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The WTO Training Course on Trade and Gender Spring sessions were the first trade and gender technical assistance activity conducted in 2022 for government officials from developing and least-developed countries across Asia, Latin America, and Africa.

The training was delivered virtually through a combination of lectures, exercises, and discussions comprising of ten live online sessions over a full week. The course covered gender concepts and their relevance to trade, an overview of gender-responsive trade policies, and gender provisions in free trade agreements. It also included an introduction to specialised and thematic trade and gender issues such as standards, climate change and COVID-19.

The spring sessions were conducted for two cohorts, which attended the course from 28 March to 1 April and from 22 to 29 April respectively. The participants expressed appreciation for the training course, noting that they became better equipped to promote gender equality in their countries' trade strategies and policies.

The course enhanced participants' ability to perform gender analysis and to apply it on trade issues, as Betty Gachire, who has been working as trainer and researcher at the Kenya School of Government, noted. Kemo SM Janka — senior trade economist at the Ministry of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment of the Gambia and has been working for years with women entrepreneurs involved in fashion and horticulture value chain — said that the course will enable him to address some of women's trade-related challenges and that he will participate in the formulation and implementation of gender policies, strategies and programmes to leverage opportunities in markets in Africa. Verónica Bogarin Closs, first secretary of the Permanent Mission of Paraguay to the United Nations and Specialized Agencies in Geneva, stated that the training will support her work as a trade delegate, by giving her access to information and mechanisms to better serve her country on trade and gender issues, decision-making processes, and trade negotiations.

In a dedicated session, participants were introduced to the WTO trade and gender policy tools and were guided through their practical application. Developed by the WTO Trade and Gender Unit, these policy tools include a trade and gender policymaking check list and a gender policy questionnaire aimed at supporting WTO members in designing, reviewing, and improving their trade policies and national strategy to promote gender equality through trade.

The trainers also presented the WTO Research Database on Trade and Gender, which compiles roughly 120 research papers examining the trade and gender nexus from various angles. This database, compiled by the Trade and Gender Unit in collaboration with the WTO Gender Research Hub, aims to increase access to information on research-based evidence on trade and gender equality, to help WTO members design gender-responsive trade policies.

The Trade and Gender Unit announced to participants that the Secretariat is currently developing a set of additional 10 policy tools covering, among others, Aid for Trade programmes, free trade agreements, gender-responsive trade policies, and the WTO legal framework. The set of policy tools will be presented to government officials at additional technical assistance activities in 2022 and 2023.

To continue strengthening members' capacity to integrate gender into their trade policies, the Trade and Gender Unit will deliver an advanced training course for Geneva delegates in 2022-2023.

These activities are part of WTO's Trade & Gender 360° Strategy that provides capacity-building on trade and gender for government officials and women entrepreneurs.

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