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A compendium of UNCTAD partnerships with civil society and the private sector

Since its establishment by the General Assembly in 1964, UNCTAD has recognized the important role of civil society in its work. Civil society organizations bring fresh ideas, information and expertise to UNCTAD, as well as information about what is happening on the ground in developing countries. They also play an important advocacy role. At UNCTAD XIII, for example, they helped draw attention to current development challenges and urged that UNCTAD be strengthened in order to address them. UNCTAD therefore welcomes the opportunity to work with civil society (including non-governmental organizations, trade unions, academia and business associations), parliamentarians and the private sector on trade and development policy issues and concrete development-oriented projects. Formal and informal mechanisms have been set up to allow civil society, parliamentarians and the private sector to participate in and contribute to its programmes and activities. This compendium summarizes the different ways civil society, parliamentarians and private sector actors can engage in and contribute to UNCTAD work. It provides information on the opportunities that exist for this purpose and gives examples of specific partnerships and cooperation with UNCTAD.

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Making trade work for Least Developed Countries: a handbook on mainstreaming trade

Least developed countries (LDCs) have very high trade-to-GDP ratios, reflecting the fact that they are heavily dependent on trade. Over the past few decades, they have also embarked upon significant trade reforms. Although LDCs had relatively high economic growth during the past decade, unemployment, poverty, and inequality continue to be major development challenges in these countries. Against this backdrop, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) developed a project to strengthen the capacity of trade and planning ministries of selected LDCs to develop and implement trade strategies conducive to poverty reduction. The project was funded by the UN Development Account for the period 2013–2015 and had six LDCs as beneficiaries: Ethiopia, Lesotho, and Senegal in Africa, and Bhutan, Kiribati, and Lao PDR in Asia and the Pacific. As part of the project, national workshops on the trade policymaking and trade main-streaming experiences of the beneficiary countries were organized by UNCTAD in collaboration with the governments involved and partner organizations. Two regional workshops were also organized: one on Africa and one on Asia and the Pacific. This handbook is the outcome of the workshops and research conducted under the project. It draws lessons from the experiences of the six countries that participated and provides fresh insights on how to design and implement an effective trade strategy in LDCs. It also provides clarity on the concept of main-streaming trade and identifies criteria on how to measure success in this endeavour. The handbook should be useful to policymakers in developing countries, development analysts, academics, and students of development. In this regard, it is meant to be a guide to policy formulation and implementation in LDCs, with the understanding that its application will vary from country to country because of differences in economic structure, history, and social and political realities.

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Cocoa industry: integrating small farmers into the global value chain

This report contributes to research on the cocoa global value chain (GVC). It examines consolidation patterns in the cocoa industry and their potential impacts on stakeholders along the value chain, in particular small cocoa farmers who constitute the backbone of cocoa production worldwide. It also discusses these farmers’ integration into world cocoa markets, highlighting some critical issues they face. The report finally offers some policy recommendations which may help governments, the private sector, the international community and producers to foster the development of a sustainable cocoa economy by empowering farmers, consonant with the Global Cocoa Agenda adopted at the first World Cocoa Conference in Abidjan in 2012. The report should ultimately contribute to the debate on how to attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with their commitment to "leave no on behind", especially in cocoa farming communities.

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Sustainable fisheries: international trade, trade policy and regulatory issues

The expiry of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2015 and recent launch of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development includes a specific goal (Goal 14) on conserving and sustainably using oceans, seas and marine resources. This accord presents a new opportunity, but also some challenges for the international community to mobilise actions. These actions must be considered within the myriad of fishing-related instruments, including fisheries partnership agreements and trade agreements, so as to concretely and significantly arrest the ‘tragedy of commons’ in fish today and instead transform the situation into a ‘triumph of commons’ for fish in the future.

