Topic outline

  • Short Course

    Short Courses for Geneva-based Diplomats - 2022 series

    The UNCTAD secretariat is pleased to announce another series of short courses in 2022 on key international economic issues for delegates from permanent missions to the United Nations Office at Geneva and the World Trade Organization.

    The aim of the courses is to give delegates from permanent missions an opportunity to become better acquainted with topical issues and developments in the international economic agenda as they are reflected in the work of UNCTAD. More detailed information on the content of individual courses may be found below.

    In the second semester, three courses will be provided at Palais des Nations - on 15 September, 10 November, 13 December 2022 respectively. 

    The second semester in 2022 includes:

    • Thursday 15 September 2022, 10 a.m. (Room XXVI) - Trade Facilitation and Non-Tariff Measures
    • Thursday 10 November 2022, 10 a.m. (Room XXI) - Commodity dependence and recent events on commodity markets
    • Tuesday 13 December 2022, 10 a.m. (Room XVII) - Trade Facilitation and Development through Greater Digitalization and Enhanced Connectivity
  • Tuesday 13 December 2022, 10 a.m. - Trade Facilitation and Development through Greater Digitalization and Enhanced Connectivity

    Trade facilitation includes simplification, modernization and harmonization of export and import processes. It aims to ease the movement of goods across national borders as well as maximizing efficiency, while reducing related costs and delays. This requires standardization of documents and data, automation, data exchange, efficient risk management, and paperless procedures. This can be achieved through the digitalization of trade information and exchange of data among the key actors involved in the coordination of action and control. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for digitalization and connectivity, as detailed in the WCO’s Revised Kyoto Convention and the WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement, has become more pressing for developing countries. In this light, the course will discuss the reasons for digitalization and connectivity among Partner Governmental Agencies, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic. It will also present the solutions developed by the ASYCUDA Programme to increase efficiency, reduce costs and delays, in addition to be better prepared for responding to future shocks, such as, the global pandemic of COVID-19 and the economic crisis it generated.

    The objectives of the short will aim at illustrating the benefits of efficient control of imports and exports; provide a framework of how the systems, tools and solutions developed by the ASYCUDA Programme, in cooperation with international agencies and organizations, can potentially address the needs for digitalization and enhanced connectivity. Additionally, the impact the ASYCUDA Programme interventions and the impact they had generated for economies will be discussed.

  • Thursday 10 November 2022, 10 a.m. - Commodity dependence and recent events on commodity markets

    Commodity dependence is associated with a range of risks and vulnerabilities that threaten the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Recent shocks to the global economy due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the conflict in Ukraine caused volatility and disruptions on international commodity markets and are a reminder of the importance to build resilient economies. Price volatility, sudden price hikes and supply chain uncertainties for basic commodities such as food, fuels and fertilizers also pose major challenges for net importers of these commodities, in particular if imports are concentrated in a narrow range of supplying markets and account for a large share of domestic availability. Furthermore, the global energy transition required to address climate change is bound to have profound impacts on future commodity demand patterns and thus on growth and development prospects of commodity dependent economies.

    In this regard, the objectives of the course are as follows:

    • Provide delegates with an overview of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the conflict in Ukraine on global commodity markets;
    • Show the risks and challenges associated with commodity dependence in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development;
    • Highlight the importance of economic diversification and value upgrading for commodity-dependent developing countries.
  • Thursday 15 September 2022, 10 a.m. - Trade Facilitation and Non-Tariff Measures

    Recent and current shocks such as the pandemic and the war in Ukraine, as well as related disruptions in global value chains and the food security crisis, demonstrate the importance of and linkages between trade and safety and health. Efficient and transparent trade is a necessary condition for the availability of essential goods such as food and medical products in all countries at reasonable prices. The objectives of the course are as follows:

