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  • ISSUE 2/2006


  • If we advocate for trade as a force for development, can we afford to ignore non-governmental organizations (NGOs)?The NGO protests at WTO meetings that everyone has seen on television are the tip of something bigger. NGOs are more involved in trade than they used to be. While their most visible image in trade is that of televised confrontation, in practice their role is more nuanced.Grass-roots NGOs build business skills, provide microcredit and target export markets. They've done this for years, but now that the impact of trade reaches everywhere, NGOs are becoming more conscious of their links to export markets. From environment and health to tourism and more, ITC has found itself partnering with NGOs in several of its field projects.

    Wiped out by the Khmer Rouge, the ancient Cambodian tradition of women weaving and wearing silk is enjoying a renaissance.

    Coffee Kids gives coffee-growing communities a hand up, not a handout.Many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) work in the coffee sector. Some offer funds or sponsorship. Others implement programmes in the field. Some work only in the coffee sector, others don't.

    Oxfam is a major non-governmental organization in trade policy debates. It also has a role in local trade development. What kind of collaboration is possible with an advocacy NGO? Natalie Domeisen and Peter Hulm of Trade Forum spoke to Céline Charveriat, head of Oxfam's trade office in Geneva.

    What does "fair trade" mean? You won't find one single answer. Here we look at the market profile of fair trade - the players, controversies, benefits and drawbacks.Fair trade in international commerce has two distinct meanings. In trade negotiations, the term is used broadly to argue that subsidies and disguised barriers skew the global trade system against developing countries and commodity producers. Former World Bank chief economist and Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz, for example, argues for "fair trade for all" in the context of the latest WTO round of trade liberalization, the Doha Development Agenda.

    Don't look at fair trade as a charity - treat it as a business model, argues Paola Ghillani, former head of the Max Havelaar fair trade organization in Switzerland.

    Fair trade is one of the few development models that reaches marginalized (often indigenous) rural communities who rarely benefit from economic growth and who have little choice between subsistence farming or migration to the cities.

    Fair trade has become the centre of intense media attention and a topic of interest to many development organizations. As a result, ITC's senior management held a discussion in March 2006 on ways in which ITC could play a role in fair trade and bring non-governmental organizations - with their commitment to improving life for the poorest communities - into mainstream trade development.

    Non-governmental organizations can bring complementary skills, knowledge and commitment to trade development projects, particularly those helping poor communities.

    After 12 years at the helm of ITC, J. Denis Bélisle leaves a thriving trade development organization with confidence in its future.Over the past 12 years, the ambiance at ITC's annual meetings has changed radically, in keeping with a new maturity and sense of self-confidence in the organization. This progress is the result of the hard work, imagination, enthusiasm and entrepreneurial spirit of ITC staff and management - a team never afraid of challenges. The latest challenge for management is to hand over the reins to a new team, capable of taking ITC to new heights. This is being done systematically and successfully.

    © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 2/2006 Best Practice in Trade Intelligence in Latin America Meeting for experts of trade support institutions from Central and South America, held in Spanish. Co-organized by the Export and Investment Promotion Corporation of Ecuador (CORP

    © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 2/2006 Get Connected: E-applications in the textile and clothing sector 166 pages . Study focusing on how developing country producers could successfully apply new e-applications and secure post-quota exports in light of the changing nat

    © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 2/2006 Get Connected: E-applications in the textile and clothing sector 166 pages . Study focusing on how developing country producers could successfully apply new e-applications and secure post-quota exports in light of the changing nat

    Eva K. Murray, a Canadian national, joined ITC as Director of the Division of Programme Support in mid-summer 2006. She has a wide range of experience in developing new approaches and leading organizational implementation, and has worked in human resources, policy, management organizational development, budget, planning and financial resource management.

    With thousands of non-governmental organizations involved in trade development, putting together a list of key players is a difficult task. The table below is not exhaustive, but it is representative of the organizations that could be of interest to our readers. The list is intended to give an idea about the broad area of activities carried out by the NGOs, as well as to provide information on possible areas of collaboration.

    In Kenya, ITC teams up with a non-governmental organization to broaden the debate on trade in services.

    Trade Forum analyses the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) of non-governmental organizations as trade development partners.NGOs come in many shapes and sizes. Some governments and international agencies are asking: how can their work complement our own?

    "Helping developing countries export better is a stepping stone to development," said many delegates at ITC's annual meeting in April 2006.

    ITC and the Peru-Ecuador Binational Fund for Peace and Development have been working together to develop exports by small firms in the countries' border region since May 2005. Jorge Voto Bernales, Director of the Binational Fund, and J. Denis Bélisle, Executive Director of ITC, launched the second phase of the project in April 2006.

    Find out more about the origins of the fair trade movement, as well as the main labels and networks of organizations active today.

    Focusing on development is the key to partnership between trade agencies and non-governmental organizations.