Global governance

Davos 2020: Four ways ICC is contributing to a cohesive and sustainable world

  • 16 January 2020

International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Secretary General John W.H. Denton AO will join world leaders at next week’s World Economic Forum in Davos to advance a more cohesive and sustainable world.

The 50th edition of the Forum will take place from 21-24 January in Davos, Switzerland with an expected 3,000 delegates set to discuss issues ranging from trade governance, climate change, digital technology and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Here are four ways in which ICC will engage in this year’s Forum as the institutional representative of 45 million companies worldwide:

1). Advocating for multilateral, rules-based trade

Since we were founded over a century ago, ICC has been committed to the creation and maintenance of a rules-based, multilateral trade order that ensures the free flow of goods among markets. The ICC Declaration on the Next Century of Global Business, which outlines the organisation’s strategic prioritises, identifies the preserving and modernising the global trading system as among the organisation’s top priorities for the future.

Under the campaign, “Make Trade Work for People and Planet,” ICC has championed policies that support private sector development and sustainable and inclusive growth for all. ICC has convened leaders from around the world through the Global Dialogue on Trade and Trade Dialogues online platforms to facilitate open debates between stakeholders from business, multilateral organisations and academia, on the future of international trade.

From strengthening WTO governance on issues, like e-commerce, to supporting robust dispute settlement mechanisms, ICC advocates for a reformed multilateral trade system that works for everyone, every day, and everywhere.

2). Building bridges between trade and climate

In recognition of the urgent need for climate action, ICC advocates for multilateral trade policies that support business and effectively address environmental challenges. Since the 2019 United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), ICC has hosted a series of consultations examining the nexus of trade and climate policy with notable participants from organisations, like the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Jacques Delors Institute.

Ahead of the Forum in Davos this year, Mr Denton has co-authored a blog post with Carolyn Deere Birkbeck, Senior Researcher at the Graduate Institute. It calls upon governments to better align their trade and climate policies. The post previews an ICC-hosted breakfast roundtable on “Achieving Sustainable Growth Through Global Trade.” The event will take place in Davos on 22 January, and will feature Mr Denton, alongside Roberto Azevedo, Director-General of the World Trade Organization, and other organisations, such as UN Environment, for discussions on driving sustainable development.

3). Making Technology Work for All

This year’s Forum will also examine the societal and economic ramifications of emerging technologies, with the intention of creating a global consensus on the deployment of digital tools as part of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

As part of our Make Technology Work for All campaign, ICC is dedicated to working with governments and other stakeholders to enhance trust in digital technologies and to ensure that workers are adequately prepared to thrive in an environment of constant technological change. Launched on the sidelines of last year’s Internet Governance Forum, the campaign underscores the importance of government and business working in partnership to provide meaningful digital access to all.

During this year’s Forum, ICC and the Government of Singapore will host an event on “Taking Trade Digital” to showcase how public-private partnerships can transition international trade from paper-based system to a more digital future.

4). Creating digital solutions for the private sector

Already, ICC’s Centre of Future Trade in Singapore has sought to accelerate the adoption of digital trade finance solutions through the development of innovative blockchain products. In partnership with Perlin, a Singapore-based technology company, ICC has deployed ICC TradeFlow, a blockchain platform that simplifies the trade documentation process for business.

Similarly, the ICC Banking Commission has issued electronic rules (eRules) to advance the digitalisation of trade finance practices. These eRules, which came into effect in July 2019, ensure that ICC’s banking rules are digitally compliant and are reflective of technological trends that develop in the industry. By embracing a paperless future, the eRules ensure the eRules remain relevant and applicable to banks and other trade finance institutions.

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