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Trade facilitation in the occupied Palestinian territory: restrictions and limitations

Despite the fact that Israeli procedures and trade impediments hamper efforts to create tangible changes on the ground, the study argues that a number of measures, if implemented, could boost Palestinian trade and revitalize the economy in the short term. Hence, this paper also identifies and critically examines some of these measures. One possibility, among many, is to seek and use donor aid to mitigate the constraints of the occupation. For instance, the improvement of trade conditions at King Hussein Bridge (KHB), including the need to process containerized shipments, would be a key element in facilitating Palestinian trade. In this regard, the introduction of the gantry scanner that was proposed by the Government of Netherlands (GoN) at KHB could boost Palestinian trade. For Palestinian shippers, the gantry scanner is intended to encourage the efficient movement of goods by eliminating the back-to-back process for moving goods (a costly, tedious process of unloading and reloading pallets for manual inspection), reducing damage to goods, allowing for the effective transportation of refrigerated and perishable items, enabling better packing of shipments in terms of the diversity and quantity of goods, and reducing transportation time and other costs.

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Facilitating BioTrade in a challenging access and benefit sharing environment

Legal uncertainty, lack of clarity and administrative inaction are not a good recipe to facilitate sustainable biodiversity businesses. With the entering into force of the CBD Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization, there is a new opportunity to improve the synergies for access to genetic resources and benefit sharing (ABS) in the context of BioTrade, and in turn contribute to legal certainty on this particularly important matter in regards to sustainable use of biodiversity. Though historically BioTrade has moved in the realm of sustainable biodiversity businesses, particularly with biological resources and certain ecosystem services, questions remain regarding when and how genetic resources become part of BioTrade and most importantly, whether ABS policy and legal frameworks are applicable or not. Implementing the Nagoya Protocol in regards to BioTrade will require guidance as to how BioTrade and ABS positively interact and generate complementarity. When and how ABS requirements may be applicable to BioTrade is key to creating the enabling policy and regulatory environments. This scoping study offers an overview of some of the key issues and connections between BioTrade and ABS under the framework of the Nagoya Protocol, the challenges faced by interested actors and suggestions of ways to address them, including in terms of interpretation, implementing policies and legal reforms. Examples, figures and case studies are used to clarify some of the points raised and suggestions on the way forward.

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Trade policy framework: Angola

The study examines Angola’s participation in international trade and its existing trade policy, and seeks to recommend some areas of policy changes that may help the Government to improve its trade performance and bring about inclusive development. As regards merchandise trade, the study identifies several sectors that could be usefully explored for the country’s export diversification efforts, particularly through accelerated agro-based industries development. These include coffee, tea, fruits, fruit juice, vegetables, maize, cassava, sugar cane, cotton, floriculture, sawdust briquettes, fisheries, palm oil and natural rubber. Other recommendations centre on improving capacities with supportive services infrastructures, and regulatory and institutional framework, improving and strengthening trade related fundamentals. As regards services trade, the study identifies some key services sectors in which reforms and improvement in the supply side would be necessary to boost trade. These include the energy, financial, construction, tourism, telecommunications and transport services. For example, it calls for improved quality of transportation and increased supply of road cargo transportation. For telecommunications services, it calls for raising funds to create a broadband infrastructure in order to connect all urban and rural geographic regions of the country and establish connections with the regional infrastructures supporting the development of telecommunications. For tourism services, it calls for development of the Angolan tourism services through quality products, incorporating the regional, cultural and natural diversity and to stimulate and facilitate the consumption of Angolan tourism products in the national, intraregional and international market.

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Trade policy framework: Zambia

This paper sets out Zambia’s existing trade policy framework and identifies areas of possible reform and options for maximizing the contribution of trade to inclusive growth and sustainable development. It contains a review of the macroeconomic and trade performance of the economy between 1995 and 2013. It discusses the current trade policies and institutions so as to identify the major opportunities and challenges inherent in the Zambian economy and outlines the options for enhancing Zambia’s trade and sustainable real growth in the economy. Following a review of Zambia’s trade performance and the current tariff structure, the framework recommends a strategic trade policy calibrated to support industrial sector interests. Tariff-setting is an essential component of improving Zambia’s trade performance but is not the sole determinant. Other factors play a critical role in preventing the country from increasing its exports and ultimately the creation of employment, increased incomes and reduction of poverty, such as the cost of doing business and high trade costs. The framework sets out the principles, approaches and key elements that should shape Zambia’s strategy for integration into the global economy. Recognizing the growing complexity of trade policy in a rapidly changing global environment, the framework offers an agenda for future work on trade policy by outlining a number of recommendations.

