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GENEVA − 14-15 October − To facilitate a deeper understanding of the issues, activities and opportunities for international collaboration related to the reform of fossil-fuel subsidies, the Global Subsidies Initiative (GSI) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) held a two-day conference, Increasing the Momentum of Fossil‐Fuel Subsidy Reform: Developments and Opportunities, in order to bring together country delegates and experts from international organizations, NGOs, universities and the industrial sector.

The event featured representatives from international organizations such as the OECD, UNEP, World Bank, WTO and OPEC, as well as international fora such as G-20, APEC and the Friends group of countries that support reforming fossil-fuel subsidies, who shared and reviewed their perspectives and activities. It discussed not only the scale and impacts of consumer and producer subsidies, but especially focused on international developments, reform strategies and opportunities for enhanced international cooperation.

The conference report summarises the presentations and discussions of the 2-day conference and includes a resource list of relevant documents and research reports. The presentations are also available below.



Thursday 14 October

Welcome and opening remarks, including an introduction from WTO Deputy Director-General Harsha V. Singh.

Session 1: Scale and impacts of fossil-fuel subsidies

Chair: Franz Tattenbach, President, IISD

Session 1 discussed the latest research and analysis on the scale and impacts of fossil-fuel subsidies for both consumers and producers. It also considered some of the challenges to identifying and calculating subsidies, collecting data and improving transparency.

Consumer subsidies

Producer subsidies

Session 2: International political developments

Chair: Jenilee Guebert, G-20 Research Group, University of Toronto

Session 2 gave an update on the recent political developments kick-started by the G-20 commitment to phase out inefficient fossil-fuel subsidies. The discussions included what actions forums like the G-20 and the “Friends” group can take next to progress subsidy reform.

Session 3: Political Economy of subsidy reform

Chair: Jörg Frieden, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Switzerland

Session 3 started to look at some of the key challenges to subsidy reform, particularly domestic political and public opposition, and discussed options for overcoming these challenges.


Friday 15 October

Session 4: Developing effective reform strategies

Chair: Debapriya Bhattacharya, Former Ambassador of Bangladesh to WTO and Distinguished Fellow, Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), Dhaka

Session 4 continued to discuss options for overcoming obstacles to reform, and covered different elements of designing and implementing effective subsidy reform strategies.

Session 5: Opportunities for international collaboration

Chair: Ben Simmons, Economics and Trade Branch, UNEP

Session 5 focused on identifying opportunities for future international collaboration to support national subsidy reform efforts, including a presentation of the GSI’s ‘Roadmap for International Collaboration’.

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