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IISD will be taking part in various sessions at the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) 2019 Public Forum, an annual event that brings together the international trade policy community to discuss new and emerging trends, ongoing negotiations at the WTO and elsewhere, and much more. The event is taking place from October 8-11, 2019, at the WTO’s headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland under the theme “Trading Forward: Adapting to a Changing World.”

2020 Vision: how successful conclusion of fisheries subsidies negotiations can demonstrate that the WTO is adapting to a changing world.”

On Tuesday October 8, 2019, the Pew Charitable Trusts, IISD, and the Friends of Ocean Action are co-organizing this session, devoted to the ongoing negotiations among WTO members to develop new disciplines on harmful fisheries subsidies. This working session is from 2:15 – 3:45 PM in the CR.

Global trade systems and the next generation: connecting our world

On Tuesday October 8, 2019, IISD’s Carin Smaller will be participating in a panel discussion on some of the challenges facing the multilateral trading system and what it means for young people entering the workforce and pushing for more responsible trade policy and concrete action on environmental issues. Smaller is the Director, Agriculture, Trade and Investment at IISD. The session is being organized by Cargill and will be held from 5:45-7:15 PM in Room S2.

Globalizing regulation: Can the trade and investment system hold global corporations to account?

On Thursday October 10, 2019, IISD’s Joe Zhang will be participating in a panel on the potential incorporation into the multilateral trading system of measures that regulate corporate conduct in various aspects of sustainable development policy. Zhang is a Senior Law Advisor at IISD. The session is being organized by the Copenhagen Business School and will be held from 8:30-10 AM in Room S2.

Fossil fuel subsidy reform: International collaboration and the link between sustainability objectives and global trade

On Thursday October 10, 2019, the Permanent Mission of New Zealand to the WTO will be holding a session presenting the latest developments in the Friends of Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform (FFSR) process. The panel discussion will examine how international collaboration and cooperation across multiple forums could play a crucial role in helping phase out fossil fuel subsidies and transition instead to cleaner energy sources. The session will be held from 12-1:30 PM in Room E.

IISD provides an ongoing support function to the “Friends of Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform” informal group of non-G20 countries (, as they aim to build political consensus on the importance of fossil fuel subsidy reform in international and national processes and forums, including at the WTO.

How millennials could be of help in understanding and resolving the hurdles of the multilateral trading system, making it [more]inclusive and development-oriented?

On Thursday October 10, 2019, IISD’s Tristan Irschlinger will be speaking on a panel devoted to contributions millennials can make to shaping the multilateral trading system and adapting it to current and potential future needs. Irschlinger is a Policy Advisor, Fisheries Subsidies at IISD. The session is being organized by the IDEAS Centre and will be held from 3-4:30 PM in Room S2.

Investment facilitation and WTO modernisation: How the structured discussions could contribute to a strengthening of the WTO

On Friday 11 October, IISD’s Nathalie Bernasconi-Osterwalder will be speaking on a panel devoted to the ongoing structured discussions on a possible multilateral framework on investment facilitation, which is a joint initiative that launched at the WTO’s Eleventh Ministerial Conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in December 2017. Bernasconi-Osterwalder is the Senior Director, Economic Law and Policy at IISD. The session is being organized by the German Development Institute/Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) and will be held from 10:15-11:45 AM in Room E.

Please note that to attend the below sessions, and any others as part of the Public Forum, attendees must already be registered for the full event. The full program of WTO Public Forum sessions is available here:

Also, rooms and speakers may change. Attendees are advised to check the WTO Public Forum website regularly during the event for potential updates to the schedule.



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