Background information: There is general consensus that trade must occupy a central place in an effective global partnership for development to achieve poverty reduction goals. But policy analysis has focused more on the short-term effects of trade liberalization on poverty than on the role of trade in sustained national economic development and poverty reduction. Moreover, there is still a need to better understand the links between trade, growth and income convergence among countries, as well as the impact of the extent and form of trade integration, and of different patterns of trade development, on growth and poverty within countries.Much recent thinking in the area of poverty reduction strategies has been based on the view that more trade and rapid trade integration foster economic growth and that higher growth rates reduce poverty. UNCTAD agrees that promoting rapid and sustained economic growth should be at the core of any poverty reduction and development strategy. At the same time, UNCTAD has shown that higher levels of trade and rapid trade integration may be necessary but not sufficient conditions for an optimal poverty reduction strategy.
Purpose: The Round Table will provide a forum for policy makers and representatives of academia, international organizations and civil society to debate the issues, and it will focus on the linkages between trade and poverty from a developmental perspective. Presentations of lessons learned from a regional perspective will set the stage for a debate to pave the way for possible convergences of views on answers to the following questions:
- What national and international policies should be pursued to ensure that trade effectively supports poverty reduction?
- What institutional mechanisms are needed to promote such policies?
- Provide different perspectives and experiences for a better understanding of the linkages between trade and poverty;
- Pave the way for a network approach on trade and poverty;
- Enable Governments to better use trade as a poverty reduction tool at both the national and international levels, drawing from future research and intergovernmental deliberations; and
- Contribute to the establishment of a global database of research, programmes, products and services on making trade pro-poor, with links to a website and an online discussion forum.
Contact: Ms. Masoumeh Malmberg, UNCTAD. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org