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SESSION 29: PLURILATERALISM AGAINST MULTILATERALISM?: A MULTI-STAKEHOLDER PERSPECTIVE*

Tuesday, 25 September 2012, 18:15 — 20:15, Room S3

 

This session aimed to discuss the concepts of multilateralism and plurilateralism and to assess the potential impact of plurilateral agreements within the WTO multilateral trading system. Plurilateral agreements can be concluded by three or more WTO members and cover trade issues labelled WTO plus, extra or minus. They can be adopted both within and outside the WTO framework. They can be "preferential" agreements or agreements based on the most-favoured-nation (MFN) principles. Future plurilateral trade agreements negotiated within the WTO could bring more transparency, and third parties' rights would be better protected under the WTO dispute settlement procedure.

If a plurilateral agreement is adopted outside the WTO framework, other WTO members need not be included, and negotiations would not include other WTO members not party to the agreement. It would then lead to the creation of a "soft law", since a plurilateral agreement outside the WTO would not have the same legal and political weight and could not aspire to an "international standard". A plurilateral trade agreement within the WTO that extends MFN benefits to non-treaty WTO members would avoid trade distortions. Conversely, if a WTO-based plurilateral trade agreement is kept as a preferential agreement (non-MFN), it would avoid free-riding by non-members and provide an incentive for others to join.

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The seminar was organized jointly by Centre for Socio-Eco-Nomic Development (CSEND), UNCTAD, Future of the UN Development System (FUNDS) and Business Systems Laboratory.

A newly published book was introduced and a subsequent thematic debate focused on the question whether the current approach to measuring sustainable development is good enough to support sustainable development in developing countries. This debate is part of the larger discourse on Post-2015 sustainable development goals.

Important ideas were discussed such as the need to bring back immediacy and depth to the notion of sustainability; the need to measure comprehensively sustainable development (e.g. the current analytic framework does not measure social sustainability); the interface between individual behavior and institutional rules; the inter-generational aspect of sustainability and its cross-cultural perspective; and the importance of measuring progress towards human development goals.

 

25 June 2012

1st Introductory Workshop on “Reconstructing the Social Fabric of Communities after War Trauma”

Humanitarian workers are confronted with systemic challenges when helping post-traumatic communities reconnect and rebuild. Specific skills and knowledge are needed to provide social reconstruction of the community and healing of collective and individual traumas. At the same time, support is also needed for the helping professionals who are often exposed to the danger of burn-out. “Sense making” is an important element in dealing with this occupational stress.

How can organizations like the United Nations, the World Bank, the World Health Organization, and the Red Cross become more effective in their vital and laudable mission? How can multinational corporations contribute meaningfully to global issues like climate change, poverty reduction and equitable economic growth? What enables enterprises to grow and develop in challenging settings like the aftermath of a devastating Tsunami?

These questions are all related to humanitarian work psychology and have so far been largely overlooked by global development policy and policy makers. A first roundtable was organised in Geneva to discuss the relevance and needs to form a new area of study, namely, humanitarian work psychology in order to effectively address the needs of the humanitarian workers.

 

pdf Summary of the Roundtable Discussion

pdf Programme

CSEND organized a side event on Monday, 23rd April titled ‘Linking human capital development with employability organizational and national competitiveness for sustainable growth and social cohesion’, from 12.30-14.30 hrs at Qatar conference site QNNC.

Presentations were made by Prof Raymond Saner, Diplomacy Dialogue, Geneva, Mrs Shaza Khalil and Mr. Ganim Al-Naimi, both from Qatar Foundation, Prof Lichia Saner Yiu, CSEND and Dr. Magdi Faharat, UN-ECA who also acted as discussant.

Seminar during the WTO Ministerial Conference (MC-8) of 15-17 December 2011). CSEND organised a side event focusing on the analysis of policy coherence of assistance instruments and policies made available to LDCsin to improve their service export sector. A case example from the tourism sector was used to illustrate existing policy fragmentation and lack of complementarity amongst key development instruments, i.e., DTIS, AM, PRSP etc. The Analysis was based on an in-depth study of 14 LDCs published in 2011.

Summary of AoM meeting 2010 Montréal/Canada, 9TH August, 2010 (Session 706)

pdf Article

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