15-17 September 2010


High level debates

In the run-up to the WTO Public Forum,  we would like to encourage discussion among WTO delegates, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), academic experts, WTO staff members and all those with an active interest in the main themes that will be discussed in the two high-level debates.  We hope you will contribute with stimulating and helpful articles and commentaries.

The sessions

Topics for discussion

Core themes

High level debates


Practical information


Have your say

I. High Level Inaugural Debate: The Forces Shaping World Trade: How to use them to Help Achieve the Millennium Development Goals and Contribute to MDG 8: A Global Partnership for Development

World trade has undergone major changes since the establishment of the WTO 15 years ago. The world's traditional powers are now sharing the spotlight with new economic actors — the fast-growing emerging economies. Meanwhile, the introduction of new technologies and better access to telecommunications — even for the world's poorest users — has changed the way global business is conducted and the way people the world over interact. And new concerns have arisen over food security, climate change, energy supplies and prices. These concerns are changing the nature of how the public views trade and about what kinds of multilateral rules governments believe should apply to this changing paradigm. The effects of the recent financial crisis and its unprecedented impact on world trade has further underlined the need to address these new challenges. It is also crucial to find ways to make the forces shaping world trade work to alleviate poverty and hunger and to help achieve the Millennium Development Goals, and especially MDG 8 — a Global Partnership for Development.

Discussions will be guided by the following main questions:

  1. the economic, political and technological factors which are shaping world trade and the role of business, governments and workers to ensure future, global sustainable development;
  2. how can the forces of trade be used to help achieve the MDGs and lead to enhanced coherence amongst global institutions, state actors and the private sector; and
  3. what can governments do in the future to shape world trade rules to address food security, climate change, adequate energy supplies and ensure global economic growth and stability.



II. High-level Session  “Doing it Differently: Reshaping the Global Economy”

While the fields of health and education have long acknowledged that addressing gender issues is an efficient way of addressing poverty, the potential impacts of addressing gender specific constraints in the area of trade are less well understood.  Against the backdrop of the global economic and financial crisis, and looking to the future, this panel will discuss the role of women and girls in enhancing economic productivity and sustained economic growth.  The panel will invite participants to take stock of the latest developments at the global level to empower women and to identify steps that will contribute towards strengthening investments in women and girls, with an emphasis on supporting their integration in markets.  In addition, the panel will look at the different actors that influence the trade and gender agenda, assess the factors shaping efforts to increase action and investment in this area and brainstorm on the way forward.

Discussions will be guided by the following main questions:

  1. What are the links between gender, development, and trade?;
  2. What are the economic, political and technical factors that influence women's economic opportunities;
  3. How can multilateral institutions and funding agencies encourage enabling conditions for women's economic empowerment; and
  4. What are the priorities for action going forward?