Press releases

World Export Development Forum 2023 to spotlight green, digital trade

15 February 2023
ITC News

The flagship event of the International Trade Centre (ITC), to be hosted this year by the Government of Mongolia, takes place on 26-29 June 2023 in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

(Geneva/Ulaanbaatar) – Invest in diversifying sectors and markets through green and digital trade – that is the focus of the 2023 edition of the World Export Development Forum (WEDF), the flagship event of the Geneva-based International Trade Centre (ITC).

ITC is the joint agency of the United Nations and the World Trade Organization, and focuses on connecting small businesses to global markets. In Mongolia, the Office of the President, the Ministry of Economy and Development, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are leading the Mongolian Task Force for this event. The United Nations Country Team of Mongolia is also a partner on this event.

This year’s conference, under the theme ‘Diversify with Green Trade’, explores organic, digital and sustainable solutions to multiple crises. It focuses especially on the Asia-Pacific region, as well as landlocked developing countries (LLDCs).

Mongolia, strategically located between Europe and Asia, has potential to expand its value-added agribusiness and services, including digital services. It hosts a vibrant small business sector, including an educated workforce of women and youth-led firms.

Register for the World Export Development Forum on 26-29 June 2023 in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.


Launching WEDF 2023


This year marks the 20th WEDF, which talks trade, does business and drives development. It is unique for bringing together the voice of small business, women, young entrepreneurs, policymakers and international organizations.

ITC Executive Director Pamela Coke-Hamilton and H.E. Davaasuren Gerelmaa, Ambassador of Mongolia in Geneva, announced the conference at a hybrid launch event on 15 February at ITC headquarters.

Ms. Coke-Hamilton said: ‘Small businesses play a key role in shifting away from commodity-driven economies. Young entrepreneurs and women-led businesses are part of a more sustainable way forward. With Mongolia as our host, we look forward to convening leaders across the world to explore how to diversify with green trade and build more resilient societies.’

Ambassador Gerelmaa said: ‘As the WEDF host, we look forward to engaging with global leaders to find common solutions to the challenges we’re facing, to create a greener, more connected and inclusive future of trade.’


Highlighting the business voice: LLDCs, women and youth


WEDF will host an LLDC Private Sector Preparatory Meeting for the 2024 Landlocked Developing Countries Ministerial Conference. This WEDF side event takes place on 26 June, so that LLDC businesses include their aspirations formally in UN channels. The conclusions then will be brought to a WEDF plenary and submitted formally as part of the UN Ministerial process.

Also on 26 June, a SheTrades Mongolia Hub will be launched. This hub joins 11 other national hubs around the world, which provide training and policy advice to women in business, especially those led by women.

A young entrepreneurs pitch competition on 27 June will include finalists from several countries, including Mongolia.


Focusing on small business


The World Export Development Forum’s official opening takes place on 27 June, which is also World Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Day.

Small businesses are key to trade-led growth, job creation and smooth global value chains. In Mongolia, as in most other economies, small firms form the backbone of the economy, representing about three-quarters of the total workforce, with women making up a large share of entrepreneurs. Enabling more small businesses to connect to international markets ensures that the gains from trade are more broadly distributed.

WEDF 2023 plenaries take place on 27 and 28 June, focusing on current issues shaping global trade and business, from paths to diversify trade to scaling up youth entrepreneurship in new sectors, trade megatrends for landlocked developing countries, green trade, digital services and access to finance.

Capacity building training on organic and digital trade, specifically targeted to Mongolian small firms, rounds out the programme on 29 June.

Previous editions of WEDF have been held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (2019), Lusaka, Zambia (2018), Budapest, Hungary (2017), Colombo, Sri Lanka (2016), Doha, Qatar (2015), Kigali, Rwanda (2014), Jakarta, Indonesia (2012), Istanbul, Turkey (2011) and Chongqing, China (2010).

Register for WEDF and stay up to date as the programme evolves at:

This press release is also available in Mongolian.


About the International Trade Centre: The International Trade Centre is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. ITC assists micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in developing countries to become more competitive in global markets – thus contributing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. For more information, visit Follow ITC on Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Instagram | Flickr