Topic outline

  • Short Course

    Short Courses for Geneva-based Diplomats - 2024 series

    The UNCTAD secretariat is pleased to announce another series of short courses in 2024 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 first semester, three courses will be provided at Palais des Nations - on 15 February 2024, 7 March 2024, 2 May 2024 respectively. 

    The first semester in 2024 includes:

    • Thursday 15 February 2024, 10 a.m. (Room XXVI) - Insights from the UNCTAD Review of Maritime Transport 2023
    • Thursday 7 March 2024, 10 a.m. (Room XXVI) - Inclusive Diversification and Energy Transition: Prospects and challenges
    • Thursday 2 May 2024, 10 a.m. (Room XXVI) - Status of Trade in National Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement
  • Thursday 15 February 2024, 10 a.m. - Insights from the UNCTAD Review of Maritime Transport 2023

    Maritime transport is the backbone of international trade and the global economy. More than 80% of the volume of international trade in goods is carried by sea, and this percentage is higher for most developing countries.  Since 1968, the Review of Maritime Transport is published on annual basis and is considered an UNCTAD flagship report. It provides analysis of structural and cyclical changes affecting seaborne trade, ports, and shipping, and statistics from maritime trade and transport.

     The latest edition lays special emphasis on resilience building in the face of supply chain crisis and devotes a chapter on issues associated with the process of consolidation in container shipping.

    In the post pandemic recovery, the findings of the report will update delegates and engage them on:

    • Key developments in seaborne trade, maritime and port business, freight rates, key performance indicators, seafarers’ concerns, trade facilitation, among other aspects.
    • The links between maritime transport and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • Thursday 7 March 2024, 10 a.m. - Inclusive Diversification and Energy Transition: Prospects and challenges

    Most economic value chains originate in commodities, such as crude oil, copper, cotton or wheat. Developing countries that depend on exporting these primary products are often very vulnerable to macroeconomic instability, delayed industrialization or deindustrialization, and volatility of export revenue caused by commodity price fluctuations.  Many commodity dependent developing countries (CDDCs) are among the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, such as extreme weather events, rising sea levels, and droughts.  The COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine have further exposed CDDCs’ vulnerabilities and highlighted the urgent need for these countries to become more resilient by moving up value chains and diversifying their economies.

    However, CDDCs now have to diversify in ways never done before: through low carbon paths in the context of climate change and energy transition. 

    Additionally, these countries need to carefully make growth less carbon-intensive without compromising their economic development.  Inclusive and green diversification is possible if the right to development of CDDCs, the need to address climate change, and existing inequalities are addressed in a common and balanced way. CDDCs should leverage untapped potential in renewable energy sources to explore new energy markets and green products that can help create new jobs, boost incomes, and reduce inequalities. For example, linking mining of clean energy minerals such as cobalt and lithium with local value addition. Green industrial policy can help to achieve just diversification pathways in CDDCs. This short course will discuss ways in which CDDCs can become more resilient by diversifying production and moving up value chains to produce and export a wider variety of products – and do so in ways that are inclusive and protect the global climate.

     Therefore, the course will achieve the following objectives:

    • Raise awareness of delegates from Member Countries on the prospects and challenges for inclusive diversification and energy transition in commodity dependent developing countries.
    • Gain an understanding of the enablers of export diversification, the factors that affect inequality in this process, the historical relationship between diversification and carbon emissions, and the policy tools to foster inclusive and greener economic diversification.
  • Thursday 2 May 2024, 10 a.m. - Status of Trade in National Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement

    The Paris Agreement aims to achieve its long-term climate and global temperature goals through the implementation of National Determined Contributions (NDCs). NDCs are efforts by each country to reduce national emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change. All Paris Agreement Parties are required to prepare, communicate, and maintain successive NDCs. Trade and trade-related measures can play an important role in implementing mitigation and adaptation actions and in supporting the transition towards a low-carbon economy, particularly in developing countries.