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Training manual on developing joint BioTrade and REDD+ projects

The present training manual is intended to support the development and implementation of joint BioTrade and REDD+ projects in order to maximize benefits and synergies. It includes a step-by-step project methodology that has been specifically designed for project proponents and developers. The manual also provides policy advisers and other interested stakeholders with key concepts and practical considerations on BioTrade and REDD+, the synergies between the two approaches and the potential for combining them. The content of the manual draws on the experience of the UNCTAD BioTrade Initiative in promoting trade and investment in biological resources to further sustainable development. It also integrates Forests Alive’s experience in developing REDD+ projects. Finally, the manual builds on the findings of the project “Strengthening the capacity of policymakers and business leaders in three BioTrade beneficiary countries [Brazil, Colombia and Ecuador] in integrating REDD+ projects into BioTrade strategies” which was formulated and implemented by UNCTAD between 2010 and 2012 under the United Nations Development Account programme.

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Creative economy outlook and country profiles: trends in international trade in creative industries

International trade in creative industries showed sustained growth in the last decade. The global market for traded creative goods and services totalled a record $547billion in 2012, as compared to $302 billion in 2003. Exports from developing countries, led by Asian countries, were growing faster than exports from developed countries. Among developed country regions, Europe is the largest exporter of creative goods. In 2012, the top 5 creative goods exporters included Germany, France, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Belgium. Exports of creative goods from developed economies grew during the period 2003 to 2012, with export earnings rising from $134 billion to $197 billion. Among developing countries, China is the largest exporter of creative goods. In 2012, the top 5 exporters were China, Hong Kong, China, India, Turkey and South Korea. Exports of creative goods from developing economies grew during the period 2003 to 2012, with export earnings rising from $87 billion to $272 billion. Developing countries are playing an increasingly important role in international trade in creative industries. Creative industries are vibrant sectors of the global economy. Increasing demographics, better access to ICTs and dynamic shifts to new lifestyles associated with creative products and services, makes trade in these sectors a promising avenue for future growth.

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Farm support and trade rules: towards a new paradigm under the 2030 Agenda

After more than two decades from the conclusion of the Uruguay Round, producer support remains a structural, systemic issue in agriculture. Most importantly, the playing field is far from level, due to factual and formal discriminations across countries. The Doha Round, if concluded, would redress these imbalances but only partially. The “historic” Nairobi Package on agriculture, agreed at the 10th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in December 2015, eliminates agricultural export subsidies. But important distortions and imbalances in the area of domestic support would stay. In particular, the proposed Doha disciplines would not obstruct the main gate-ways through which producer support is channelled today. How then to move forward in this setting? Where to set limits to farm support policies, beyond the terms of the Doha Draft, and how to arbitrate trade-offs between “policy space” and “trade fairness”? Given the changed scenario, and given that agricultural production accounts for around 24 per cent of all human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, the way ahead requires a pragmatic and groundbreaking pathway. Trade rules in general and domestic support disciplines in particular are to be reorganized around sustainable development outcomes. The boundaries of the Green Box have to be redefined accordingly. This re-orientation is needed if trade policy is to fit into the new programmatic framework shaped by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, and the Paris Climate Change Conference. This paper elaborates on this move. It first briefly highlights the unfinished nature of trade policy reform under the Uruguay Round. It then moves on to consider the major limits of the proposed Doha disciplines on domestic support, as outlined in the Revised Daft Modalities for Agriculture of 6 December 2008 (hereafter, the Doha Draft). As a conclusion, it outlines options as to the way ahead.

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Exploring new trade frontiers: viewing the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement through an agriculture lens

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement brings together 12 countries: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, United States, and Vietnam. The deal spans three continents across the Pacific with members at diverse levels of current economic development. Together, TPP members account for 40 percent of global trade. The TPP trade agreement will be one of the most consequential trade agreements in twenty years, on par with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) or China’s entry to the World Trade Organization (WTO). Once the TPP has been fully implemented, nearly all of the tariffs will be at zero for all of the TPP members moving goods between markets in the agreement. Provisions of the TPP apply even to sensitive items like agriculture. The TPP could dramatically reconfigure supply chains in food and processed food items in ways that past trade agreements did not. The deep and broad commitments in the TPP sets up some interesting new dynamics. It is likely to exacerbate tensions in the global trading system that fall most acutely on the smallest, poorest states as companies increasingly “vote with their feet” and shift production, sales and services into TPP member markets and leave behind non-member markets in the region.

