Posts tagged #Geneva

Katharine Woolrych: Rainbow Rights at New Zealand's Universal Periodic Review

Worldwide, the rights of people with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities and sexual characteristics are under threat.    New Zealand’s third Universal Periodic Review - five-yearly process whereby a state’s compliance with international human rights treaties and norms is assessed at the United Nations - may feature New Zealand’s first ever recommendation on these issues.

Joanna Tao: Anxious and Excited at the same time - On my way to Geneva!

Before I could take a break, 2018 has already come to an end. In just less than 2 hours, I will be hopping on a 24-hour flight to Geneva, transitioning at Doha. It has been a rather tough year, transitioning into first year university and officially moving out of home, plus constant travelling around the country and the globe.  Since attending the 9th University Scholars Leadership Symposium (USLS) this August in Bangkok Thailand, I have been anticipating attending the UN BHR – United Nations forum on Business and Human Rights conference in Geneva, Switzerland. Although it is not my first time in Europe, it will be my first time flying alone to one of the world’s diplomatic capital since I turn 18.


My very first UN experience occurred earlier this year in Bangkok Thailand, where I was selected as one of the two young journalists in the southern hemisphere on behalf of YRE (Young Reporters for the Environment) global to attend the conference. The experience I have gained from this conference was rather eye opening, as it made me realized that climate change affects all aspects and it is interconnected with all parts of the SDGs. Unlike my two-other amazing delegates Katrine and Libby, I am someone who comes from a strong background of environmentalism, I have focused my activism work around climate actions and environment protection rather than human rights. In saying so, I do have high expectations for this conference as I am going in with an open mind, hoping to hear about some of the world’s most complex problems in person and network with other youth delegates in a global scale.


Leading up to my departure from Auckland, I had some time to reflect on how I would maximise my time in Europe. One particular thing that has crossed my mind is what is the one thing I would like to learn more about, from attending a conference that is in a field that I am unfamiliar with. Just as I was typing away on my laptop and reading upon recent articles, a NZ herald article with the title of “Air New Zealand scraps single use plastic from flights” caught my attention. With the biggest New Zealand airline removing a further of 14 single-use plastic products from its flights over the next year, this sure is good news on reducing anymore single use plastic heading into landfill. Just like that, a thought occurred to me – heading into a UN forum based on business and human rights, I could possibly research into how more NZ business can become more sustainable and contribute to reducing carbon footprints locally. The forum is a perfect opportunity for me to ask the question of how local business in NZ can to be more sustainable; how can we help small enterprise to learn the impact climate change has on them and reduce importing plastic packaging from overseas; lastly, how can we as consumers create a difference in the supply-chain process?


And just like that, anxious and excited at the same time, I am on my way to Geneva. In a year filled with ups and downs, I cannot be readier to expand my horizons furthermore and get to know my other two delegates on our 11-day journey in Europe.

Departing Geneva

 Geneva is a city that has much to offer to travellers, so I tried to fit in as much as I could into the three days I had before leaving.  I learnt about some of the history of Old Geneva, particularly its important role in the Reformation through the likes of Martin Luther and John Calvin.  Its bohemian district Carouge had plenty of patisseries and cafes for me to eat at, and was only a short train ride from the city centre.  Also, there was an exhibition about the pharaoh Tutankhamen in town which included exact replicas of his entire tomb and the possessions within it.  Before I knew it I was on my way to the airport for my flight back home.  I had a truly wonderful time in Switzerland and learnt a lot about the main issues and topics in international trade circles.  I want to thank AYLI for selecting me to attend the 2013 WTO Public Forum and for all their help in organising what was a fantastic experience.  Also I want to thank Fonterra who generously sponsored me to attend the forum, as without them none of this would have been possible.


All posts by Institute delegates reflect their own thoughts, opinions and experiences, and do not reflect those of the Institute.

For official Institute updates, take a look here.

Posted on October 10, 2013 and filed under WTO Public Forum 2013.

