Almost every policy discussion on e-commerce makes a reference to the need for capacity building. With varying degrees of strength, trade agreements often include provisions on this topic. Capacity building is also part of negotiations taking place in the Joint Statement Initiative (JSI) on e-commerce among a subset of members at the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Although there is agreement on the importance of capacity building, there is little consensus on what it means in practice. Under this general term, many different activities may be encompassed, such as the exchange of information and best practices, assistance on the implementation of trade regulation, deploying physical infrastructure, and the provision of training, technical or financial assistance. There is also increasing awareness of the need to provide policy-oriented support for government officials from developing countries and least developed countries (LDCs).
Against this backdrop, the aim of this seminar is two-fold: to make an assessment of capacity-building needs and priorities, contributing to enhance clarity on the path to the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC12), and to discuss the ways in which capacity building could contribute to strengthening the participation of trade negotiators from developing countries and LDCs in trade discussions.
Speakers will tackle several questions, such as:
- What are the main capacity-building needs of developing countries and LDCs? To what extent are these needs being covered by capacity-building provisions currently under negotiation at the JSI on e-commerce? What are the lessons learned from the inclusion of capacity building in trade agreements?
- What are the main capacity building needs of Geneva-based trade negotiators from developing countries and LDCs? In which ways are they different or complementary to the needs of capital-based trade officials?
- How to assist developing countries and LDCs in mainstreaming development-oriented priorities in the context of trade negotiations, as well as in formulating their national e-commerce policies, fostering coherence between national and international e-commerce regulation?
- Rashid Kaukab, Executive Director, CUTS International Geneva
- Sospeter O. Ngoya, Minister Counsellor, Trade, Permanent Mission of the Republic of Kenya to the UN and other international organisations
- Jeremia B. Pratama, Permanent Mission of Indonesia to the UN, WTO, and other international organisations in Geneva
- Verónica Bogarín Closs, First Secretary, Permanent Mission of Paraguay to the UN office and other international organisations in Geneva
- Karishma Banga, Research Fellow, Institute of Development Studies (IDS), United Kingdom
- Marilia Maciel, Digital Policy Senior Researcher, Diplo
- Quan Zhao, Trade Policy Advisor, Office of the Chief Economist, International Trade Center (ITC)
- Yasmin Ismail, Research Fellow, CUTS International Geneva