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Why geographical indications for Least Developed Countries?

Since 2010 UNCTAD is supporting selected LDCs rural communities in their efforts to promote traditional products through Geographical Indications (GIs). GIs are a trade-related intellectual property right under the WTO TRIPS Agreement. The link between the territory and the uniqueness of the product is the distinctive developmental nature of GIs with respect to other forms of TRIPs. Evidence from the market and literature shows that the promotion and protection of products under GIs may results in higher economics gains, fostering quality production and equitable distribution of profits for LDC rural communities. GIs encourage the preservation of biodiversity, traditional know-how and natural resources. Leveraging on biological and cultural diversification, the implementation of GIs may represent a unique opportunity to bring together the various players along the value chain supply, including producers, government authorities and researchers.

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Trade facilitation and development

Trade facilitation reforms improve a country’s trade competitiveness and the effectiveness of border agencies. In addition, they can directly help advance development goals such as strengthening governance and formalizing the informal sector. The present study identifies policies to help reap the full development-related benefits from trade facilitation reforms. UNCTAD research and experience with technical assistance programmes has shown that such reforms should be comprehensive and ambitious and advance the trade and development objectives of countries. Trade facilitation should be linked to investments in transport infrastructure, information and communications technologies and broader trade-supporting services. Since many trade facilitation challenges and solutions are regional, their implementation should be included in regional integration schemes. Given the linkages between trade facilitation reforms and implementation capacities, development partners need to ensure that their support does not leave out the most vulnerable economies, and should make full use of the promises and possibilities for technical and financial assistance provided for by the Agreement on Trade Facilitation of the World Trade Organization (WTO), reached in Bali, Indonesia in 2013.

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African Continental Free Trade Area: developing and strengthening regional value chains in agricultural commodities and processed food products

The African Union Assembly decided in 2012 during its 18th Ordinary Session to boost intra-African trade and to fast track the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA). This CFTA is expected to boost intra-African trade expansion, stimulate sustained economic growth and foster inclusive development. The CFTA is more than a free trade agreement. It is perceived as a platform that would facilitate a process of inclusive structural transformation of African countries, contributing to meeting Africa's 2063 Vision. In this process, the CFTA would also help Africa to make progress in implementing the 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals. The present study aims to enhance knowledge among policy-makers, experts and private sector on requisite policies and measures for fostering the development and strengthening of regional supply and value chains in agricultural commodities and processed food products. This would contribute to the development of intra-African trade in agricultural and food products including through the setting up and strengthening of regional agro-food supply chains.

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Trade and Environment Review 2016: fish trade

This review examines issues pertinent to the promotion of sustainable use of living marine resources in healthy oceans and seas, bringing together a collection of independent articles by 24 leading experts and practitioners on fish governance systems; fish harvest, production and consumption; unsustainable fishing practices; fish and marine ecosystems management; and fish trade. The Review provides a succinct diagnosis of some of the key challenges to be faced in addressing SDG 14, as well as novel suggestions and innovations to advance its implementation.

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Commodities and Development Report 2015: smallholder farmers and sustainable commodity development

The report highlights the range of constraints that smallholder farmers face in developing economies and specifically provides new analyses of the state of their integration into the global economy. It underlines that smallholder farmers are both victims of climate change and key actors in the achievement of a more inclusive and environmentally friendly development path. The report argues for specific measures at the national, regional and global levels, including in international trade and investment agreements, for unleashing the full business potential of smallholders. It showcases good policy practices, including the role of strong political leadership in reversing the policy neglect that small farmers have suffered from. "Business as usual" is not an option if the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is to be achieved. In light of this, the report calls for greater resources to be devoted to supporting smallholders. And finally, the report also urges for the establishment of an accountability mechanism for monitoring progress on key commitments related to smallholders on trade, investment, finance and technology.

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Review of maritime transport 2016

The present edition of the 'Review of Maritime Transport' takes the view that the long-term growth prospects for seaborne trade and maritime businesses are positive. There are ample opportunities for developing countries to generate income and employment and help promote foreign trade.

