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UK helps give poor countries a voice in global talks

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Britain will advise and support the world's poorest countries to prepare for key trade talks and climate negotiations

The British Government will help rebalance international trade and climate negotiations ahead of crucial talks later this year, International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell announced today.

The UK will provide legal advice and support to the poorest and most vulnerable countries to prepare for and engage in key talks, including the World Trade Organisation’s trade negotiations and the UN climate change meeting in Durban.

A lack of access to legal expertise or resources means that the poorest countries can be marginalised in negotiations around their own future, making it harder to reach global and regional trade or climate deals.

The new Advocacy Fund will allow the poorest countries to remain a central part of the World Trade Organisation’s negotiations, joining the UK’s efforts to secure a conclusion to the Doha Development Round that will bring free and fair trade to poor countries.

Despite ten years of negotiations, the Doha Development Round of trade talks is at risk of failing to reach a deal which gives free and fair market access to many poor and developing nations, denying them the best chance to grow their economy, improve local incomes, generate jobs and pull themselves out of poverty.

The Advocacy Fund will also help poor and vulnerable countries to agree deals to limit global emissions and adapt for the unavoidable impact of climate change.

International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell said:

It is a great injustice that the countries who are often most affected by global challenges are least able to influence the solutions.

Rather than simply dictating to the world’s poor, we must create a level playing field by giving the poorest a voice at crucial talks to help boost trade and protect themselves from the inevitable impact of climate change.

The world must overcome the paralysis at the heart of the Doha talks and agree a deal which will bring free trade to the poorest, allowing them to pull themselves out of poverty.

Managed by expert fund managers, the scheme will provide:

  • Independent technical and legal advice to ensure that delegates can access high quality information as they prepare for key talks
  • High-quality training for negotiators to ensure they have the technical and legal skills they need to bring the same negotiating power to the table.
  • Logistical support to ensure countries can engage in key negotiations which will impact on their future. Ensuring their views are represented during lengthy and complicated negotiations severely stretches the already limited resources of developing nations. During the Copenhagen climate meetings, some of the poorest countries could only afford to send one or two delegates, as some rich nations sent more than fifty.

The Advocacy Fund will be available to delegations from the poorest and most vulnerable countries over the next four years.