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WTO to host first Trade for Peace Week

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In announcing the Trade for Peace Week, Deputy Director-General Alan Wolff noted: “The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognizes international trade as an engine for inclusive economic growth and poverty reduction that contributes to the promotion of sustainable development. This in turn can facilitate building and maintaining peace. The connection between trade and peace is the raison d’être for the creation of the rules-based multilateral trading system that led to economic recovery and prosperity after the devastation from World War II.”  

Currently, 23 countries are in the process of joining the WTO, and over a half of them suffer from a fragile situation from years of conflicts. Launched in 2017, the Trade for Peace initiative aims to assist fragile and conflict-affected (FCA) countries through WTO accession, with the emphasis on institution building based on the principles of non-discrimination, predictability, transparency and the rule of law. Based on experiences of former FAC countries, WTO accession can help set the conditions to move out of a state of fragility or conflict into a state of stability, economic well-being and peace.

The first edition of the Trade for Peace Week will bring together officials from the WTO community, international partners involved in peacebuilding, the private sector and academia. Building on earlier activities organized by the WTO Secretariat, this week-long event is aimed at deepening the conversation on the linkages between trade and peace and identifying areas of collaboration between the trade and peace communities, especially in FCA countries in accession.

Each session is organized in collaboration with a partner with distinct expertise and experience which can make a unique contribution to the trade for peace debate. A broad range of topics relevant to trade and peace are covered, including the use of technology, the role of business, empirical work, job creation, and challenges in the times of COVID-19. Some sessions will have a special focus on countries or a region involved in WTO accession, such as Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Yemen and the Horn of Africa.

The week will kick off with a panel discussion on “Tech in Trade for Peace”, organized in collaboration with the United Nations Technology Bank, on Monday 30 October at 12:30 (CET). This will be followed by an official opening session with high-level representatives of the WTO and the peace community at 15:30 (CET).

The full Trade for Peace Week programme is available here.

All sessions will be held in the Zoom platform and are open to the public. Registration is required.

Background

The Trade for Peace through WTO Accessions initiative was launched by the WTO Secretariat after being inspired by the establishment of the g7+ WTO Accessions Group by fragile and conflict-affected least developed countries (LDCs) associated with accession, which met on the margins of the 11th WTO Ministerial Conference in Buenos Aires in December 2017. The Group consists of six acceding LDCs (Comoros, Sao Tomé and Principe, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Timor-Leste) and three recently acceded LDCs (Afghanistan, Liberia and Yemen).

In addition to those in the g7+ WTO Accessions Group, there are other FCA countries which are in the process of accession, such as Iraq, Lebanon, Libya and Syria.

The Trade for Peace initiative is aimed at assisting all FCA countries to use trade and economic integration as a tool to rebuild their fragile economies and to promote sustainable and inclusive peace.

For more information on the Trade for Peace Initiative, see here.

For more information on WTO accessions, see here.

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