Can aid fix trade? Audience reactions

The debate in the third Brussels Briefing saw a frank exchange of opinion between participants and discussants, with the first adding many relevant contributions to the speakers’ interventions. This dialogue focused around issues such as the importance of national priorities, the existence of unfair trade regulations, the amount of financial resources and their quality, the role of the private sector, the importance of monitoring and evaluation, and the presence of delivery mechanisms.

We caught up with some participants, asking them to briefly react on the day’s discussions.

Hilary Jeune of the Fair Trade Advocacy Office criticised the Aid for Trade process for being top down and vague about what exact actions this will bring on the ground. She suggested we should take on board some of the good recommendations made during the briefing session, referring specifically to the interventions of Ambassador Gomes and Mrs. Kinnock.

For Mariarosaria Iorio of IGNT, moving forward means focusing on institutional arrangements at the national level, examining the effects of Aid for Trade on social and gender relations, and exploring the political implications of choosing trade as a tool for development.

According to Filippo Alessi from the Italian Representation in Brussels, the focus of the debate should remain on poverty reduction. In this sense, rural farmers have to be properly supported to be active participants in the process. He therefore welcomed the possibility to have heard directly from Mr. Kiriro during the briefing session.

CTA’s Ibrahim Khadar appreciated the possibility to hear many different perspectives on the issue, from very knowledgeable speakers and participants. For Mr. Khadar, the relevance of trade for development is clear, but to make this work the AFT agenda needs to give greater attention to mechanisms of monitoring and evaluation.

Nita Deerpalsing, Member of Parliament from Mauritius, argues that issues such as aid architecture, the amount of available resources, and monitoring and evaluation are the questions that need to be further explored to make the Aid for Trade agenda really work for the poor.

See more from the 5 December briefing

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