The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon commends Fair Trade Beyond 2015

Following the transmission of the signatories of the Fair Trade Beyond 2015 Declaration the FTAO received in October post from New York. In the letter UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon states that he had taken note of our call for a new global framework that enables fair trade as a part of the renewed global partnership and commends the work of our vast network.

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Reiterating that it is his “firm conviction that the international community, including the United Nations system and the Member States, must devote due attention to the principles of fairness and the contribution of trade and investment to the sustainable eradication of poverty” Mr Ban Ki-moon expressed that he counted on the Fair Trade movement’s “strong and continued support to our overarching objective of advancing sustainable development and creating a just world where all people live with dignity and hope”.

The ”Davos of Central and Eastern Europe” discusses Fair Trade beyond 2015

The ”Davos of Central and Eastern Europe” discusses Fair Trade beyond 2015

The 23rd edition of the Economic Forum was held in the first week of September in Krynica (Poland), also known as the “Davos of Central and Eastern Europe”.

For the very first time, Fair Trade appeared on the Forum’s official programme. A panel session “Fair Trade in the future UN Sustainable Development Goals Beyond 2015: what’s the role for companies and governments?” was held on 4 September 2013, organised by the World Fair Trade Organization-Europe, in cooperation with the Polish Fair Trade Association and the Fair Trade Advocacy Office.

The panellists were Ulrike Lunacek (Member of the European Parliament from Austria and Vice President of the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament), Pawel Zalewski (Member of the European Parliament from Poland [EPP] and member of the EP International Trade Committee), Xinquan Tu (Deputy Director of the China Institute for WTO Studies, University of International Business and Economics), Marion Lieser (Executive Director of Oxfam Germany), Giorgio Dal Fiume (President of the World Fair Trade Organization-Europe) and Bernhard Herold (Member of the Board of Directors of Fairtrade International). The panel was moderated by Sergi Corbalán (Executive Director of the Fair Trade Advocacy Office).

The discussion, which was organised in the context of the upcoming United Nations General Assembly (New York, 23-27 September 2013) on the future Sustainable Development Goals Post-2015, served to exchange views on Fair Trade and on what companies, local authorities and governments can do at their level to promote trade that upholds high sustainable development standards.

The panel also served to present the results of the “Fair Trade beyond 2015” declaration. This campaign, calling on world leaders to support Fair Trade and Trade Justice in the sustainable development framework beyond 2015, is so far supported by more than 150 mayors, 120 local leaders, 250 Civil Society Organisations from 32 countries around the world.

 Fair Trade panel Economic Forum debate                                photo Fair Trade panel Economic Forum 4 Sept 2013

More information:

On the Economic Forum                     

On Fair Trade                                    

On the Fair Trade beyond 2015 declaration


Quinoa, Tool for Food Sovereignty

Mr Helmut Scholz, MEP GUE/NGL, chairman of the monitoring Group Bolivia-Ecuador of the International Trade (INTA) Committee of the European Parliament, and his Excellency Ambassador René Fernández of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, are pleased to invite you to a conference on the United Nations International Year of Quinoa. 

More information can be found here.

“Better trade”, but only for the powerful?

FTAO reaction to the UK  governments views on “better trade” with developing countries

The United Kingdom’s Secretary of State for International Development Justine Greening delivered a speech on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS).

The speech had the noble yet highly ambitious objective to identify three reasons that prevent developing countries from enjoying “better trade”. It identified three important factors that prevent developing countries to generate growth, yet without clarifying whether and how such “better trade” implies fair trading conditions for smallholder farmers and agricultural workers.

When the European Union Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs unveiled the new EU development policy Agenda for Change in 2011, he stated that one of his priorities would be supporting sustainable agriculture and small-holder farming. On 26 January 2012 the European Commission proposed a Trade, Growth and Development strategy, including the support to the participation of small businesses in trade schemes that secure added value for producers as an “effective way for producers to differentiate their product, have greater bargaining power over them and gain price premiums”.  We hope that these important EU policy considerations will encourage the British Government to continue and strengthen its support to small producers and Fair Trade in its trade and development policies.

Imbalances of power in supply chains are, after all, a key blocking factor for small producers, both in Europe and abroad, to make a decent living through trade. The EU Internal Market and Services Commissioner, Michel Barnier recently launched a debate on how the EU can ensure “fairer and more sustainable trading relationships along the food and non-food supply chain”.

In this context, we encourage the British Government to share with its EU partners the lessons learned in the UK in addressing the very same issue. The process started with the British government in 2001 endorsing a purely-voluntary system to address Unfair Trading Practices. Such system failed to deliver and the government eventually decided to appoint a Grocery Adjudicator in 2012, with the competence to initiate investigations, listen to complaints from those with knowledge of the supply chain , guaranteeing anonymity and imposing fines. Let us hope the Commission does not fall prey to the beautiful blue eyes of the agri-food industry and retailers trade associations, which, ahead of the EC decision expected for November 2013, launched with great fanfare on 17 September 2013 a purely voluntary system, with no fines and which does not adequately protect producers in non-EU countries, as a coalition representing consumers and suppliers has stated.

The way that supply chains work (or fail to) in the European Union has direct implications for both consumers and suppliers, in the EU and abroad, as witnessed by a report by Consumers International, theworld federation of consumer groups.

We call therefore on the British Government to uphold its support for open and fair markets by ensuring in Brussels that the EU puts in place, from the outset, a robust and credible mechanism to phase out Unfair Trading Practices covering the entire supply chain serving the EU market, regardless of whether such practices happen in the EU or not.

As such big challenges remain ahead of us, we look forward to our partner Non-Governmental Organisations, the British Government and the European Union Institutions with the aim to engage consumers, the private sector and governments in making trade work for the most disadvantaged.

Sergi Corbalán
Executive Director
Fair Trade Advocacy Office

UN Special Rapporteur: Q&A on Fair Trade

This Question & Answer paper was released on the occasion of World Fair Trade Day 2013 (11.05.2013) to take stock of the contribution of the fair trade movement to more just and sustainable food systems. The movement took root in the US and Northern Europe in the post-war period, and started to make inroads into retail markets from 1988, when the first Fairtrade certification initiative, Max Havelaar, was created in the Netherlands. This paper is based on an interview with the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, conducted by Marianne Wilschut for Stichting Max Havelaar (Fairtrade Netherlands). 

 Read the whole article here.



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