Ms Eveline Herfkens, Executive Coordinator of the Millennium Campaign, has called for a coherent global collaborative action to effectively deal with trade imbalances suffered by developing countries.
Addressing the maiden Geneva Trade and Development Forum at Crans-Montana on Wednesday, Ms Herfkens bemoaned the current situation where developing countries are left in fragmented negotiating processes in isolated and autistic forms.
"It is time to make trade policies part of the broader relationship, not just with other countries, but, more importantly of broader agenda of challenges of global poverty, the environment and security," she said.
The four-day forum was organized on the theme: "Inclusive Trade Globalization".
The Millennium Campaign is an initiative by the United Nations to inform and encourage people's involvement and action for the realization of the Millennium Development Goals that will end extreme poverty across the globe.
The Forum, an initiative of Ideas Centre, a Non-Governmental Organization, is a neutral and focused platform dedicated to helping low-income countries to integrate into the world trading system, in a way that would support the national poverty reduction and economic development efforts of developing countries.
Ms Herfkens said given the current global challenges, it was imperative to promote inclusive sustainable growth, employment and prosperity for all, than the global trade systems which impeded the prospects of poor and developing countries.
She entreated major actors, especially citizens of developed countries to hold their governments to accounts for the lofty and broken promises they continue to make, forgetting that the world faces multiple daunting challenges in the area of climate change, terrorism, food crisis, water and fuel crises and economic downturn.
"I wholeheartedly agree that developed countries consume African strawberries at Christmas as it would support millions of livelihoods in poor countries, which have few other high-value added exports."
She said it was time to educate public opinion, increase taxpayers and consumer awareness of the costs and perils of present protectionism, aimed at curtailing policies to end vested interest and lobbies dominating the trade policy globally.
Mr Jean-Michel Cina, President, Council of State of Valais Region, said the GTDF sought to provide an enduring platform for reflection, innovation, debate and dialogue.
He commended the organizers for their resolve and hoped that the corporate expectation of the forum would be realized towards addressing the trade imbalances brought about by international trade.
The forum is being attended by governments and representatives of international organizations, Civil Society groupings, academia, as well as private sector players from 45 developing countries.