WTO rules must be revised if we are to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, says civil society

wto-2016On Thursday, 29 September, at the WTO Public Forum,  civil society speakers will argue for a change in WTO rules to achieve the SDGs. Speakers from the Third World Network,  Southern and Eastern African Trade Information and Negotiations Institute (SEATINI), Uganda, International Trade Union Confederation and LDC Watch will explain that in September 2015 governments agreed to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), but the SDGs cannot be achieved under existing WTO rules. Continue reading

East African Community seeks three month extension for decision on whether to sign the EPA with the EU.

eac_logo_web_0The East African Community (EAC) has sought a three-month extension on whether to sign the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), with the European Union, pushing back the final agreement to January 2017. EAC Chair, Tanzania’s President John Magufuli told a plenary session that after considering all the issues raised by member states, the bloc’s leaders were seeking a three-month extension to arrive at a “win-win” result. Continue reading

SEATINI fears ‘secret’ signing of EPA by Kenya and Rwanda with EU could undermine regional integration

kenya-signs-epa-in-bruxThe Southern and Eastern Africa Trade Information and Negotiating Institute (SEATINI) believes that by signing the Economic Partnership Agreement with the EU, Kenya and Rwanda are undermining regional integration. The two countries signed  the EPA on 1 Sept in Brussels, a move which pre-empted the East African Community (EAC) Summit which took place on 8 Sept,  called to enable EAC Partner States to agree on a common position on whether or not to sign the EPA, or to consider other options. Continue reading

African economic growth is not necessarily leading to prosperity

Tom Murphy, Humanosphere, 7 June 2016: Economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa fell to a 15-year low in 2015, and the downward trend is predicted to hold for 2016. It is a troubling trend for the region. With more that half of all Africans projected to be living in cities by 2050, attention is being placed on supporting urban development and getting economic growth back on track. However, some new research provides more evidence that the years of economic growth that preceded the downturn did not necessarily translate to improvements for all Africans. Continue reading

WTO Ministerial Nairobi: only five countries allowed into negotiations at the WTO Meeting – 157 countries excluded

21 December, Nairobi: On Friday, civil society activists, in Nairobi for the 10th Ministerial meeting of WTO Nairobithe World Trade Organization (WTO), including LDC Watch, protested the non-transparent and exclusive nature of the negotiations. A small group of five countries, known as the G5, is meeting behind closed doors to draft the text. The protestors pointed out that no African countries are present at these secret negotiations, which is the first WTO Ministerial on the continent of Africa, and that no Least Developed Countries (LDCs) are present in the talks. Civil society pointed out the outrageousness of rich countries pushing to abandon the so-called “Development Round” while excluding LDCs and Africans from the discussions Continue reading

WTO Ministerial: Nairobi must deliver a binding LDC package consistent with the IPoA commitment, says LDC Watch

WTO Nairobi15 December, Nairobi: Over 80 civil society experts – trdevelopment advocates, trade unionists, farmers, , and consumer activists from over 25 countries are at Nairobi for the 10th Ministerial meeting the WTO. Keys issue to be debated are WTO barriers to food security and sustainable development, the long overdue LDC package, and the need for any future agreements to address asymetries and imbalances in the existing WTO rules, particularly agriculture, Special and Differential Treatment (SDT). Continue reading

WTO agrees to unconditional 17-year exemption from pharmaceuticals patents for world’s poorest nations

Chemical patents3 Nov, Sangeeta Shashikant, Third World Network: – The United States and the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) at the World Trade Organization have reached agreement ad referendum on a pharmaceutical patent exemption for a duration of 17 years. This exemption means that the world’s poorest nations will not be obliged “to implement or apply” or “to enforce” patents as well as test data protection for pharmaceutical products until 1 January 2033. Continue reading

Global Goals will not work unless Least Developed Countriese are made a top priority

post2015_cover24 September 2015: LDC Watch, the umbrella group for civil society organisations from Least Developed Countries has insisted that the Sustainable Development Goals will not succeed unless there are additional measures to help LDCs. These include an increase in ODI to LDCs, debt cancellation, technology transfer without intellectual property rights, measures to protect against the plunder of LDCs’ natural resources, common but differentied responsibilities and immediate finance to mitigate the effects of climate change. Continue reading

EU Funding for Development, including support for LDCs

9zB414sBeC-jUxOWSFZkA2xFpF9cxSkHaD0kFuEz4kGxcAKqnXfi2o60KnM6cKe36IX4l9pIUNg-NNcJoi2tiSs6UAvrrMW5qJhlS8zuRo_m7hYwk-itojwsqhUJK3jo4ywW-W827 May, (devex) Richard Jones: Less than two months away from the third International Conference on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, many within the global development community are wondering whether top donors will step up to the challenge of financing the future sustainable development goals. Continue reading