06 September 2023

The Role of Trade & Trade Policy in Advancing Action on the SDGs: How to Boost Coherence and Cooperation?

To open Geneva Trade Week 2023, TESS hosted a plenary session to offer perspectives on how trade and trade policies are relevant to efforts to advance implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Geneva Trade Week is hosted annually at the Geneva Graduate Institute alongside the WTO Public Forum.

Hosted in the days preceding the UN Secretary General’s SDG Summit, the purpose of this event was to bring together senior leaders from across International Geneva to offer perspectives on how trade and trade policy are relevant to their efforts to advance implementation of the UN SDGs. In addition to connecting the dots between the range of actors relevant to trade and the SDG agenda in Geneva’s multilateral setting, the session aimed to make links between processes underway in the UN system in New York with relevant initiatives in Geneva.

This panel highlighted both challenges and opportunities for multilateral cooperation on trade and sustainable development, and speakers offered leadership on political strategies for catalysing action.

The session opened with a roundtable discussion among ambassadors, followed by remarks from senior leaders in Geneva-based international organizations. Following is an outline of the agenda and the guiding questions.


13:00 - 13:10 Welcome Remarks

  • Dmitry Grozoubinski, Executive Director, Geneva Trade Platform
  • Carolyn Deere Birkbeck, Founder and Executive Director, TESS, Moderator

13:10 - 13:45 Roundtable of Ambassadors

  • H.E. Mr. Matthew Wilson, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Barbados to the United Nations and other International Organisations in Geneva
  • H.E. Mr. Guilherme Patriota, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Brazil to the WTO
  • H.E. Mrs. Pimchanok Pitfield, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Thailand to the WTO and WIPO
  • H.E. Mr. Simon Manley, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the United Nations and other International Organisations in Geneva
  • H.E. Mrs. Usha Dwarka-Canabady, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Mauritius to the United Nations and other International Organisations in Geneva
  • H.E. Mr. José Valencia, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Ecuador to the WTO

13:45 - 14:00 Reflections on Priorities for International Cooperation from International Organizations

  • Ms. Miho Shirotori, Director a.i. of the Division on International Trade and Commodities, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)
  • Mr. Aik Hoe Lim, Director of the Trade and Environment Division, World Trade Organization (WTO)
  • Mr. Sangheon Lee, Director of the Employment Policy Department, International Labour Organization (ILO)

14:00 - 14:25 Open Discussion on the Way Forward

  • Ambassadors and representatives of international organizations in Geneva

14:25 - 14:30 Concluding Remarks

  • Closing remarks by the Moderator

Watch the Opening Plenary of Geneva Trade Week 2023

Hear from a roundtable of ambassadors and international organizations across International Geneva.

In collaboration with