WTO Public Forum Day 3

 As day three rolled around, I had already learnt so much but was keen to cap off the week with one last full day.  Most of the speakers on this day built upon the mains themes of the forum, namely the increasing importance of trade in services (specifically over the internet) to national economies, the need for WTO rules to be updated in light of this and the opportunities for greater economic growth and poverty relief that the digital economy presents, especially for less developed regions in the world.  

Some speakers and sessions however decided to focus on different issues.  For example, one was exclusively concerned with online information security i.e. what are the present risks, what individuals can do to protect personal and business information from security breaches, as well as a case study in how one multi-national company has introduced a comprehensive product tracking and systems to protect is goods as they’re traded around the world.  Breaking away from ideas that had been discussed extensively for the past two days was somewhat refreshing and rounded off the forum well.  As the final session came to a close, I felt satisfied that I had got all I could have out of the forum and had met some important and influential people along the way.  However, I was looking forward to doing some sightseeing in the time I had left.


All posts by Institute delegates reflect their own thoughts, opinions and experiences, and do not reflect those of the Institute.

For official Institute updates, take a look here.


Posted on October 3, 2013 and filed under WTO Public Forum 2013.

WTO Public Forum Day 2

Rolf Heuer, Director General of CERN, was the keynote speaker for the second day’s plenary session.  There were a lot of confused faces when he got up to speak, all asking the same question “What has physics got to do with international trade?”.  Mr Heuer’s speech turned out to be one of the most interesting I listened to over the course of the forum.  He spoke about how discoveries and breakthroughs in physics have underpinned the creation of new technologies that are used every day to manage the transport, tracking and safety of goods and services moving around the world.  Furthermore, he discussed how important the research they are currently doing at CERN will be to the world economy in the future, even in ways we cannot right now foresee.  

This idea of technological innovation being crucial to improved efficiency of trade was complemented by the idea that innovation need not necessarily be in electronics/technology.  Another speaker pointed out that one of the most important innovations which has helped facilitate trade was the creation of standardised shipping container sizes.  This has made the process of storing, transporting and offloading bulk goods much easier, as heavy machinery could be designed to match the container specifications exactly.  It was on this day that I also met a senior member of New Zealand’s permanent mission to the WTO and UN.  His insights into the conversations between country delegates over trade disputes and negotiations were very interesting given it revealed what incentives and factors influence these situations.


All posts by Institute delegates reflect their own thoughts, opinions and experiences, and do not reflect those of the Institute.

For official Institute updates, take a look here.

Posted on October 2, 2013 and filed under WTO Public Forum 2013.

WTO Public Forum Day 1

It was an early start for day one of the WTO Public Forum, hosted at their headquarters which is located right next to Lake Léman.  Arriving there in the morning I was at first a little confused about where I was supposed to be going, but soon found my way to the main hall where the daily plenary session was held.  The forum officially began with a discussion between some highly distinguished guests, such as Michael Froman, the United States Trade Representative, Roberto Azevedo, Director General of the WTO and Alexander Stubb, Minister of European Affairs and Foreign Trade for Finland.  The panel these people were on (which included other trade experts from a variety of backgrounds) had some amazing insights into the future of trade and the relevant policies governing it.  They discussed the most pressing issues and newest ideas in the trade world, which included:

  • What does market access mean when trade is intangible i.e. through (online) services? 
  • How should trade in services between economies be regulated, and is the WTO able in its present form to actually fulfil its function of enforcing the rules?
  • Understanding that a significant proportion of new global wealth creation will be directly or indirectly attributable to the digitization of information and its subsequent commercialization.

The afternoon session for each day (of which there were two) were more flexible, with attendees being able to select which smaller workshops and/or working groups they wanted to attend.  Topics for these ranged from “How can trade policy be adapted to global value chains?” to “Climate related standards and the green economy: opportunities and challenges for developing countries in South East Asia and East Africa”.


All posts by Institute delegates reflect their own thoughts, opinions and experiences, and do not reflect those of the Institute.

For official Institute updates, take a look here.

Posted on October 1, 2013 and filed under WTO Public Forum 2013.