Paris Agreement of the UNFCCC as well as in the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The recent decision of the United States to withdraw from the Paris Agreement seems to have strengthened the resolve of other signatories of the agreement to fulfill their commitments. At the same time, it has enhanced the need to strengthen international responses to climate action through all possible means.

Trade policy is one area which could make a difference for climate action. To begin with, trade is vital for ensuring that clean energy technologies are available on a global level, in particular as manufacturing remains largely concentrated in a few producer countries. In a similar vein, carefully designed trade policies could help ensure that products with a low emissions intensity are available globally. Moreover, the trade system must be supportive, and not stand in the way, for countries' responses to climate change, be it carbon pricing, energy efficiency standards or labels. At the same time, it must be acknowledged that there are also possible tensions between trade and climate change - one country’s efforts to stem emissions may reduce demand for imports from another country, or affect the competitiveness of its own firms compared to industries in other countries.

In order to ensure that trade is enabled to play a role which facilitates and scales up climate action, while acknowledging and addressing the possible tensions, ICTSD, together with the Chatham House, Climate Strategies and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, has taken a fresh look at the intersection between trade, climate and clean energy under the joint ICTSD-World Economic Forum's E15 initiative. This session will present a selection of the findings from that effort and discuss policy options for decision makers in trade, investment and climate change in the context of the post-Paris world. 

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Place: 
Brussels, Belgium
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Global Rules for Mutually Supportive and Reinforcing Trade and Climate Regimes
programme: 
programme 1
Language: 
English
Date period: 
Tuesday, 10 October 2017 - 9:00am

In addition to being environmentally harmful, fossil fuel subsidies depress growth, reinforce inequality, add to health hazards caused by air pollution and slow down the energy transition. The need to reform and ultimately phase out these harmful subsidies is thus urgent.

In spite of pledges made by the world’s largest economies at the G20 and under the universal Sustainable Development Goals to phase out fossil fuel subsidies, countries around the world continue to use them widely. With its binding nature and effective enforcement mechanism, the WTO could have a unique role to play to effectively discipline their use.

Lessons for how to do this could for instance be drawn from the fisheries negotiations and from the Agreement on Agriculture. The WTO fisheries negotiations may serve as a good example, both with respect to how to place a sustainability issue at the top of the global trade agenda, and to the technical level in the development of concrete options to discipline harmful subsidies.

The Agreement on Agriculture, on the other hand, may provide particularly useful insights with regard to its ex-ante classification of subsidies based on their presumed impact. Such an approach would not only help restrict fossil fuel subsidies but also provide incentives to move towards cleaner energy sources by providing a safe harbour for clean energy support.

This workshop, implemented in cooperation with the World Economic Forum, will discuss these and other options for how to curb fossil fuel subsidies through the WTO, including through possible actions at MC11. Discussions will be informed by brief expert presentations.

The meeting follows on from previous E15 workshops on disciplining fossil fuel subsidies, and forms part of a series of E15 dialogues on different topics being organised over the course of the year. Participation is by invitation only.

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Place: 
Geneva, Switzerland
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The WTO subsidies agreement can be changed to discipline fossil fuel subsidiesPhasing out fossil fuel subsidies in the G20: From Pittsburgh to Hamburg and beyondClimate Change and Clean Energy in the 2030 Agenda: What Role for the Trade System?Global Rules for Mutually Supportive and Reinforcing Trade and Climate RegimesSubsidies, Clean Energy, and Climate ChangeSecuring Policy Space for Clean Energy under the SCM Agreement: Alternative Approaches
Main Tag: 
Event
programme: 
programme 1
Language: 
English
Date period: 
Friday, 29 September 2017 - 9:00am

This E15 dialogue was designed to bring together Geneva-based trade delegates, ambassadors, and representatives of trade-related international organisations to discuss how a development dimension could be vital to advancing multilateral negotiations on e-commerce.

To this end, the dialogue focused on further understanding the existing proposals at the World Trade Organization, in particular, by identifying areas of convergence and debating on how a development dimension could be introduced into a multilateral process.

Both developing and developed country representatives actively engaged in the discussions, and were able to provide all attendees with a much clearer picture of their expectations and ambitions towards the upcoming WTO’s Eleventh Ministerial Conference and beyond.

Participants acknowledged the importance of e-commerce and its impact on development. Further, developing and least developed country representatives highlighted the need to narrow down their knowledge gap as a preparatory step towards the initiation of an e-commerce debate at the WTO. In addition, there was some discussion on the procedural aspects of a possible negotiation at the WTO, including the definition of the appropriate forum and the requirement of a specific mandate. Finally, there was an interesting debate around the development principles governing the Trade Facilitation Agreement and how they could be applied to e-commerce. In particular, exploring a quid pro quo between obligations/commitments and capacity building and technical assistance.

Given the level of engagement and considering the proximity of the next WTO Ministerial Conference, follow-up discussions that focused on possible concrete options/alternatives for the incorporation of a development dimension into an e-commerce discussion were welcomed. 

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 intended to delve further into selected topics as they evolve.

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Place: 
Geneva, Switzerland
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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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No
Main Tag: 
E15Initiative
programme: 
programme 1
Language: 
English
Date period: 
Tuesday, 27 June 2017 - 11:36am