    This course will present:

    • The legal nature, composition, and structure of NDCs, and analyze how trade and trade-related measures have been incorporated into them under the Paris Agreement, with practical examples, including how to green the AfCFTA.
    • A deeper view of the case for decarbonizing fishing fleets, ports, and the seafood value chain as an illustrative example of an integrated sectoral approach on how NDCs are covering mitigation, adaptation, and hybrid measures when relevant to trade, food security, and conservation.
    • This will be done by presenting the applicable multilateral regulatory environment, available low and zero carbon technologies, some practical case studies in the field of fisheries, as well as potential policy recommendations for developing countries, particularly SIDS and LDCs.
  • To be available in the second semester of 2024

    International trade is recognized as an engine for inclusive economic growth and poverty reduction that contributes to the promotion of sustainable development both by the 2030 Agenda and its accompanying SDGs as well as the Addis Ababa Agenda. However, it remains a considerable challenge to train policymakers to map out interlinkages between trade policy and sustainable development, let alone to ensure that trade policy outcome positively influence sustainable development. For this reason, implementing voluntary sustainability standards (VSS) related to products and production processes can ensure that products and production processes comply with a set of social, economic and/or environmental requirements in order to make global production more sustainable. VSS may generate higher productivity levels due to improved agricultural practices, training, input use, and technology transfers at the level of the producer, hence allowing for higher trade volumes. However, the reliance of VSS on audits to ensure compliance with their standards has been challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic. Relatedly, even before the COVID-19 pandemic, VSS may impede trade, especially for low-income countries. Certification, compliance, and monitoring costs make it difficult for some producers, especially smallholders, to obtain certification, and might drive them out of export markets. These costs are proportionally higher in countries with weak institutions and/or a fragile regulatory environment.

    This course aims to provide Geneva-based delegates with:

    • the best practices of implementing Voluntary Sustainability Standards to pursue sustainable trade, especially for post-pandemic recovery,
    • the opportunities and challenges of using VSS to make trade more sustainable and inclusive for developing countries,
    • the capacity to strategize the building blocks of sustainable global value chains.
    Available from 19 September 2024
  • To be available in the second semester of 2024

    Global FDI showed a strong rebound in 2021, even surpassing the pre-pandemic level. However, the recovery is highly uneven with significant variation across regions and sectors. Especially, investments in SDG-relevant sectors remain fragile. Renewable energy and utilities are the strongest growth sustainability sectors, but with a small number of large-scale projects in a limited number of countries. Least Developed Countries (LDCs), which were significantly affected during the pandemic with double-digit declines in almost all sectors, still show less favorable trends in SDG-relevant sectors.

    The course will discuss the ongoing reforms in international taxation and their implications for investment and investment policies. The discussion will focus on the adoption of a global minimum tax for multinational enterprises and other mechanisms to counter harmful tax practices. The course will also address the key issues arising from the complexity of the international investment regime and present the wide-range of UNCTAD’s tools to support the formulation of more balanced international investment policies.

    The short course will be based in the key findings from the World Investment Report 2022, insights from the intergovernmental debates on investment and development, and elements of UNCTAD’s investment policy framework for sustainable development (IPFSD). The programme will focus on:

    • analysing the recent trends in global cross-border investment,
    • exploring the relevant regional and sectoral trends, including in SDGs and climate change investment sectors,
    • discussing the latest developments on investment policy, with an especial focus on the reforms in international taxation and understand their implications,
    • understanding which reform actions are most relevant in order to make international investment agreements more effective in promoting and facilitating investment?
    • outlining best practices and tools for investment facilitation, to attract and retain FDI
    Available from 19 September 2024
  • To be available in the second semester of 2024

    Delivered by the Division on Technology and Logistics Maritime transport is the backbone of international trade and the global economy. More than 80% of the volume of international trade in goods is carried by sea, and this percentage is higher for most developing countries. Since 1968, the Review of Maritime Transport is published on annual basis and is considered an UNCTAD flagship report. It provides analysis of structural and cyclical changes affecting seaborne trade, ports, and shipping, and statistics from maritime trade and transport.

    The latest edition lays special emphasis on resilience building in the face of supply chain crisis and devotes a chapter on issues associated with the process of consolidation in container shipping. In the post pandemic recovery, the findings of the report will update delegates on the latest key developments in seaborne trade, maritime and port business, freight rates, key performance indicators, seafarers’ concerns, trade facilitation, among other aspects.

    Delegates will have the opportunity to engage on a range of issues—from freight rates, to supply chains, and prices—and the impact they may generate for economic development, especially for developing countries who face more challenges than other economies. The course content will also illustrate the links between maritime transport and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

    Available from 19 September 2024