ITC at COP28


    COP28, the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference, kicks off in Dubai on November 30, and for the first time the subject of Trade will feature prominently at the table of negotiations. 

    ITC will highlight the importance of small businesses around the world and why climate action needs to happen with a 'just transition', which is an inclusive transition, involving the participation of small businesses, and especially those led by youth, women, indigenous communities, and marginalized groups.

    Date & location
    30 November – 12 December 2023



    ITC Events
    3 December 2023
    12:00 - 13:00
    It is time for action: Why small business need to be prioritized for a just and inclusive green transition
    Small businesses make up 90% of businesses and two-thirds of all jobs in the world – making them pillars of their communities and economies. But they suffer disproportionately from climate change, especially the SMEs led by women, young entrepreneurs, and indigenous people. If there is to be a Just Transition, that addresses issues of equity, economic development, social and labor inclusion, the voice of small businesses must be an integral part of trade and climate discussions. Small businesses are key drivers of the climate transition and can show the steps taken for low carbon production models. IT’s crucial to bring the reality on the ground to this conversation.
    Building a Just Transition in the context of small business development needs to relate to the realities of local communities, migrants, children, persons with disabilities and people in vulnerable situations and the right to development, as well as gender equality, empowerment of women and intergenerational equity.
    Ms. Pamela Coke-Hamilton
    Executive Director, International Trade Centre (ITC)
    Celeste Drake
    Deputy-Director General, International Labour Organisation (ILO)
    Rayana Edwards
    Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Sari for Change, South Africa
    Victor Menotti
    Senior Fellow, Oakland Institute, Interim US Coordinator, Global Campaign to Demand Climate Justice (DCJ)
    Txai Suruí
    Brazilian environmental activist
    4 December 2023
    10:00 - 11:30
    Climate Finance and Green Growth in Iraq: How financial services can strengthen the resilience of vulnerable communities in climate fragile countries – the case of Iraq
    To address climate change while promoting sustainable economic development, there is a need to unlock financial resources to support the transition to low-carbon development pathways, specifically projects, programs and policies for climate change mitigation and adaptation.This transition should result in economic growth that is socially and environmentally sustainable. In recent years, international and governmental funding for climate change mitigation and adaptation has increased, but these funds have largely been invested in top-down mitigation efforts with little social impact nor consideration. As climate change increases the vulnerability of low-income households (especially female-headed households), financial systems in low- and middle-income countries need to shift towards more inclusive community-led financing with greater environmental and social impacts.
    Iraq's Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) targets a conditional 15% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030, or 90 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (MMtCO2) per year. 13% of this commitment is conditional on USD 100 billion in financial and technical assistance. The country’s commitment remains modest, with significant development gaps in different sectors and a strong focus in the NDC on curbing emissions from key energy-consuming sectors (oil and gas, electricity and transport). In adaptation, strong investment in the agri-food sector is recognized as a critical element in diversifying the economy, promoting green growth, and building community resilience to the impacts of climate change.

    Key thematic discussion will revolve around.