    • Underscore the importance of trade facilitation and innovative approaches, to reduce bureaucratic procedures at borders and support efficient trade procedures
    • Provide an overview of the digital tools of UNCTAD in the field of trade facilitation, such as the Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA) and trade information portals
    • Provide an understanding of non-tariff measures, to ensure the transparency and effectiveness of trade-related regulations that affect all trade procedures
    • Present transparency initiatives to ease access to information on trade procedures and regulations, to facilitate trade for small and medium-sized enterprises and support regional integration
    • Highlight the example of the cutting-edge approach in Africa, under the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement, to address non-tariff barriers and how regional trade can be strengthened
  • Tuesday 3 May 2022, 10 a.m. (Hybrid) - LDCs development challenges and policies in the 2020s

    The international community in December 2021 agreed to recommend for adoption the Programme of Action (PoA) for the Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2022-2031. It should provide a framework for policy action on LDC development during the 2020s, to be undertaken both by LDCs themselves and by LDC development partners. The course will analyse the priorities set out in the new PoA, compare it with the SDGs and evaluate its likely contribution to LDCs’ weathering their current and emerging development challenges.

    The objectives of the course are as follows:

    • Provide an overall picture of the major development challenges of the LDCs in the 2020s. These challenges include: 1. the lingering structural vulnerabilities typical of LDC underdevelopment, and 2. emerging challenges such as the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the acceleration of climate change, the restructuring of global value chains, and the digital transformation.
    • Critically analyse the likely contribution of the new PoA to LDCs’ weathering the major challenges with which they will be confronted in the present decade.
    • Provide a clear picture of the policy priorities for LDCs, in view of the process of negotiation and adoption of the new PoA.
  • Tuesday 5 April 2022, 10 a.m. (Hybrid) - Women and the pandemic: Building back better for them including through trade

    The COVID-19 pandemic is threatening to reverse decades of progress on gender equality and women's empowerment, notably in the areas of poverty eradication, educational attainment, labor market participation, and trade. These areas are closely linked to the 2030 Development Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals. Economic downturns, such as the present one, tend to affect men and women differently, mainly because of gender-segmentation into different economic sectors, the structure of markets and institutions and the inequalities within them, and the different roles women and men play in society. Women's shrinking participation in the economy may have negative longer-term effect not only on gender equality. Phenomena linked to unemployment, such as skill erosion, discouragement, loss of business networks, and discrimination, may lead women to permanently exit the labour market with high risks of productivity losses for the broader economy.

    The course will update delegates on the impact of the pandemic on women and on the rescue measures that countries, especially developing and least developed countries, have put in place to help people and companies to shoulder the pandemic-induced economic shock. Among the various initiatives, the presentations will focus on those that, directly or indirectly, by design or by coincidence, have the potential to benefit in particular women. The discussion will then respond to the question: What does "building back better" mean for women? Trade policy is one of the important tools that can be used to provide new economic opportunities for women. Devising measures that promote women’s participation in trade and ensuring that the benefits from trade reach women and men equally can be an effective way for all countries to step up their efforts towards a more inclusive and gender-equal order after the pandemic.

  • Wednesday 23 February 2022, 10 a.m. (Hybrid) - Maritime transport for sustainable development: key insights and projections from the UNCTAD Review of Maritime Transport

    Maritime transport is the backbone of international trade and the global economy. Over 80% of the volume of international trade in goods is carried by sea, and the percentage is even higher for most developing countries. The Review of Maritime Transport is an UNCTAD flagship report, published annually since 1968. It provides an analysis of structural and cyclical changes affecting seaborne trade, ports, and shipping, as well as an extensive collection of statistics from maritime trade and transport. The latest edition of the report has a special focus on the COVID-19 pandemic's impact on the industry and includes a special chapter on the challenges seafarers face in view of the crewing crisis.

    The course will update delegates on key developments in seaborne trade, maritime and port business, freight rates, key performance indicators, seafarers’ concerns, and the necessary legal and regulatory framework to facilitate international maritime trade and transport. Delegates will learn about policy option to keep ships moving, ports open, and trade flowing in times of pandemic, and when confronted with the future challenge of the decarbonization of maritime transport.