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About E15

The E15Initiative was established to convene world-class experts and institutions to generate strategic analysis and recommendations for government, business and civil society geared towards strengthening the global trade and investment system for sustainable development.

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The past few years have seen the emergence of a complex landscape of bilateral and regional trade and investment agreements. Over 432 RTAs have been notified to the WTO and there are 3,196 international investment agreements contained in trade agreements. Moreover, at least 30 new RTAs, involving more than 110 countries, are currently under negotiation with some “mega-regional agreements” – such as the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement – poised to usher in a new order in international economic governance.

In addition, deadlock in the WTO’s Doha Development Round over the past decade has reduced the global trade system’s ability to respond to new and emerging trade and development challenges, such as the reshaping of value chains, food security, the digital economy, and innovation. It is also crucial for the global trade and investment system to align with the international community’s decisions this year on a post-2015 development framework, including Sustainable Development Goals, and agreements on financing for development and climate change.

In response to the above, ICTSD launched the E15Initiative (E15) in 2011. Since then, ICTSD, the World Economic Forum, and 16 partnering institutions have brought together more than 375 leading international experts in over 80 interactive dialogues. The process has stimulated a fresh, strategic look at key challenges and opportunities for the global trade and investment system and has focused on improving its efficacy, fairness, and inclusiveness as well as its ability to promote sustainable development.

E15Initiative

Jointly implemented by the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) and the World Economic Forum, the E15Initiative was established to convene world-class experts and institutions to generate strategic analysis and recommendations for government, business, and civil society geared towards strengthening the global trade and investment system for sustainable development.

The E15Initiative launched a comprehensive set of policy options for the evolution of the global trade and investment system to 2025 at the World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting in Davos 2016.

The E15 delivered:

      • A Synthesis Report summarising and interpreting the significance of the expert group proposals in relation to eight critical imperatives faced by policymakers, business leaders and society at large. It draws directly from expert group think pieces and policy options papers.
      • A comprehensive set of policy options for strengthening the global trade and investment system for sustainable development, derived from the proceedings of fourteen thematic expert groups and three task forces between 2012 and 2015.
      • Summaries of the policy options.

In 2016-17, the initiative will engage policy makers and other target audiences in dialogues about the recommendations produced by the E15 expert groups.

ENGAGEMENT, POLICY OUTREACH AND DELIVERY

E15 experts are divided into 14 thematic groups, as well as three task forces addressing horizontal issues across the topics (explore the full list of E15 themes). The E15Initiative has helped to focus and align the top global experts on trade and investment through a series of more than 80 meetings and in the development of substantive policy options, which serve to provide an open source repository of systemic analysis and options for the future.

In addition to a series of Geneva-based diplomatic roundtable dialogues with Permanent Representatives to the WTO in 2014, the E15 outputs were presented and discussed at other major international events including at the World Economic Forum Regional and Annual Meetings in 2014, 2015 and 2016. The results of the expert groups were also discussed in detail at the ICTSD Trade and Development Symposium held in Nairobi, Kenya alongside the WTO Ministerial Conference in December 2015.

In 2016-17, ICTSD and the World Economic Forum will focus on bridging between innovative proposals stemming from the E15Initiative, business demand, societal expectations and governmental realities, to deliver sustainable development.

Policy work will proceed in two ways:
  1. Together, ICTSD and the World Economic Forum will maximise dialogue on the outputs of the E15Initiative in Geneva and in key capitals around the world.
  2. Either jointly or independently, but working in close collaboration, ICTSD and the World Economic Forum will drive further development of a subset of topics with the greatest potential mid-term growth and development impact. These will include:
  • Climate Change
  • Digital Trade
  • Global Trade and Investment Architecture
  • Investment Policy
  • RTA Exchange
  • Subsidies

PARTNERSHIPS

E15 Knowledge Partners include the International Food and Agricultural Trade Policy Council (IPC) in Washington; the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB); the World Trade Institute (WTI); the Evian Group@IMD; Chatham House; the Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES); Sweden's National Board of Trade; the National School of Development, Peking University; International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD); Climate Strategies; the Graduate Institute, Geneva; Bruegel; the European University Institute; Center for International Development at Harvard University; and the Southern Voice on Post-MDG International Development Goals. As knowledge partners and co-conveners, these organisations co-managed the work under the expert groups and provide deep expertise on thematic issues.

REPORTS

The E15 Steering Board provides overall strategic advice and guidance, reviews progress and makes recommendations for future evolution. Its members currently include:

Jonathan Fried

Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Canada to the WTO

Paul Polman

Chief Executive Officer, Unilever

Nils Smedegaard Andersen

Former Group Chief Executive Officer, A.P. Møller-Maersk A/S

Mark Weinberger

Global Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, EY

Ernesto Zedillo

Director, Yale Centre for the Study of Globalization (former president of Mexico)

Richard Samans

Managing Director and Member of the Managing Board, World Economic Forum

Ricardo Meléndez-Ortiz

Chief Executive, International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development

E15Initiative Directors are Ricardo Meléndez-Ortiz, ICTSD, and Richard Samans, World Economic Forum. The E15 is jointly implemented by ICTSD and the World Economic Forum through a joint project team including:

Harsha Vardhana Singh

Senior Associate for Strategic Research and Policy Analysis, ICTSD and former WTO Deputy Director-General, acts as E15 Knowledge Manager to ensure the work product across the groups is of the highest quality.

Marie Chamay

Director of Strategic Initiatives, ICTSD

Emily Bloom

Junior Project Officer, E15Initiative, ICTSD

Fabrice Lehmann

E15 Editor, ICTSD

Rashmi Jose

Programme Officer, E15Initiative, ICTSD

Kate Ziemba (2014-2015)

Junior Programme Officer - Communications, E15Initiative, ICTSD  

Sean Doherty

Director of International Trade & Investment, World Economic Forum

Cristian Rodriguez Chiffelle

Associate Director of International Trade and Investment, World Economic Forum

Katarina Hruba

Senior Associate, World Economic Forum

Francesca Bianchi

Project Associate, International Trade and Investment, World Economic Forum

For general inquiries about the E15Initiative or to request an interview with one of our experts, please contact:

  • Marie Chamay
  • Director of Strategic Initiatives, ICTSD
  • International Environment House 2
  • Chemin de Balexert 7-9
  • 1219 Châtelaine
  • Geneva, Switzerland
  • (+41) 22-917-8833
  • info@e15initiative.org
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