    1- Institutional (public sector) readiness: Reflect on the Government of Iraq’s climate finance strategy to promote green growth, with a focus on bridging the funding gap and sustaining climate finance in Iraq.
    2- Leveraging impact/social investments: Discuss the role of impact investors in promoting green growth in Iraq, including opportunities to direct resources to projects and initiatives that generate positive environmental and social impacts, while meeting national climate objectives and generating financial returns.
    3- Leveraging public-private partnership (PPPs): Assess the role and potential of public-private cooperation for climate-positive investments, which is critical to identifying innovative solutions and mutually beneficial outcomes that promote sustainable economic developments and job creation.
    Ms. Vanessa Erogbogbo (Moderator)
    Chief, Green and Inclusive Value Chains, International Trade Centre
    Mr. Vamsi Duraibabu
    Regional Investment lead Middle East & North Africa (MENA), Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI)
    Dr. Maher Hammad Johan
    Undersecretary of the Ministry of Planning for Technical Affairs
    Mr. Nikita Parfeniouk
    Originator, Offset8 Capital Limited
    Mr. Martin Frick
    Director of the World Food Programme (WFP) Global Office in Berlin
    Dr. Yousif Yousif
    Director of the Directorate of Climate Change for the Iraqi Ministry of Environment
    16:30 - 17:30
    Climate Transition for SIDS, LLDCs and LDCs - role of trade & small business
    Small Island Developing States (SIDS), Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDC) Least Developed Countries (LDC) are the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change and their economies are largely driven by small business.
    This panel will explore the importance of enabling small businesses’ climate actions in SIDS, LLDCs and LDCs in the context of climate and financial justice. It will explore the need for access to climate finance for small business and marginalized communities, as well as sustainable and innovative business models. Partner: UN-OHRLLS
    Ms. Pamela Coke-Hamilton
    Executive Director, International Trade Centre (ITC)
    H.E. Rabab Fatima
    Under Secretary General and High Representative, United Nations Office of the High Representative for LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS; Secretary General for the 3rd UN Conference on LLDCs
    Dr. Hyginus ‘Gene’ Leon
    President, Caribbean Development Bank
    Dr. Carolyn Deere Birkbeck
    Executive Director, Forum on Trade, Environment & the SDGS (TESS)
    Mr. Sivendra Michael
    Climate Warrior/Youth Negotiator
    5 December 2023
    12:00 - 13:00
    Protecting the world's forests: Learnings from local efforts and international trade measures on deforestation-free global value chains
    The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report highlights that forest conservation, improved management, and restoration offer the most substantial potential for economic mitigation.
    This panel will facilitate a meaningful and solutions-oriented dialogue toward achieving deforestation-free global value chains. The conversation will highlight national and international efforts of forest protection, private sector initiatives, innovative sustainable business models, and key enabling policy solutions.
    In recognizing that deforestation is just one factor that exacerbates climate change and nature loss challenges, the panellists will explore how businesses, including smallholders, local communities and indigenous peoples can prepare for changing frameworks on environmental sustainability, and how trade and related policies can support this transition.
    Ms. Pamela Coke-Hamilton
    Executive Director, International Trade Centre (ITC)
    Ms. Vanessa Erogbogbo (Moderator)
    Chief, Green and Inclusive Value Chains, International Trade Centre
    Mr. Raoni Guerra Lucas Rajão
    Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, Brazil
    Mr. Tran Ban Hung
    Fairtrade Association, Vietnam
    Mr. Peter Justice Dery
    Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation Ghana
    Mr. Kemo Fatty
    Founder/Director of Green-Up Gambia
    6 December 2023
    13:30 - 14:30
    Leveraging sustainable and inclusive finance to accelerate climate action in trade?
    Climate finance, trade and gender are all connected- marginalized populations are among the most affected by climate change as they are more likely to struggle to adapt. The UNFCCC Paris Agreement in 2015 recognized the intersection of climate change and gender equality, but this political commitment still needs to turn into action. Existing climate finance sources show that potential gains between gender equality and climate action are seldom factored into climate investment decisions.
    This session aims to explore:
    • How the design and implementation of the current mechanisms for financing climate change are taking gender perspectives into account.
    • What are the key challenges for small businesses when it comes to climate finance.
    • How sustainable trade can support mobilizing the climate finance advance on gender equality.
    This session will showcase the small business perspective and examine the issues faced on the journey to sustainability, looking at the inclusive finance and trade solutions that can empower a small business to take climate action.
    Partner: Caribbean Development Bank & Asian Development Bank
    Ms. Ashaki Goodwin
    Coordinator (Ag.), Regional cooperation and integration, Private sector division, Caribbean Development Bank
    Mr. Joseph Murabula
    CEO, Kenya Center for Climate Innovation, Kenya
    Ms. Vanessa Erogbogbo (Moderator)
    Chief, Green and Inclusive Value Chains, International Trade Centre
    Mr. Edgar Vasquez Vela
    Director of the Global Business and Economics Research, Centre of the Exporters Association of Peru
    15:00 - 16:00
    Empowering small business climate action: the voices of ecosystem enablers
    Businesses have a greater chance to participate in the just and climate transition when they benefit from an ecosystem that provides support and services for sustainable and inclusive growth. The services provided in this ecosystem can cover a very broad range of activities provided by different actors such skills development on low-carbon production practices, advice on how to access climate finance, logistical and technical support on green technologies, climate advocacy, to name a few.
    The session will bring together ecosystem enablers and youth entrepreneurs to discuss opportunities and priorities to promote small business climate action in developing countries, and share stories of small businesses climate action from around the world.
