WTO rules must be revised if we are to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, says civil society

On Thursday, 29 September, at the WTO Public Forum, civil society speakers will argue for a change in WTO rules to achieve the SDGs. Speakers from the Third World Network, Southern and Eastern African Trade Information and Negotiations Institute (SEATINI), Uganda, International Trade Union Confederation, and LDC Watch will explain that in September 2015 governments agreed to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), but the SDGs cannot be achieved under existing WTO rules.

Trade is a linchpin of the SDG’s Means of Implementation and a pillar of the Financing for Development agreement (the Addis Ababa Action Agenda). This is the perfect time for governments to review the existing WTO agreements to ensure the rules allow for countries to achieve the SDGs, particularly for LDC and African countries at the margins of the global economy, and for farmers and workers producing for the domestic or global markets. Third World Network (TWN), India

How can trade help the LDCs to achieve the SDGs? Do current trade rules allow for inclusive participation by LDCs, or are other rules needed? What specific changes are needed in the existing trade regime to ensure that inclusive sustainable development can occur in African countries with gross inequalities?

How can SDGs for inclusive growth and participation in the labor markets be achieved in developing and developed countries? How should WTO rules change to adjust to the reality of global value chains (GVCs) and for sub-contracted workers?

What are the SDGs regarding agriculture, and how should WTO rules change to allow countries to achieve the food and agriculture-related SDGs, and eradicate hunger?

How are SDGs relating to access to quality public services including health care and education, and utilities such as water, electricity, and telecommunications and transportation best be served – by nationally-funded service providers, or by giving transnational service providers market access rights?

The event takes place at the WTO Public Forum, Room S2, on Thursday, September 29, 2016; from 17h00-18h30

Source: LDC News Service (09/27/2016)

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