Fair Trade Conference kicks off

Kathmandu: World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) Global Conference 2009 kicked off here today. WFTO promotes transparency and equity in trade and commerce through environmentally and socially responsible production patterns.

The conference will launch the WFTO logo. “WFTO believes in fair trade, no labour exploitation, no cut-throat competition and no harm to the environment,” said Padmasana Shakya, chairperson of Fair Trade Group Nepal. The group has 16 member organisations and 7000 individuals, based on different indigenous/ethic backgrounds.

Around 55 national chapters and 250 fair trade groups are participating in the five-day long conference. The conference is focusing on economic and environmental issues and searching for ways out of the economic crisis. “We are at a difficult time. On the one side, there is economic crisis and on the other climate change. So, we must focus on values of humanity in trade,” said Paul Myers, chairperson of WFTO. The group focuses on market access for marginalized producers.

Delegates will discuss trade and commerce along with climate change, sustainable business, current economic recession and fair trade management system. Apart from this, the Market Place 2009, which opened today at the conference venue, will provide market access to indigenous products. There are 80 stalls from 30 countries of Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America and Asia Pacific. “It is an d opportunity for buyers and sellers around the world,” said Kiran Bahadur Khadki, coordinator.

WFTO is an organization which promotes natural patterns of production, said Fazle Hasan Abed, founder of Bangladesh Rural Advancement (BARC), in his inaugural speech. He urged delegates to design modern production patterns that protect nature and humanity. BARC is a leading self-reliant promotion organization of Bangladesh with 68,000 community groups throughout the country. BARC Bank, along with 20 other banks of Latin America, Canada, Africa and Asia established a fair trade fund of $43 billion in 2008.

The Market Place is crammed with indigenous products from more than 30 countries. Nepal, India, Bangaldesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Pakistan are displaying their handicrafts. It will open after the daily conference till May 21.