    Fiona Shera
    Director, Division of Sustainable and Inclusive Trade, International Trade Centre (ITC)
    Hamza Cherif D’Ouezzan
    Managing Director, Anou Cooperative, Morocco
    Dr. Damie Sinanan
    Manager, Competitiveness and Export Promotion, Caribbean Export Development Agency
    Ernest Chitechi
    Corporate Services Manager, Kenya Climate Innovation Centre
    Ms. Dorothy McAuliffe
    Special Representative for Global Partnerships, U.S. department of State
    8 December 2023
    15:00 - 16:00
    Keeping cool at 1,5 degrees: Intergenerational Dialogues for the Future We Want
    This panel brings together voices from different generations to explore paths toward sustainability and a climate safe future, aligning with the theme "Keeping Cool at 1.5 Degrees: Intergenerational Dialogues for the Future We Want."
    It highlights the critical need to include often overlooked constituencies - youth, women, and indigenous communities - in our shared quest for a sustainable future. The discussion will delve into how embracing inclusivity is key to driving a green and just transformation.
    Featuring a dynamic mix of young ecopreneurs, indigenous youth, and professionals committed to inclusive trade, the panel fosters a rich, collaborative conversation. They will dissect various approaches to bridge current divides and cultivate an ecosystem conducive to nurturing the upcoming wave of socio-eco-innovators. This conversation underscores the value of diverse viewpoints in driving enduring and sustainable change, particularly on how to foster climate action in mitigation, adaptation and resilience building. It aims to shed light on how a supportive and inclusive environment can empower these leaders to usher in a world that is not only greener but also more just and equitable.
    Mr. Betrand Piccard
    Founder and Chairman, Solar Impulse Foundation
    Ms. Josefa Tauli
    Member of Secretary-General’s Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change, Ibaloi-Kankanaey Igorot indigenous youth activist
    Mr. Federico Perez
    Founder & CEO at Selvitas, Ye! Advisor Colombia
    Ms. Mawuse Gyisun
    Sommalife COO, Youth Ecopreneur Awards Finalist
    Ms. Paula Padrino Vilela
    G20 Global Land Initiative, UNCCD
    Mr. Mashur Shurid
    iPage, President & CEO, Winner Youth Ecopreneur Award 2023
    Ms. Milena Niehaus
    Youth & Trade, ITC
    16:30 - 17:30
    Launch of ITC's Green Performance Toolkit
    Resource efficiency is key for small businesses to advance their climate action and ambition. This event will launch ITC’s Green Performance Toolkit, a free online tool to support small businesses in assessing and tracking their environmental performance across eight areas: environmental management system, energy, water, waste, wastewater, air emissions, GHG emissions and chemicals and soil.
    Businesses can gather meaningful data that allows them to track their environmental performance through time, as well as indicate how far a company is from its target consumption levels.
    The panel will launch the tool and showcase pathways to resource efficiency. The panel will share a wealth of experiences, including lessons learnt from small business and business support organizations.
    Fiona Shera
    Director, Division of Sustainable and Inclusive Trade, International Trade Centre (ITC)
    Mr. Abdulrhman Zaki Elhalafawy
    Owner, Cupmena, Egypt
    Ernest Chitechi
    Corporate Services Manager, Kenya Climate Innovation Centre
    Mr. Vamsi Duraibabu
    Principal Investment Specialist, Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI)
    Ms. Ana Batalhone
    Project Lead, Green Performance Toolkit, International Trade Centre (ITC) 
    9 December 2023
    13:30 - 14:30
    Unlocking inclusion on Nature and Bioeconomy - The role of trade
    Around 1.6 billion people depend on forests for their livelihood, including some 70 million indigenous people. At the same time, the small business sector represents 90% of the world’s businesses and more than half of global employment.
    Fostering sustainable business models of nature-based value chains is essential to delivering inclusive and sustainable socio-economic development, and to accelerating the green transition.
    Particularly within developing economies and countries with significant biodiversity, the bioeconomy offers a path to better livelihoods, while preserving native flora and fauna.
    The session will bring together parties, practitioners, international and regional agencies and SMEs to explore the role trade can play in fostering sustainable and inclusive bioeconomy value chains.
    Fiona Shera
    Director, Division of Sustainable and Inclusive Trade, International Trade Centre (ITC)
    Ms. Chantal Line Carpentier
    Head, Trade, Environment, Climate Change, and Sustainable Development Branch, Division on International Trade and Commodities, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)
    Ms. Ana Margarida Castro Euler
    Business Executive Director, Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (EMBRAPA), Brazil
    Mr. Mahmood Patel
    Chief Executive Officer, Coco Hill, Barbados
    Ms. Sofia Rubio
    Chief Executive Officer, Shiwi, Peru
    10 December 2023
    10:30 - 11:30
    Global green deal: how would it fit the global south? How can the agroecology transition play a role in it?
    As many countries design their trade measures to address the climate goals, and those measures will likely impact the global trade, the participation of actors and evaluation on impacts in sectors such as food system must be understood and assessed.
    To secure the low carbon future, producers organisations, small holder farmers and communities cannot be left behind. These farmers are living through the changes in climate, are vulnerable from it, while at the same time are already providing sustainable and inclusive solutions for transforming food system.
    This session will discuss the role that trade can and should play to promote social and economic development and help deliver a just agroecology transition.
    Partners: Fairtrade International and UNEP
    Mr. Dinesh Prasad Parajuli
    Managing Director at Agriculture Enterprise Center, FNCCI, Nepal
    Ms. Josephine Akia Luyimbazi
    Country Coordinator Uganda, Participatory Ecological Land Use Management (PELUM)
    Mr. Innocent Owomuhangi
    Tea farmer and worker at Kayonza Growers Tea Factory, Uganda
    Mr. Butch Bacani
    Programme Leader, UN Environment Programme’s Principles for Sustainable Insurance Initiative
    Ms. Sandra Uwera
    Global CEO, Fair Trade International 
    Mr. Mario Cerrutti
    Chief Institutional Relations and Sustainability Officer, Lavazza Foundation
    Mr. Hernan Manson
    Head Inclusive Agribusiness Systems, International Trade Centre


