UNCTAD Electronic Commerce Week: Exploring How All Can Benefit 06/04/2017 by Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch 1 Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Later this month, the third edition of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development week dedicated to electronic commerce will take place. With a value estimated at US$22 trillion globally, e-commerce is booming for business, but mostly still escaping developing countries. Speaking at a press briefing today, Torbjörn Fredriksson, chief of the UNCTAD ICT Analysis Section, Division on Technology and Logistics, said this year’s theme, “Towards Inclusive E-Commerce” is focused on ways to get more developing countries to seize opportunities offered by ecommerce and how they can tackle hurdles on the way to that integration. UNCTAD eCommerce Week takes place from 24-28 April. Torbjörn Fredriksson, UNCTAD chief of the ICT Analysis Section, Division on Technology and Logistics According to UNCTAD, there still exists a huge divide in conducting online commerce in the world. For example, more than 70 percent of people are shopping online in Denmark, Luxembourg and the United Kingdom, while in most developing countries, such as Bangladesh, Ghana, and Indonesia that rate is just 2 percent. Fredriksson said that about 90 percent of e-commerce transaction is business to business. The programme of the week includes a number of different sessions. Fredriksson said some 500 participants are expected to attend the event. The issue of e-commerce is very high on the agenda in Geneva right now, he said, and several fora are discussing ecommerce-related issues, including UNCTAD, the World Trade Organization, and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). Fredriksson underlined in particular the launch on 24 April of the Global Survey of Internet User Protection, which contains data from 24 countries on their internet use and perception, he said. The survey includes questions relating to ecommerce, online payment methods, why users are engaging in ecommerce, and why not if they are not, he said. He also underlined a session co-organised with UNCTAD and the World Bank “Cybersecurity and Cybercrime: New tools for better cyber protection,” also on 24 April. According to the session webpage, the session will introduce new multi-disciplinary tools developed in cooperation by several institutions including UNCTAD, the World Bank, ITU, the Council of Europe, the Oxford Cybersecurity Capacity Building Center, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, the UN Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute, and the Korea Supreme Prosecutor’s Office. But, according to Fredriksson, the highlight of the week will be the 25 April, with a high-level event “Digital Transformation for All: Empowering Entrepreneurs and Small Business,” gathering participants such as the WTO Director General Roberto Azevêdo, ITU Secretary General Houlin Zhao, between 10 to 15 ministers, Alibaba founder Jack Mo, and Consumers International Director General Amanda Long. In the morning of 25 April, a ministerial closed meeting is expected to discuss “E-Commerce for Development Ministerial by the Friends of E-Commerce for Development.” The Friends of E-Commerce for Development organised a seminar at the WTO in December. At that time the group included Argentina, Costa Rica, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. According to Fredriksson the group now includes over 10 countries. Launch of E-Trade for All Online Platform Also scheduled for 25 April is the launch of the UNCTAD e-trade for all online platform, which is the core tool of the eTrade for all initiative launched in July 2016 during the UNCTAD Ministerial Conference, he said. According to the session webpage, 21 international and regional organisations, national entities and development banks are currently members of the initiative, which aims at helping developing countries to unlock the potential of e-commerce. Members of the initiative include: the African Development Bank, Consumers International, the International Association of Prosecutors, the International Civil Society Aviation Organization, the Internet Society, the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation, the International Trade Center, the ITU, UNCTAD, the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the Universal Postal Union, the World Bank Group, the World Customs Organization, and the WTO. The World Intellectual Property Organization is missing from the list, but Fredriksson said UNCTAD is communicating with WIPO to engage their participation. Also participating in the initiative, according to UNCTAD, is the private sector, such as the African Alliance for Ecommerce, Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services, DHL, eBay, Fedex, Google, International Council of Swedish Industry, PayPal, Ringier Africa, UPS, World Information Technology and Services Alliance, and the World SME [small and medium-sized enterprises] Forum. A number of companies are expected to attend the event, including Amazon, Walmart, UPS, and others, he said. There is also a high interest for users as privacy issues are rising, including about the monetisation of data by platforms such as Facebook and Google, he said. On 27 April, Liam Fox, United Kingdom Secretary of State for International Trade, is expected to deliver a key note address and reflecting on UK trade policies, as part of a session on e-commerce and SMEs, Fredriksson explained. Some 34 speakers are listed on the event website, and include ambassadors from Sweden, Costa Rica, Finland, Japan, Australia and Pakistan, and ministers from Bhutan, Argentina, Senegal, and Cambodia. Also in the list of speakers are heads and representatives of international organisations, such as the WTO, the Universal Postal Union, the International Labour Organization, ITU, the World Bank, World Customs Organization, and the International Trade Centre. Private sector actors on the list include eBay, Paypal, Alibaba, eBay, Etsy, and FedEx. Civil society is also in the list with the Internet Society, Consumers International, and CUTS. Image Credits: Catherine Saez Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related Catherine Saez may be reached at email@example.com."UNCTAD Electronic Commerce Week: Exploring How All Can Benefit" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.