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New world trade university launched at UN conference on world's poorest States

New world trade university launched at UN conference on world's poorest States

The "World Trade University" - an institute of higher learning designed to foster a broader understanding of the multilateral trading system among young people - was launched today in Brussels at the Third United Nations Conference on Least Developed Countries.

The University, formally initiated during a meeting of young entrepreneurs held as part of the Conference, will be based in Toronto with campuses in Asia and Africa. It is designed to be affordable, accessible and adapted to the present-day training needs of entrepreneurs and policy-makers from least developed countries (LDCs), other developing States and countries in transition.

The University's establishment was hailed by many participants, including Mike Moore, the Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), who emphasized the important role it would play in capacity-building throughout the world. Stressing that new technology was the "great liberating force of the century," he voiced support for the University's intention to use the Internet for its courses.

Zephirin Diabra, Associate Administrator of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), expressed hope that the University would be a powerful tool in helping entrepreneurs overcome difficulties in accessing national and international markets.

International trade was also the focus of a separate interactive session held today as part of the Conference. Addressing that event, Mr. Moore said the next round of trade negotiations -- to be launched in Doha, Qatar, in November -- would be wider in scope than previous rounds. He challenged participants to take bold action during the coming talks, saying, "If we are happy with the status quo and comfortable with the injustices brought by compromises, then let us continue to nibble at the edges of change, but if we want real change, then let us start a balanced, wider set of negotiations."

The Secretary-General of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Rubens Ricupero, emphasized the need for a fair, balanced, rules-based multilateral trading system. A new trade round was welcome if it redressed the current imbalances in the system, he said, calling for efforts to build "confidence, trust and justice in trade."

The Third UN Conference on Least Developed Countries brings together the leaders of some 30 donor States and LDCs, as well as heads of UN and other international organizations. The forum, hosted by the European Union, ends on Sunday.