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  • Short Courses for Geneva-based Diplomats - 2023 series

    The UNCTAD secretariat is pleased to announce another series of short courses in 2023 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 2 February, 14 March, 27 April 2023 respectively. 

    The first semester in 2023 includes:

    • Thursday 9 February 2023, 10 a.m. (Room XXVI) - Maritime transport for sustainable development: key insights and projections from the UNCTAD Review of Maritime Transport
    • Tuesday 14 March 2023, 10 a.m. (Room XXVI) - Trends and prospects of foreign direct investment, investment policies and their impact on sustainable development
    • Thursday 27 April 2023, 10 a.m. (Room XXVI) - Voluntary Sustainability Standards and International Trade
  • Tuesday 14 March 2023, 10 a.m. - Trends and prospects of foreign direct investment, investment policies and their impact on sustainable development

    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
  • Thursday 9 February 2023, 10 a.m. - Maritime transport for sustainable development: key insights and projections from the UNCTAD Review of Maritime Transport

    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).

  • Thursday 27 April 2023, 10 a.m. - Voluntary Sustainability Standards and International Trade

    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.