Cooperative enterprises are major players in the global economy. They range from small grassroots initiatives to multibillion dollar businesses and operate in all sectors of the economy. The panel will start with a theoretical presentation of the links between cooperatives and trade. The panel will subsequently turn to practical experiences, and build on cooperative-to-cooperative trade and how it can make value chains shorter, fairer and more efficient and competitive. The seven internationally agreed cooperative principles guide the work of cooperatives around the world. The principle, “Cooperation among Cooperatives”, is the principle most related to the trade, South-South and Global Value Chain perspectives. In the practical part, the case of “China Coop” on promoting cooperative-to-cooperative trade in Asia through different platforms will be presented. The agricultural and consumer cooperative experiences from Italy will be presented to showcase engagement in ethical trade practices using cooperative principles and highlighting the advantages of agricultural and consumer cooperatives working together across the value chain from a perspective of fairness and competitiveness. After the presentations, there will be a round table discussion followed by questions from the floor.

This Round Table offered an opportunity to exchange between diplomats, representatives of international organizations, experts, academics, researchers, journalists, and civil society actors, the principles and activities that contribute to sustainable development in a globalized world in constant change. In an open discussion, panelists, who are experienced professionals, expressed their opinions and made recommendations. During the second part of the Round Table, the panelists focused on different issues relevant for sustainable development such as security (inside and outside borders), employment, education and training, health, environment and sanitation of the environment, and information and communications technology (ICT). The event was organized by CSEND and COMDEV in collaboration with the Geneva Welcome Center and the Swiss Press Club.

Raymond Saner and Lichia Yiu, (2014) “Learning to Grow: A Human Capital-focused Development Strategy, with Lessons from Singapore”.The authors argue that a key challenge for middle-income countries is to avoid ‘the middle-income trap’. In this situation, economic growth has come to a halt and a country is unable to transition to the next level in part due to inadequacies in high-level human capital. Taking the example of Singapore as a country that has avoided the middle-income trap, the authors call for ‘a much closer alignment of policies for human capital and economic development’ and a ‘human capital focussed development strategy’.(2014). This paper including a response by S. Gopinathan and others is also available at:; to be cited as: Raymond Saner and Lichia Yiu, “Learning to Grow: A Human Capital-focused Development Strategy, with Lessons from Singapore, in “Policy Debate | Learning to Grow Beyond the Middle-Income Trap - Singapore as an Export Model?” by Raymond Saner, Lichia Yiu and S. Gopinathan, International Development Policy, Graduate Institute, Nr. 1803, University of Geneva

Studying cross-border regions requires an interdisciplinary approach consisting of among others micro-economics (competitive firm behaviour, local labour markets), spatial economics (rural and urban planning and architecture), policy analysis (regulatory function of government), urban geography (migration patterns), institutional sociology (administrative culture), social psychology (social cohesion) and cultural anthropology (comparative religion and values).

icon-20140705Deliberation on the post-2015 sustainable development agenda are taking shape and the negotiations on scope and financing of the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) are becoming more concrete and contentious at the same time. Sustainability has been a concern for several decades and has gained greater importance in light of increasing climate warming and continued instabilities of the social and economic sectors at global levels. Two separate UN processes are underway to determine the SDG framework namely the HLPF (High Level Political Forum) and the OWG (Open Working Group) both working on defining and negotiating the world's Sustainable Development Goals. In addition,various stakeholder groups (NGOs, Business, Civil Society, Academic Institutions) and International Organisations have started their own discussions on what issues and priorities should be core features of the coming SDGs.



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.


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.


Scholars from different academic disciplines have studied conflict and negotiations over the past centuries going back to ancient times2. This holds not only for Western societies but for the world at large. Whether highly developed with codified norms and written rules or nomadic and based on narrative culture, societies tried to make sense of conflict and attempted to develop conflict resolution methods.

Global Economic Governance from the Perspective of a "Small State" - Economic Diplomacy of Switzerland

Published by the Economic Diplomacy Programme, SAIIA, Occasional Paper, No 124, November 2012.

Accessible at Website