    27 November 2023
    A Just and Inclusive Climate Transition for Small Business

    Trade house pavilion

    For the first time, Trade will feature as a specific theme at the COP28, and it will take place in Dubai from November 30. The conference will have a dedicated space in the Trade House pavilion, which aims to spark conversations and share solutions on how trade can help drive climate action, hosted by four international agencies: the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the International Trade Centre (ITC), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the World Trade Organization (WTO). Visit the new Trade House website to stay up to date with all events and activities and ensure that you’re also part of the conversation.


    Small businesses play a crucial role in international trade, and in fighting climate change. ITC is bringing these entrepreneurs from the around the world to give voice to their experiences.

    Man smiles wearing dark blazer and white shirt
    Hamza Cherif D'Ouezzan Anou, Morocco
    Photo by ITC

    Hamza Cherif D'Ouezzan is the driving force behind the Anou Cooperative, a movement dedicated to transforming the craft market and empowering rural artisans, promoting sustainability and community-led change. Hamza is a US State Department Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) alumnus with a master's degree from IÉSEG School of Management. 

    Anou Cooperative includes 800 artisans and rural small businesses. With ITC support, they are pioneering artisan-owned and artisan-managed direct market access initiatives that include an online marketplace for products and custom orders, as well as physical retail hubs for workshops and residencies. They champion a sustainable supply chain, introducing Africa's first carbon-negative wool mill, paired with a solar farm.

