Calendar of WTI/UNITAR e-Learning Courses in 2011

Trade and Climate Change (20 June to 15 July 2011)

Duration: 4 Weeks
Language: English
Instructor: Dr A. E. Appleton (Partner, Appleton Luff)

Climate change is one of the most important international issues facing the world today. One controversial element of the climate change debate is the relationship between trade agreements and  measures to mitigate the effects of climate change. This course explores key legal and economic issues arising from the climate change debate, including the relationship between the WTO Agreement and multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) that address climate change. The course examines the legality under international trade rules of domestic and international trade measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as well as measures designed to influence the behaviour of trading partners. Issues addressed include: subsidies and countervailing duties, border tax adjustments, the use of technical regulations and standards to address climate change, how the WTO Agreement treats process and production methods (PPMs) that emit greenhouse gas emissions, and the WTO negotiations on environmental goods and services. Particular attention will be devoted to developing country concerns, including the economic implications for developing countries of WTO rules and MEAs affecting climate change, as well as intellectual property protection issues and technology transfer, including their role in mitigation and adaptation strategies.

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Preparing and Conducting Services Negotiations (3 to 28 October 2011)

Duration: 4 Weeks
Language: English
Instructor: Mr. Pierre Sauvé (Deputy Managing Director and Director of Studies, WTI)

Since it was established in 2001, the World Trade Institute (WTI) has trained a large number of officials and professionals on the law, economics and policy of international trade regulation in various training and education programmes offered both in Switzerland and abroad. Despite significant advances in recent years and the proliferation of negotiating theatres offering scope for learning by doing, there remains a significant deficit in knowledge and expertise, particularly in developing countries. This is particularly the case in the services field given the broad diversity of sectors such a field encompasses, the multiplicity of modes for supplying services, and the extensive degree of domestic regulation at play in negotiations. There is, as well, often a gap in policy formulation, such that the articulation between national development objectives and the place to assign to trade and investment policy in pursuit of them, is often weakly understood. For these reasons, the WTI and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), in partnership with the Trade Department at the World Bank, have decided to offer this course to a global audience in a flexible and user-friendly e-Learning format. It is hoped that this course will make a contribution to bridging the knowledge gap and redressing some of the asymmetries between developed and developing countries in the role that they play in the world trading system and more specifically in the design, conduct and implementation of service sector policies and negotiating strategies.

This course breaks down the trade negotiating cycle in services into four key “moments” and offers an analytical reading of some of the key policy challenges faced by governments and key stakeholders at each critical phase of the negotiating cycle. Key questions to which the course seeks to advance some answers are:

  • How to situate service sector policy in a country’s national development strategy and what role to assign to trade and investment liberalisation – and thus trade and investment negotiations – in such a strategy?
  • How to frame a negotiating strategy in services and conduct negotiations in a manner that is informed by the country’s overall development strategy as well as by the interests, both offensive and defensive – of key constituencies in the public and private sectors?
  • How to identify and respond to key implementation hurdles that arise after the negotiations are completed?
  • How to enhance the capacity of developing country service suppliers to make use of the space opened up by trade and investment agreements and how to design and aid for trade strategy in services that targets key implementation (regulatory) and supply-side bottlenecks?

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Managed Mobility: Trade, Migration and Labour Movement (17 October to 11 November 2011)

Duration: 4 Weeks
Language: English
Instructor: Prof. M. Panizzon (WTI/NCCR Trade Regulation, University of Bern)

The aim of this course is for trade, migration and government officials in relevant agencies as well as experts in civil society and the research community to gain an overview of the different international institutions, multilateral treaties and bilateral agreements governing labour migration.

The course focuses particular attention on the treatment of labour mobility in trade agreements, so-called Mode 4 of GATS. The course discusses the reasons behind the lack of meaningful Mode 4 commitments to date, particularly with regard to low-skill services occupations, and discusses various reform proposals such as the plurilateral request and the LDC group request formulated in the context of the WTO's Doha Round.

The course also draws lessons from bilateral migration management agreements and how they address various migratory risks facing host and source countries alike, such as overstaying workers, irregular entries, brain drain, worker exploitation, human smuggling and trafficking. Economic partnership agreements are also reviewed for their regulatory advances over Mode 4 of GATS on issues such as migrant worker return, skill testing, mutual recognition of qualifications, joint occupational shortage lists, fast-tracking of visa applications, pro-mobility visas etc.

Finally, the course presents a number of new soft law instruments, such as the Global Commission on International Migration (2005) Final Report (2005), the IOM International Agenda for Migration Management (IAMM), the UN High Level Dialogue on Migration and Development in rounding up its analysis of the provisions for managing labour mobility.

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Food Security: Can Trade and Investment improve it? (21 November to 16 December 2011)

Duration: 4 Weeks
Language: English
Instructor: Dr Christian Häberli (Senior Research Fellow, WTI/NCCR Trade Regulation)
 

Food is arguably the most basic of all human needs. While food riots seem to catch the attention of politicians and the media, this is not the case for hunger, which Nobel Prize winner Amartya Sen back in 1989 had called a ‘many-headed monster’. Sadly, no lessons were learned when in 2009 the number of hungry people exceeded 1 billion for the first time in history. Today, as foretold by the World Bank and the IMF, food prices are on the rise again. But this again seems to matter only where the hungry poor are rioting, in the Middle East and elsewhere. Worse, high food prices can not only threaten the very existence of poor consumers, for poor farmers they do not even translate into higher production and incomes.

Food insecurity has many causes, and no easy solutions. Apparently, production quantities are not part of the problem: the FAO says it is technically possible to feed 9 billion people by 2050. However, besides the production challenge there are at least three global issues working against long-term global food security: climate change and water, ‘peak oil’ and ‘peak phosphorus’, and trade distortions and subsidies. This course will start from these issues and build a conceptual framework for food security. Topics addressed in this context include different development strategies, the notions and implications of food sovereignty and self-sufficiency, biofuels and biotech (GMO), and the role of various risk management instruments. We will also examine the regulatory failures preventing especially poor farmers from producing more food at affordable prices. Our main question will be whether and under what conditions trade liberalisation and investment protection treaties could contribute to global, national and household food security.

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