Celebrating World Cotton Day: an opportunity to recognize the global importance of cotton

Cotton is a global commodity grown in over 75 countries across five continents and traded worldwide. World Cotton Day — on 7 October — is an opportunity to highlight its role in creating jobs and maintaining economic stability in least-developed countries (LDCs). Celebrations marking the day aim to foster sustainable trade policies and to enable developing countries to benefit from every step of the cotton value chain.

Official recognition of World Cotton Day

The 2021 celebrations have a special importance following the United Nations General Assembly decision, on 30 August, to officially recognize 7 October as World Cotton Day as submitted by Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire and Mali.

The UN resolution (A/RES/75/318) proclaiming World Cotton Day acknowledges the vital role cotton plays by providing livelihoods and subsistence for millions of people and recognizes its broader economic and social impact around the world.

World Cotton Day 2021

The day of celebrations on 7 October 2021 provides an opportunity for WTO members, observers, partner organizations, national cotton producers, textile associations, cotton-processing industries, universities and research institutions to organise events at the local level to promote their work and activities.

Events organized by the global cotton community range from lectures, panels and roundtables to photo contests and activities that showcase products, results, sustainable and social responsibility activities, and innovation in the cotton value chain. The day is also a chance for the cotton community to arrange field visits, to organise award ceremonies, to share knowledge on cotton through social media campaigns using #WorldCottonDay and to participate in media events.

WTO-ITC webinar

The WTO and the International Trade Centre (ITC) are organizing a webinar on 6 October 2021 on how to develop a sustainable cotton to clothing value chain in Africa. The event focuses on further developing cotton and textile value chains in Africa and on ways to develop a green regional cotton to clothing supply chain to stimulate regional and intercontinental trade.

Origins of World Cotton Day

The WTO hosted the launch of World Cotton Day on 7 October 2019 following an initiative of the Cotton-4 countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali. The event was organized by the WTO Secretariat in collaboration with the secretariats of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the ITC and the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC).

The launch was attended by over 800 participants at the WTO headquarters, including ministers, heads of international organizations, high-level officials, Geneva-based delegates and the global cotton community — national growers associations, traders, inspection service providers, cotton promoters, development assistance partners, scientists, scholars, retailers, brand representatives and the private sector. It served as a key opportunity for participants to share knowledge and showcase cotton-related activities and products.

Discussions on cotton at the WTO

At the WTO, cotton is the sole commodity discussed separately following an initiative launched by the Cotton-4 in 2003. The initiative aims to make international trade in cotton fairer and to shed light on the linkages between trade, cotton and development.

Discussions on cotton at the WTO focus on:

  • achieving reforms needed to address trade-distorting subsidies and to provide improved market access for cotton and cotton-related products from LDCs
  • monitoring and encouraging development assistance to the cotton sector in developing countries through cooperation projects and dissemination of information.

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 Latest tweets: #WorldCottonday

UN Resolution

Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 30 August 2021

Facts and Figures

The importance of cotton across the world

Cotton Portal - Trade Intelligence for Cotton

Cotton Portal, launched at the 2017 Buenos Aires Ministerial Conference, provides a single-entry point for all the cotton-specific information available in WTO and ITC databases on market access, trade statistics, country-specific business contacts and development-assistance related information.

Cotton Portal survey

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