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The Least Developed Countries Report 2016

Graduation is the process through which a country ceases to be an LDC, having in principle overcome the structural handicaps that warrant special support from the international community, beyond that generally granted to other developing countries. However, the Report argues that it should be regarded, not as a winning post, but rather as a milestone in a country's long-term economic and social development. Thus, the focus should not be on graduation itself, but rather on "graduation with momentum", which will lay the foundations for long-term development and allow potential pitfalls to be avoided far beyond the country's exit from the LDC category. Structural transformation, the importance of which is explicitly recognized in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, plays a fundamental role in this process. While there are numerous international support measures (ISMs) for LDCs, their contribution towards graduation is undermined to varying degrees by vague formulation, non-enforceability of commitments, insufficient funding, slow operationalization and exogenous developments in international trade and finance. Their effectiveness also depends critically on the institutional capacities of each LDC to leverage them in support of its own development agenda. The Report highlights the need for LDCs to move from graduation strategies focused on qualification for graduation to "graduation-plus" strategies that take a long-term perspective and foster structural transformation. It also shows the need for better and more effective ISMs, as well as a more stable and development-oriented international environment.

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Trade and Development Report (TDR) 2016: structural transformation for inclusive and sustained growth

This report reviews recent trends in the global economy and focuses on the policies needed to foster structural transformation. It identifies some of the critical issues to be addressed in order to set in place structural transformation processes.

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Trade and health: towards building a national strategy

Globalization and the rise of international trade of goods and services in terms of volume and speed influence human health. This influence can be both positive and negative. Our work on “trade and health” is all about harnessing and maximizing opportunities to promote public health and minimizing the risks and threats.

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Initiating the multi-stakeholder joint programme on violence against women

This compendium documents the key processes involved in initiating multi-stakeholder joint programming on violence against women. It culls interim lessons from 10 pilot countries. The report provides a pragmatic overview of using joint programming as an approach to maximize results and sustainability. It provides guidance for in-country stakeholders (UNCTs, government and civil society) that are commencing similar multi-stakeholder joint programmes in countries globally. It includes step-by-step guidance on components of successful joint programming, from conducting baseline assessments to final monitoring and evaluation.

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Implementing comprehensive HIV and STI programmes with transgender people: practical guidance for collaborative interventions

This tool contains practical advice on implementing HIV and sexually transmitted infection (STI) programmes with transgender people. Topics covered include community empowerment and human rights, addressing violence, stigma and discrimination and delivering trans-competent services, especially for HIV and STI prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care. The tool also covers community-led outreach, safe spaces and the use of information and communications technology in programming, and it offers strategies for managing programmes and building the capacity of trans-led organizations. It contains examples of good practices from around the world that can be used to support efforts to plan programmes and services with trans people. The tool is designed for use by public-health officials, managers of HIV and STI programmes, NGOs – including community and civil-society organizations – and health workers. It may also be of interest to international funding agencies, health policy-makers and advocates.

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Realizing the faith dividend: religion, gender, peace and security in Agenda 2030

The UN Secretary General is on record as ​speaking to the importance of faith-based organizations in the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals, noting that ​they​ have a role to play​ in ​his​ policy of developing transformative multi-stakeholder partnerships over the coming five years.​ UNFPA is one of the oldest UN specialised agencies to engage with faith-based actors, convening them at the national, regional and global levels, since the Millennium. ​In 2010, UNFPA co-founded and chaired the UN Inter-Agency Task Force on Engaging with Faith-Based actors. Since then, this UN Task Force has annually convened these faith-based partners for a series of policy dialogues, together with donor governments, academics, development and humanitarian specialists from diverse regions and religions, around diverse human rights, development and peace and security-related issues. This report focuses on the role of religious actors, and religious considerations in the SDG agenda, particularly as they pertain to gender equality, peaceful coexistence and security considerations. The perspectives, ideas and initiatives discussed in these pages bring together experiences and policy analysis shared from the different realities of donors, UN agencies and Faith-Based NGOs. The richness of these narratives both build on and inform current policy formulations which are required at a time when religion is often seen too flippantly as a 'problem' by secular institutions which also have a legacy of partnerships as yet under appreciated.

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Establishing a workable follow-up and review process for the Sustainable Development Goals

The Open Working Group document proposes that governments will set its own national targets. They will be guided by the global level of ambition but taking into account national circumstances. To make the Post-2015 agenda actionable, much more thought needs to be given to the process of target-setting, different actors’ responsibilities, implementation and accountability.

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