    Man in white Tshirt with arms crossed
    Mahmood Patel, Coco Hill Forest, Barbados
    Photo by ITC

    Mahmood Patel, a proficient agriculturist, hotelier, and filmmaker, is the owner and operator of Coco Hill Forest. He describes it as an agrotourism project. Patel's expertise in regenerative agroforestry, with a focus on coconuts, cocoa, and ginger, extends to his role as a delegate representing Barbados at COP28. His dedication to sustainable agriculture and the exploration of by-products further underscores his multifaceted contributions to various fields.  

    Assisted by ITC expertise, Patel is attempting to create the linkage between tourism and agriculture to help address food security, resilience and reduce foreign currency leakage. 

    Man in black Tshirt against grey background
    Abdulrhman Zaki Elhalafawy, Cupmena, Egypt
    Photo by ITC

    Abdulrhman Zaki Elhalafawy, a finalist of ITC Youth Ecopreneur Award, has over six years of experience in project management and business development and  dedicates his expertise to pressing environmental issues.  

    As a co-founder of Cupmena, he spearheads a pioneering initiative in Egypt that efficiently repurposes spent coffee grounds for mushroom cultivation, reducing carbon emissions and addressing waste management. 

    Woman in Indian print jacket stands in front of wall of saris
    Rayana Edwards, Sari for Change, South Africa
    Photo by ITC

    Rayana Edwards, a leader in South Africa's sustainable apparel industry, directs the transformative mission of Sari For Change. There, she upcycles saris into new garments, reducing waste and empowering unskilled and unemployed women, in line with ITC’s objectives of reaching climate action with a just transition.  

    Her impact extends globally, with clients in the United States, Sweden, and Denmark. Recognized for her dedication to environmentally responsible practices, Rayana, a participant in the ITC SheTrades accelerator programme, has received the Women's Leadership Award from Goldman Sachs and Fortune Media, along with the prestigious SAB Foundation Social Innovation Award in 2022 in South Africa. 

    Woman wearing headband smiles against backdrop of trees
    Sofía Rubio, Shiwi, Peru
    Photo by ITC

    Sofía Rubio works in the heart of the Amazon rainforest. She is a versatile professional, combining her passion for gastronomy, biology, and entrepreneurship to champion the conservation of nature.  

    Sofía is the founder of Shiwi, a social enterprise and a participant in the ITC Green to Compete Hub, dedicated to creating innovative market models for trading goods sourced from conservation areas in Peru. Sofía's extensive experience spans the Pacific coast, the Andes, and the Amazon rainforest in Peru. Through these endeavors, Shiwi fosters environmental conservation, community well-being, and the responsible use of natural resources in Peru. 

    Business Support Organizations

    What is a BSO, and how does it influence climate action? 

    A Business Support Organization (BSO), as classified by ITC, is any organization or institution that provides support or capacity-building services to businesses and entrepreneurs. 

    They are key support organizations that help small businesses grow, sell more, improve inclusivity, be compliant, and address various other areas. 

    For COP28, which starts on November 30, ITC will take a group of five BSOs to participate in the world's largest climate change talks, aiming to enhance their voices in the decision-making processes related to climate action. These are the five ITC BSO delegates: 

    Edgar Vásquez Vela
    Director, Exporters Association ADEX  

    ADEX is the Asociacion de Exportadores or Exporters Association, in Peru, and part of the  GreenToCompete Hubs network. In the agro export's realm, ADEX's influence has been profound, boasting over $149 million in natural product exports in 2020. The company stands as a beacon of success in tara, Amazon nut, and maca trade. The agricultural sector witnessed a collective surge, with fruits, vegetables, coffee, and cocoa contributing to an impressive $4 billion in exports during the same period. 

    ADEX actively supports green initiatives by incorporating sustainable practices and environmental considerations into its agro exports, thereby positively influencing climate action. Their manufacturing process is equally noteworthy, generating over 300 thousand jobs and driving substantial exports in confections, metal-mechanical, jewellery and goldsmith industries. In 2021 alone, confections surpassed $789 billion, featuring popular items like polos and shirts. Metal mechanical exports exceeded $397 billion, with highlights on drilling machines, while jewellery and goldsmith exports totalled over $85 billion. 

