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The UNLDC3 focus of the WTO Impact List has a special focus on the Third United Nations Conference on Least Developed Countries that took place in May 2001 in Brussels. With respect to the issues that we cover in this particular focus, we look at the issues discussed at this conference -- namely: food security; the ever-changing role of agriculture from an LDC perspective; UN institutions, and how they are helping to bridge the divide between the rich and poor on technologies, and possible partnerships that may emerge from either local, national, or international initiatives. We also look at the adverse effects of globalisation, not only for LDCs, but Developing Countries (DC's), too.

The RIO+10 focus of the WTOIL looks at issues relating both directly and indirectly to the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) Conference that is to take place in South Africa in September. In general, however, many of the issues that we cover for this focus are to do with Environment, Trade and Sustainable development.

In July 2001, for example, we looked at the Kyoto Protocol, and its ramifications; Multilateral Trade Policy; Bio-prospecting and Business's involvement with Sustainable development, as exemplified by the RIO+10 process.

This special focus on the World Trade Organisation is originally what the IL (Impact List) was focussed on till July 2001. Given that ICDA focusses principally on trade and development issues, this area remains a pivotal part of our advocacy work.

In general, we look at, for this focus, TRIPs; AoAs; issues affecting both developing countries and LDCs; agriculture policy -- be it the EU's Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) or the US's protectionist market -- as well as European Commission / DG Trade viewpoints, or pronouncements affecting either NGOs or international trade.

Since the WTO Ministerial in Qatar, we have been following up issues raised at Qatar. For a list of some of these important issues, please visit our WTOMC4 Page.

The Regional Trade focus could be described as the most international focus. If you're looking for any information on the major, and even smaller regional trade organisations, you can trust that ICDA's WTO Impact List would have covered it. From July onwards, we refrained from merely distributing news articles, or opinion pieces. Instead, we started to look at the dynamics behind regional trade, especially from the academic side.

In fact, we have covered issues on the following regional organisations: ACP; AGOA; APEC; ASEAN; COMESA; ECOWAS; MERCOSUR; NAFTA; SADC. Also, to make it truly international, we also look at Australasia, and have covered specials on Australia and New Zealand. Did you know, for example, that the latter two don't have a trade agreement, per se, but enjoy what they call a Closer Economic Relations act, or CER. Do you know, also, that ASEAN has its own free trade area called AFTA?

Can there ever be an International Tax Organisation? Who will regulate it? Is there political will for it? These questions are just some of those that the articles we look for seek to answer. We also look at IMF / World Bank policies, and how they are adversely affecting the countries on whom these multilateral institutions have imposed their Structural Adjustment Program (SAP). In keeping to our programme on Multinationals (TNC), we also look at the negative impacts that such enterprises have on the global economy, most of all developing countries. If there were ever to be a Tobin Tax, this could be a way of curbing them and those private individuals that amass considerable wealth. Then again, how feasible is such a prospect?

We also distribute articles on External Debt, such as those that recently affected Argentina, as well as Overseas Development Assistance (ODA); and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) articles. Most importantly, we are looking at issues that will be the subject of debate for the upcoming UN Financing for Development Conference, to be held in Monterrey, Mexico, in March.

*** 12 January, 2004 Update
  • Please see ICDA Latest News 2002 **here** for more on changes to Friday's focus.

  • Last Updated: Monday 12 January 2004 @2:38am CET
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