|Issue #24 - March 2010 - Welcome to the Vi quarterly newsletter|
New Russian university brings affiliate member count to 21
With an enrolment of 13,000 students, StPSUEF is one of the leading universities in the Russian Federation, teaching a variety of undergraduate and graduate programmes through its 13 faculties and 48 departments, institutes and scientific centers.
The Director of StPSUEF's Centre for Energy Policy Research and Training, Olga Garanina, a former Vi workshop participant, will serve as member coordinator.
Vi hosts study tours for students from Spain, Switzerland and Tanzania
The programme for the 30 students from the International Law and Economics (MILE) programme of the World Trade Institute in Berne, held February 23, included a lecture on the lessons learned from the recent financial crisis given by Heiner Flassbeck, of the Division on Globalization and Development Strategies, and an introduction to the work of UNCTAD on International Investment Agreements presented by Hamed El-Kady, of the Division on Investment and Enterprise (DIAE).
The 35 students from UB's International Economic Law and Policy (IELPO) programme participated in presentations on the latest Information Economy Report given by Rémi Lang, of the Division on Technology and Logistics, and a briefing on recent trends in FDI flows by Masataka Fujita, of DIAE.
The study tour organized for 18 students of the professional Masters program in International Trade from the University of Dar-es-Salaam was held February 15-26 and offered a tailored program covering a course on the economics of commodities production and trade presented by the UNCTAD Special Unit on Commodities. Other sessions covering international trade, finance, investment and regional matters of relevance to Africa were presented by experts from UNCTAD, the World Trade Organization and the International Trade Centre. Lucas Saronga, Minister Plenipotentiary at the Permanent Mission of Tanzania in Geneva, also made the time to discuss with the students the role of the mission in trade negotiations in Geneva.
"The sessions … gave us the opportunity to interact with Geneva-based professionals, and to meet our representatives from the Tanzania mission in Geneva, exposing us to the practical dimension of the training, and providing us with opportunities to discuss trade and development issues with experts and professionals in the field," writes study tour participant, Felix Tinkasimile.
Vi members complete Vi fellowships
Sebastián Cutrona (top, left), of Universidad Nacional de Córdoba (UNC) in Argentina, examined the potential of oil and gas to act as a driving force for regional integration in Latin America. During his fellowship he was able to broaden the scope of his research beyond the Latin American region, and to work with experts Rachid Amui, of UNCTAD's Special Unit on Commodities, Piergiuseppe Fortunato, of the Virtual Institute, and Giacomo Luciani, Director of the Gulf Research Center.
Pablo Moreno (top, right), of Universidad de la Sabana in Colombia worked with UNCTAD's Alfredo Calcagno and Jörg Mayer, of the Division on Globalization and Development Strategies, and with Leonela Santana, of the Division on International Trade in Goods and Services and Commodities (DITC). His project analyzes the Colombian financial market in light of recent financial developments, with a particular focus on commodity exchanges.
Cutrona and Moreno bring up to nine the number of fellows sponsored by the Government of Spain since last year, when the Vi hosted lecturers André Biancareli (Brazil), Marcelo Saguier and Juliana Peixoto (Argentina), Jorge Ochoa and Sascha Furst (Colombia), Felipe Muñoz (Chile) and Marcel Vaillant (Uruguay).
Martha Belete Hailu (pictured, right), of core Vi member, Addis Ababa University (AAU), worked with DITC's Luisa Rodríguez on the impact of trade liberalization on food security in Ethiopia. Her six-week Vi fellowship, the first for an Ethiopian member, was sponsored by the Government of Finland. Her first draft, which she has already presented at a faculty colloquium, looks into the consequences of Ethiopia’s joining the WTO with regard to its trade policy instruments and food security strategy, identifying challenges and options the country may have at the time of accession.
Finally, Francis Ejones, Lecturer at the Makerere University Business School (MUBS) in Uganda, spent six weeks working with DITC's Marco Fugazza to increase his knowledge of econometric tools and methods February 15 - March 26. The fellowship also allowed him to complete a Vi mentored research project entitled "Mergers and Acquisitions in Uganda’s Banking Sector: Performance, Impact and Challenges."
Ejones and Hailu are the latest fellows sponsored by the Government of Finland to enhance capacities of academics in least developed countries.
Analytical tools topic of Peruvian workshop
Led by Marco Fugazza, of UNCTAD's Division on International Trade in Goods and Services and Commodities, the workshop covered the STATA statistical analysis software, the World Integrated Trade Solution database tool, and the gravity model. The workshop also included discussions of trade topics such as regional trade agreements and the WTO.
"There was a good balance between theory and practice, using STATA to work with gravity models," said PUCP Vi member coordinator, Alan Fairlie." It was also very interesting to analyze commercial data for Peru and the Andean Community."
Peru videoconference discusses UNCTAD flagship report
Elmer Schialer, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Peruvian mission in Geneva, also contributed to the discussion, highlighting that Peru remained a recipient of Foreign Direct Investment with positive growth rates in spite of a year of economic crisis.
Linking research and policymaking in Belarus
Their most recent contribution, an analysis of Belarus’ investment climate based on the results of an annual poll of foreign investors, was presented February 19 to a Standing Committee of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus. The survey and analysis, commissioned by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs last March, was developed by a team led by Petrushkevich and Galina Shmarlovskaya, Chair of the Department of World Economics.
Russian member offers scholarship for summer programme
The scholarship covers half of the €1,290 cost of the course, which includes dormitory accommodation and planned cultural activities. Deadline for applications is April 30.
