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UN Trade Forum 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a health and economic crisis of tragic proportions for lives and livelihoods everywhere. It threatens to derail our aspirations for the world we want by 2030. Protecting lives while accelerating the recovery process has become the world’s priority. 

Enhancing global trade is indispensable for the recovery from this crisis. Trade is a source of income, jobs and opportunities for women and men in developed and developing countries. The crisis has highlighted the fundamental role of trade in allowing goods and services to move from where they are efficiently produced to where they are needed. 

The crisis has exposed the fault lines of our development path, notably the one that depends on effective participation in just-in-time global supply chains. The crisis has also exacerbated the vulnerability and inequality present in our world. But COVID-19 is not the only crisis we face. A climate and environmental emergency threatens to compromise the progress we have achieved and the development prospects of future generations. Thus, a recovery is not enough. It must be green and inclusive, and trade and trade policy play a critical role in this process. 

Focus - How to make trade and trade policy foster a green and inclusive recovery?

With the COVID-19 crisis and the climate emergency negatively impacting the three dimensions of sustainable development (economic, social and environmental), what the world needs is a more coherent policy mix to protect the planet and ensure more inclusive development. Inevitably, this must include trade policy. However, designing a coherent policy mix is a challenge. Some policy tools may contribute to environmental sustainability but may appear protectionist, while some trade-enhancing economic policies may appear adversary to the progress of a green/blue economy. 

High-level segment - Towards a green and inclusive recovery: Trade after the crisis 

The high-level segment will discuss the lessons that could be drawn from the current crisis and the policy responses needed to make sure that trade can be key to a green recovery process. The panel will also address how to reduce trade tensions and strengthen multilateralism, ensuring that trade does not revert to a pre-crisis status quo. Speakers for this event will comprise leaders of international organizations, national ministers, regional commissioners and leading academics. 

Session I: The green side of trade policy, what can we do? 

This session will discuss the main national and multilateral trade elements needed to foster climate change action, and green and circular economy solutions. In particular, speakers will address how trade policies and rules can better support green development, and how the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities” and the need for trade-climate readiness can be mainstreamed within the trade system. 

Session II: Towards a more inclusive world, what can trade do? 

This session will address how policymakers can ensure trade contributes to inclusive recovery and how the gains from trade can reach the most vulnerable groups, including women, youth and migrant workers. Speakers will also discuss the preconditions for developing countries to benefit from the growing digital economy and how best to protect consumers in the digital era. 

17th RaĂșl Prebisch Lecture by Esther Duflo 

Since 1982, the RaĂșl Prebisch lectures have offered renowned intellectuals and heads of state a platform to address critical global issues. The 17th Lecture will given by Nobel Laureate Esther Duflo on 15th June 2021. Esther Duflo is the Abdul Latif Jameel Professor of Poverty Alleviation and Development Economics in the Department of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a co-founder and co-director of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL). In her research, she seeks to understand the economic lives of the poor, with the aim to help design and evaluate social policies. She has worked on health, education, financial inclusion, environment and governance. 

About the UN Trade Forum 

The UN Trade Forum was created as a space for dialogue on how trade can be harnessed for a more prosperous, inclusive and sustainable world. 

The 2019 forum focused on the topic of climate change and the SDGs, and included the participation of many prominent speakers, including: Mia Amor Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados; Allen Chastanet, Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, and Chairman of CARICOM; Hussain Rasheed Hassan, Minister of Environment, Ministry of Environment, Maldives; and Fekitamoeloa Katoa ‘Utoikamanu, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States.