    The extractive industries sector, guided by ADEX, achieved remarkable heights. From fishing and aquaculture's over 3 billion in exports (2021) to mining and quarrying's 30 billion, spotlighting copper and gold, and timber and wood industries' over 122 million featuring closed and profiled woods. 

    Dinesh Prasad Parajuli
    Managing Director,
    Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) Nepal


    The Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry has 2,752 registered members, who are driving sustainable initiatives. 

    Kulayan Natural is one of the registered members of FNCCI, specializes in essential oils, herbs, and spices, practicing sustainable farming and partnering with local communities in a powerful Public-Private Partnership. With a processing capacity of 5.0 metric tonnes per day, it's meeting market demands in a sustainable manner. 

    Benefiting from the ITC GreenToCompete Hub through FNCCI, Kulayan Natural implemented short-term adaptation measures like cooling zones for workers and solar panels for water supply. The impact is evident - increased working capacity and higher MAPs production. Rainwater harvesting systems are in the pipeline.


    Ernest Chitechi
    Corporate Services Manager,
    Kenya Climate Innovation Center

    The Kenya Climate Innovation Center is playing a significant role in climate action by supporting small businesses in renewable energy, energy efficiency, water management, waste management, and commercial forestry, contributing to the creation of over 39,500 jobs, particularly for women and youth-led enterprises in Africa. 

    Beyond the statistics, KCIC has attracted over $47 million in investments for more than 250 businesses, generating revenues of $36 million and reducing carbon emissions by 420,866 tons. KCIC also provides a supportive ecosystem—offering advice, creating conducive working spaces, and facilitating access to funds and crucial information. 

    As COP28 approaches, KCIC's participation not only showcases their commitment to climate action but also opens doors for broader networking and collaboration. This involvement is anticipated to contribute to the broader narrative of resilience and sustainability, fostering positive impacts as a solution to climate challenges. 

    Explore the Kenya Climate Innovation Centre, a Business Support Organisation (BSO) participating in COP28. Delve into the quantitative impact of their work, emphasizing the essential role BSOs play in Kenya's economic fabric. Shed light on the broader global implications, showcasing how BSOs contribute not only to national economies but also to the world economy and trade. 

    Josephine Akia Luyimbazi
    Country Coordinator,
    Participatory Ecological Land Use Management (PELUM)

    Participatory Ecological Land Use Management is a regional network spanning 12 countries in East, Central, and Southern Africa. 

    PELUM is dedicated to improving the livelihoods of small-scale farmers through ecological land use management, with a presence in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Botswana, South Africa, Swaziland, and Ethiopia. 

    Their achievements include reaching 12,900 farmers, establishing 11 Agroecology Centers of Excellence, and influencing 12 policies, focusing on empowering women and youth.  

    PELUM's contribution to climate change mitigation in Uganda through eco-friendly agricultural practices, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, is commendable. 

    As PELUM gears up for COP28, they aim to share insights, strategies, and successes in the domain of participatory ecological land use management. Stay tuned for updates on their impactful journey at COP28. 


    Damie Sinanan
    Competitiveness and Export Promotion Manager,
    Caribbean Export Development Agency


    Caribbean Export Development Agency in COP28 ITC, highlighting their commitment to sustainability and resilience.  The Caribbean is home to more than 23 million people with a diverse cadre of businesses operating in a multitude of sectors. Caribbean Export is the regional trade and investment promotion agency focused on building a resilient Caribbean by providing cutting-edge and high-impact support to the private sector. Caribbean Export works closely with businesses to increase exports and attract investment. Milestones: 

    Partners: 5 

    Implementation rate: 85% 

    Current fund managed: $39 million (US) 

    Countries: 15 

    Tools and Resources

    Past events

    ITC at COP27

    Sharm El Sheikh

    6–18 November 2022