In line with the Informal Working Group's work plan, members at their second meeting of the year focused on sharing national and regional initiatives to address challenges faced by women traders as potential guidance for others. The Informal Working Group heard six presentations and gave opportunities for discussants and other members to comment and share their own experiences.

Ecuador reported on the trading experience of the Association of Waorani Women of the Ecuadorian Amazon, who make cacao and palm fibre products in order to shift away from the unsustainable hunting of wildlife. Turkey presented its export training and networking programmes for women and young entrepreneurs, noting that 92% of training participants were encouraged to include export activities in their business plans afterwards. Canada shared its experience applying gender-based analysis to trade agreements to help negotiators and policymakers assess how diverse groups of women and men would be impacted. Mauritius reported on its experience securing the welfare of women avocado farmers in agricultural negotiations as well as efforts by the government and development partners to assist women entrepreneurs.

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) relayed findings from its gender impact analysis of economic integration in the East African Community and Southern Common Market. The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) reported on the trade impact of COVID-19 on women, noting that 57% of working women in Latin America are employed in sectors with higher risk of economic disruption compared to only 41% of working men.

Discussants (El Salvador, Peru and Uruguay) commented on the presentations as did several members who themselves shared their own policies and practices.

The Informal Working Group also approved dates for meetings to be held in September to November in addition to those already planned before the summer break. Members also heard suggestions from the Co-Chairs — Botswana Ambassador Athaliah Lesiba Molokomme, El Salvador Ambassador Ana Patricia Benedetti Zelaya and Iceland Ambassador Harald Aspelund — on a contribution of the Group at the 12th Ministerial Conference, which will take place in the week of 29 November. Following the meeting, on 30 April, the Co-Chairs issued a proposal for a “framework to deliver an ambitious ministerial outcome on trade and gender for MC12 and beyond”(INF/TGE/W/3). Members intend to discuss the issue further at the next meeting on 23 June, where they will also focus on considering the concept and scope for a “gender lens” and how it could apply to the work of the WTO.

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.

Presentations can be found here.




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