Alliance to host session at WTO Public Forum 2021 on “Trade Beyond COVID-19: Building Resilience”

The Alliance will be hosting a session at the upcoming WTO 2021 Public Forum, which will explore the effects of COVID-19 on trade and how the multilateral trading system can build resilience to the pandemic and future crises.

The event will be held September 28 through October 1. To attend the session virtually, complete the online registration form no later than September 26.


Trade facilitation at the crossroads: Is the pandemic changing the way we cut red tape?

October 1st, 2021 at 10:00-11:00 CEST

The speed and scale of the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the fore numerous frictions along healthcare supply chains, including the distribution of personal protective equipment (PPE), vaccines and ancillary equipment. While political will is a key barrier to the equitable access to medical supplies, cumbersome trade procedures also hinder their timely distribution.

Over the last year, numerous multi-stakeholder coalitions have emerged to support the successful and equitable distribution of medical supplies. These include the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access Facility (COVAX Facility) and trade facilitation related efforts led by the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation, which recently launched projects to support the import of vaccines and rapid test kits for HIV/AIDS and malaria into Mozambique.

This session brings together representatives of public-private coalitions to share success stories and lessons learned to strengthen healthcare supply chains beyond COVID-19. How can trade strengthen resilience and recovery? What is the role of trade facilitation in enabling equitable trade? How can we keep trade flowing while protecting populations?

Philippe Isler 
Director, Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation

Charlotte Petri Gornitzka 
Deputy Executive Director, Partnerships, UNICEF

Henadi Al Saleh
Chairperson of the Board, Agility

Kanyenje Gakombe
Chairperson, KEPSA Health Sector Board

Anabel González 
Deputy Director General, World Trade Organization


Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, in cooperation with the Alliance and the International Plant Protection Convention Secretariat, will also host a session that you won’t want to miss:

From half-ripe to fully digital – how to support resilient food systems through digital trade processes

October 1st, 2021 at 13:30-14:30 CEST

In order to keep trade flowing during the pandemic, governments rushed to transform paper-based documents into digital ones, not least in the area of food and agricultural trade. For example, some governments started to accept PDF versions of phytosanitary certificates via e-mail. There was also a boom in the number of countries exchanging electronic phytosanitary certificates (ePhytos) via the ePhyto Hub since the pandemic hit, from 12 to 48. Digitalising other types of certificates in agricultural trade is also gaining traction.

Introducing more efficient and digital solutions for trade documents helps to reduce the time and cost of trade, supports safe and fair agricultural trade, and allows for a contactless application and certification process which is vital in times of a global pandemic. However, a year and a half on, it is evident that the digitalisation that took place under pandemic conditions is insufficient for creating resilient food systems in the long term and for realising the full gains from paperless processes. For this, trade processes need to be fully, truly digitalised.

This session brings together public and private sector experts to delve into what it takes to fully digitalise a trade process, the solutions that exist, and how implementation can be expanded globally. Germany and the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation will convene their partners to share experiences gathered during the pandemic and an outlook on forthcoming support to developing countries.

Abdoulaye Ndiaye
Chef de la Division Législation Phytosanitaire et Quarantine des
Plantes, Ministère de l’Agriculture et de l’Equipement Rural, Senegal

Sarah Thorn
Senior Director, Global Government Affairs, Walmart

Beth Bechdol
Deputy Director-General, Food and Agriculture Organization

Stephan Bethe
Head of Division Trade Policy, German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development

Philippe Isler
Director, Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation


Register now!