Members agreed to Canada's proposal for the work plan, which outlines activities aligned with the four key elements that the Informal Working Group intends to focus on: reviewing gender-related analytical work; experience sharing on increasing the participation of women in trade; considering the concept and scope for a “gender lens” and how it could apply to the work of the WTO; and supporting the WTO Aid for Trade work programme.

The group was established in September 2020 (WT/L/1095/Rev.1) as the next phase of an initiative launched at the 11th Ministerial Conference in 2017 in Buenos Aires, where the “Joint Declaration on Trade and Women's Economic Empowerment” was signed. Currently 127 members and observers support the Declaration.

A number of members at the meeting said time could be spent later in the year to draft a declaration on trade and gender for the 12th Ministerial Conference, which will take place in the week of 29 November in Geneva. Several members suggested additions to the work plan as well, which Canada said it will incorporate in a revised document.

Botswana Ambassador Athaliah Lesiba Molokomme, one of the Informal Working Group's co-chairs, noted that the group has agreed to proceed on the basis of the work plan with the suggested improvements. Iceland Ambassador Harald Aspelund is also a co-chair along with Ambassador Benedetti Zelaya, who was appointed at the meeting.

At this meeting, members addressed one of the activities identified in the work plan by hearing and discussing a presentation by the WTO Secretariat and the World Bank of their joint report titled “Women and Trade: The role of trade in promoting gender equality.” Several members also gave presentations on their national experiences with trade and gender policies.




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