The UN small business agency, the International Trade Centre (ITC), is creating and strengthening partnerships at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai, to ensure the perspectives of small businesses of developing countries are included in climate discussions. Small businesses make up 90% of all companies and two-thirds of jobs worldwide, yet their perspectives are oftentimes not reflected in policymaking.
ITC Executive Director Pamela Coke-Hamilton said: ‘Partnerships are central to the work we’re doing to ensure small businesses have the information, skills, technology and importantly, access to finance, that they need to shape the low-carbon transition. Climate action can’t come at the price of development, and the smallest and most vulnerable among us need to have a voice at decision-making tables.’
Within the first few days of the start of COP28, on 2 December, ITC signed a letter of intent with the Green Climate Fund. The partners will design and implement technical assistance projects in developing countries to make it easier for small businesses to access climate finance and investment, to help them mitigate and adapt to climate change and build resilience. ITC and the Green Climate Fund will jointly organize advocacy activities at the COP and other events to highlight the importance of climate finance in enabling small businesses to make the low-carbon transition.
ITC and the International Coffee Organization (ICO) signed a memorandum of understanding on 3 December to pilot projects – with the potential to be scaled up and replicated, for example, across ICO’s 75 member countries – to tackle the key challenges of coffee farmers. Producers will receive training on value addition, building sustainable practices into production processes, and improving productivity, coffee quality and resilience to climate change.
On 10 December, ITC, ICO and the Center for Circular Economy in Coffee will sign a tripartite agreement to support farmers and producers working in the coffee sector to implement the circular economy business model, enabling them to reduce waste in production processes.
On the first-ever Trade Day at a COP, 4 December, ITC and the United Nations Convention against Desertification (UNCCD) signed a letter of intent to broaden their partnership. The organizations will launch a programme designed to build the skills and networks of 1,700 youth-led green enterprises, particularly those focused on land restoration, to support global environmental sustainability. The five-year programme to be launched in early 2024 builds on the jointly organized Youth Ecopreneurs Awards held during the ITC flagship event, the World Export Development Forum 2023, in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Award winner Mashrur Shurid of Bangladeshi agri-tech firm iPAGE recently secured $110,000 in funding, citing the Youth Ecopreneur Awards as a key factor in this achievement.
ITC and Schneider Electric signed a memorandum of understanding on 5 December, expanding on an existing partnership, to deliver practical training on the transition to green energy technologies to youth in developing countries. The two organizations, with Atelier21, have made available a renewable energy container – a standalone green energy lab – in a technical and vocational education and training school in Guinea. They also partnered to create an online course on the energy transition on the ITC SME Trade Academy, with 800 people registered, from 50 countries
About the International Trade Centre – The International Trade Centre is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. ITC assists small and medium-sized enterprises in developing and transition economies to become more competitive in global markets, thereby contributing to sustainable economic development within the frameworks of the Aid-for-Trade agenda and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.