TAF2+ hosted a workshop on 6th December in Geneva, Switzerland on integrating gender and social issues into trade negotiations and agreements. The workshop brought together 27 negotiators, policymakers, NGO representatives, and participants from international organisations like ITC, UNCTAD and the World Bank, as well as staff from UK DFID and the TAF 2+ Fund Management team. Senior gender and trade experts Susan Joekes and Alicia Frohmann guided the discussions on TAF2+’s recently drafted Primer on Gender and Trade, and participants worked in smaller groups sessions on strategy for integrating gender and social inclusion into the areas of aid for trade programming and trade negotiations.
Participants shared experiences from their work on reducing social and gender inequalities through trade and development, including emerging experiences and practices to help better integrate gender and social inclusion into trade negotiations and agreement texts. In an open discussion, participants identified the challenges and opportunities in bridging social and gender-focused policy domains with those focused on trade. The workshop was intended to help identify potential areas for collaboration and to foster improved understanding and exchange between stakeholders.
The workshop was organised as part TAF’s Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) Strategy and underlined the need to develop coherent national strategies as a follow-up mechanism to the December 2017 Buenos Aires Declaration on Women and Trade. The timing of workshop was synchronized with a wider conference organised by the WTO, World Bank and Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Trade and Gender – ‘Closing the Gender Gaps: The Buenos Aires Declaration at Year One.’ Participants shared a range of views about the best means for following up the Declaration and linking this up with broader ongoing gender and trade work in regions and in individual countries. Participants considered possibilities to grow multi-stakeholder alliances between government, the private sector and civil society.
During the meeting, the TAF2+ team shared its ideas for contributing to ongoing international efforts in this area including by working with TAF2+ grantees and partners to identify and share lessons with the wider international community and by ensuring that the Fund’s demand-led support responds to requests for support in this area.
TAF2+ will continue refining strategies for supporting the integration of these issues into trade-related capacity building in the new year. Those interested in learning more about this work can contact the TAF 2+ Gender Equality and Social Inclusion lead in the Fund Manager team, Dr. Amanda Shaw, at email@example.com.