May 2012, Geneva, Switzerland. The World Trade Institute (WTI, University of Bern) and UNITAR’s Public Finance and Trade Programme successfully conducted the e-Learning course on “Trade, Energy and Climate Change”. Eighteen senior and middle level officials and professionals from four continents participated in this five-week event. The main goal was to allow participants to gain a comprehensive insight of the legal and economic issues arising from the ongoing climate change debate.

Climate Change has been at the top of the international agenda for some time now and the magnitude of the issue needs to be understood, specifically regarding the correlation between trade, energy and the environment. This sparks the debate about their relationship in terms of agreements and measures to mitigate climate change effects.

Held from 16 April to 18 May, 2012, this joint WTI/UNITAR e-learning course not only included valuable learning content, but also provided an interactive platform for the middle and senior level officials who participated in the course to network and discuss issues important to their work. The course was skilfully moderated by climate change experts Dr. Olga Nartova, Ms. Sofya Matteotti and Ms. Tetyana Payosova of World Trade Institute.

The diversity of participants from Africa, the Americas, Asia and Europe rendered very lively and insightful discussions about pertinent issues such as the respective roles of developed and developing countries in addressing climate change, how to harness the global trading system to reduce climate change, whether climate change problems could be solved at the WTO, and whether multilateral or regional fora are the most suitable to deal with trade in energy issues.

The course was very well received with 94% of respondents of the end-of-course evaluation indicating that they were fully or mostly satisfied with their course. Below are comments from two course participants:

“I would really like to thank you all for this extremely interesting course. I was able to understand many new concepts and issues about the link between trade and climate change and also to deepen my knowledge of many relevant issues. Forum discussions and the multicultural learning environment are great tools to understand such a complex issue from different perspectives.”
Ms. Veronica Toscani, Inter-American Development Bank (IADB).

“I would like to thank the moderators, staff and all the participants for this great learning opportunity. Trade, energy and climate change is a very relevant topic of our time and it's very important to keep on learning and discussing about it possibly to be able to contribute the best approaches to sustainable development.” Ms. Barbara Gasperi, Italian Trade Commission.

For more information about other UNITAR e-Learning courses in the areas of finance, trade and intellectual property, please see:
http://www.unitar.org/pft/events.

For more information about WTI, please see http://www.wti.org/.