German Vi-DAAD project extended, lecture series held at Vi universities
The first series of lectures, by HTW professors Sebastian Dullien and Jan Priewe took place at Vi member universities in Brazil, South Africa and Uganda (the latter with co-funding from the Vi) in March. The project will also host two junior fellows from Tanzania and four seniors from Belarus, Chile, India and Jordan at HTW this year.
The first workshop of the year, on financial reforms in the context of the Stiglitz-commission report from 2009, is scheduled for June 9-11. A second workshop will take place in the fall.
Colombian affiliate member hosts WTO course
The course is divided into three modules: commercial policy from a regional perspective, the multilateral trade system and the Doha Development Programme and the WTO: From theory to practice.
Jordanian member reports on recent conference
The conference provided valuable opportunities for participants to exchange views on timely economic issues ranging from economic regulation, competition policy, regulation in finance, accounting, public utilities, WTO regulation, economic reform, financial crises and market failures.
Results are in from membership survey
Responses from the survey indicate that virtual services are well-liked and well-utilized by the Vi's target audience. However, although 65 percent of the respondents are satisfied with the quality and quantity of services, or consider other services more important, some say that services should be strengthened. Unfortunately, the descriptive data provided was insufficient to determine exactly how and where improvements should be focused.
Call for papers: UNCTAD Second Public Symposium
All substantive contributions will be made available on the UNCTAD website. Those of publishable quality will be published into a compendium to be disseminated to a wider audience including networks of civil society organizations, private sector, parliamentarians, member States and academia. All submitting authors will be acknowledged.
Virtual Institute workshop on extractive industries
Sponsored by the Government of Norway and organized in cooperation with the Norwegian Oil for Development Initiative, UNCTAD's Special Unit on Commodities and the University of Dar-es-Salaam, the workshop is based on new Vi teaching materials on harnessing mining and oil and gas for development.
UNCTAD will cover costs of travel and accommodation for participants from Least Developed Countries; others may participate in the workshop at their own expense. Subject matter experts may apply for funding from the Vi to contribute as resource persons.
Applications and supporting documents must be received no later than May 21.
| UNCTAD accepting applications for transition economies course|
Virtual Institute members from transition-economy countries may apply until May 14 to attend the next edition of UNCTAD's Course on Key Issues on the International Economic Agenda to be held in Baku, Azerbaijan, July 19 - August 6.
The course addresses the issue of economic development and how various external and internal factors can contribute to the attainment of national development goals. Resource persons from UNCTAD in cooperation with the UN Economic Commission for Europe and national experts from the host country will guide participants in examining trade and development topics such as the international financial system, trade, investment, technology, entrepreneurship and trade support services.
Candidates must be endorsed by their governments through their permanent mission in Geneva. In the case of academics, it is recommended that the application be accompanied by a nomination letter from their university.
Three new multimedia resources now online
The latter resource, presented by UNCTAD's Heiner Flassbeck, Director of the Division on Globalization and Development Strategies, takes a look at the good: banks begin to recover as governments inject liquidity into the system; the bad: the bailout also encourages hedgers to use banks as casinos; the ugly: the bubbles that "burst" the financial system last time have resurfaced. Are we headed for a new financial crisis?
The Vi would like to encourage you to use this resource in your classroom and to send feedback about the additional pedagogical elements we have added. The forum is exclusively for the use of registered users, so if you would like your students to exchange their ideas online, ask them to create an account on the website through the following link: http://vi.unctad.org/component/comprofiler/registers.
Trade and Environment Review 2009/2010
| The Biofuels Market: Current Situation and Alternative Scenarios|
The global credit crisis, a glut of capacity and lower oil prices are threatening the viability of the main biofuel sectors: biodiesel, next-generation fuels derived from feedstock and, to a lesser extent, ethanol. According to many experts, the “biofuels revolution” that once promised to free-up the world economy from dependence on fossil fuels is already fizzling out.
The final outcome, however, will depend on the policies that governments will implement in the near future. The UNCTAD report presents alternative decision paths governments may consider, and provides insights on the global repercussions of various scenarios. Each chapter analyzes mechanisms and issues that need to be addressed when designing and implementing sound biofuels strategies: the role and implications of biofuels blending targets; the establishment of carbon dioxide credits as an incentive for the development of a global biofuels market; the commercial viability of second generation biofuel technology; and trade opportunities for developing countries, including intellectual property rights implications.
| WTO Tariff Analysis online - http://tariffanalysis.wto.org/|
The Tariff Analysis online facility allows access to the WTO's Integrated Data Base (IDB) and Consolidated Tariff Schedules (CTS) database. These databases contain information on two sets of customs tariffs: (i) the legally bound commitments on customs duty rates, which act as ceilings on the tariffs that member governments can set (known as “bound rates”), and (ii) the rates that governments actually charge on imports, which can be lower and have a direct impact on trade flows (known as “applied rates”).
The tariffs are available at the level of “tariff line” (eight or more digits of the Harmonized System codes). Furthermore, Tariff Analysis Online allows a number of additional options for looking up and analyzing data, including tariffs, tariff quotas, and imports and countries’ commitments on agricultural subsidies. The results can be viewed on screen or downloaded and printed.
Good news for Vi member
Da Costa Ferré's excellent research skills were also rewarded at the Global Development Network (GDN) annual conference held in Prague last month, where her research proposal, co-written with UdelaR colleague, Dayna Zaclicever, won the Japanese Award for Outstanding Research on Development.
Juwaheer, Dean of UoM's Faculty of Law and Management, made the acquaintance of many network members during the last Vi meeting held in Geneva in May, 2009. She holds a PhD from the University of Mauritius, and an MBA from the University of Delhi, India.
Changes at the Vi team
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