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Posts Tagged ‘ITC’
On the heels of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) conference, which brought geeks galore to Geneva, to swap tales of tech advance and opine about policies and regulations on security, freedom of speech, access, band width, women and ITC, green ITC, and a host of other matters; our attention turned to the meetings of the Commission on Science and Technology for Development — the CSTD. The fifteenth session of the CSTD met from 21-25 May, to review and follow-up on progress made at the WSIS ( the outcomes document is available here ), to include a special focus on improvements to the Internet Governance Forum (CSTD meeting details are available here). Priorities of the CSTD were elaborated in two areas:
- Innovation, research, technology transfer for mutual advantage, entrepreneurship and collaborative development in the information society
- Open access, virtual science libraries, geospatial analysis and other complementary information and communications technology and science, technology, engineering and mathematics assets
We watched a parade of spokesmen and women expound on the achievements and progress of their countries — particularly in providing access to the internet, in moving toward universal cell phone coverage, and in promoting ITC technology for development in many areas, some quite innovative. The speed at which even the poorest of the least developed countries have advanced in these areas is at once staggering and impressive.
There is an elephant in the room, however, and it is called Governance. The less developed and emerging economies are calling for an international governmental organization, under the UN umbrella, to replace the current multistakeholder format of the Internet Governance Forum. The IGF they claim gives the large developed economies along with big business interests far too much say in Internet issues, and less developed and emerging economies too little. Wrapped up in this debate is wariness among the Western stakeholders that an international governmental approach would stymie Internet freedoms and innovation. In addition, the smaller nations say they are being left out when it comes to technological advances, which take too long to reach their level and at too great an expense. These issues are not to be resolved in any definitive way by the CSTD, to be sure, but the meetings of the Commission provide a useful review of WSIS outcomes and serve as a forum for the airing of concerns. And these can be and are taken up by the Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG) as it advises the Secretary General and host country (Azerbaijan this year) of the IGF on the programme and schedule of the Internet Governance Forum meetings.
From the CMBD News 29 May 2012
We had our first CMBD dialogue of the year on “Business in Development: Changing Concepts of Development and Linkages to the Private Sector” on Thursday, 23 February, marking the 5th Anniversary of the CMBD. We were honored to welcome a return visit with Dr. Supachai Panitchpakdi, Secretary-General of UNCTAD, who was our inaugural keynote speaker at the first CMBD event in February 2007, and has graciously shared his insights with us on frequent special occasions. We also benefited from a full programme of outstanding guests – Swedish Ambassador to the WTO Joakim Reiter, Director of the UNDP Geneva Office Cécile Molinier, WTO Deputy Director-General Valentine Rugwabiza, Director of the World Bank Group’s Geneva Office Selina Jackson and others from USAID, the German Mission, the Nigerian Mission, ITC, FAO and ILO. We were aided as well by a background briefing note on the Busan Partnership for Effective Development, business-inclusive initiatives at UNDP, the World Bank, and the WTO and in bilateral aid programmes. Participants discussed the challenges of bringing trade and development communities together, concentrating on the development-effectiveness of aid, multiple approaches to partnering with the private sector, the challenges of new donors, balancing markets with regulation, finding the right platform for business engagement in development, linking multinational enterprises with small and medium enterprises and smallholders, the role of government in facilitating distributive models, business as a key source of innovation, the success of ad hoc coalitions and learning how to shift from capacity-building to actual partnerships. We will pick up on these themes in future CMBD dialogues, including our planned visit to the OECD in April.
A seminar today in Geneva hosted by the International Trade Center, featuring keynote speaker Professor Deardorff of the University of Michigan, addresses growing concern over the apparent rise in the implementation of non-tariff barriers to trade as a means to protect domestic industry hit hard in the lingering aftermath of the crash of 2008/2009. Details are available here. As we reported earlier we have been following the online discussion forum underway to discuss the main theme of the WTO 2012 annual trade report, on non-tariff measures and services regulations as barriers to trade, and exploring the possibilities of some form of regulatory convergence or multi-layered governance structure. See that discussion here. While the descriptions and consequences of NTBs are well defined, progress in meeting the challenges has been fleeting. We look forward to an insightful discussion.
CMBD Perspectives — Patricia Francis inspires the trade ministers with the ITC’s embrace of building new branches with the private sectorWednesday, January 4th, 2012
In her capacity as Director of the International Trade Centre (ITC), Patricia Francis took the opportunity of her presence in the lineup for the Opening Plenary of the WTO 8th Ministerial Conference to deliver an inspirational speech on the reinventing of the ITC voice for stimulating economic development in LDCs. This new voice is dedicated to helping develop small export-oriented enterprises in the private sector, and especially of women-owned enterprises among the poorest in the worst slums of developing countries. We were impressed with her description of how the ITC has reinvented its mission to identify innovative ways for people in developing countries to “globalize” their modest skills, and to assist with capacity building to take advantage of new market opportunities. First, the ITC gathers data on trade statistics and markets and provides the data free to LDCs, with a focus on identifying supply and demand trends and new markets. (We note here that when CMBD members met with Ms. Francis a while back, the members asked about the availability of this data for their own use – which she confirmed could be provided for a fee to anyone outside of the LDCs. Members saw this as a valuable data source.) Second, the ITC supports private sector initiatives that respond to these global consumer preferences and expectations, making it possible for the poorest in the worst slums to build their skills and meet the standards of private labels, be they in biodiversity or clean energy or other specialty niches. Third, Ms. Francis notes that there are some especially prominent multinational enterprises who are rebalancing their global supply chains to link up with these emerging small and medium enterprises. She closed her remarks by describing how the ITC is looking to their next moves, serving as a catalyst for establishing new value zones in services or opportunities in the broadened arena of government procurement, thanks to the new Government Procurement Agreement that was being approved by trade ministers at the MC8. Her speech can be retrieved here.