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CLAC makes an outstanding participation in the 15th International Conference of Fair Trade Towns – Quito 2022

Members of the Board of Directors of the Latin American and Caribbean Network of Fair Trade Small Producers and Workers (CLAC) and of Fairtrade International, and representatives of small producer organizations, local committees and national platforms participated in the 15th International Conference of Fair Trade Towns, which was held ofr the first time in Latin America. 

The meeting was held from the 21st to the 23rd of october in Quito, Ecuador, with the slogan “Fair Trade in the Construction of Sustainable Cities”,  and had the participation of representantives of the 12 cities for Fair Trade in Latin America and the Caribbean. More than 300 people participated in person and other 300 participated virtually in the conference that was held for the first time in a hybrid way.

“I believe we all agree that a sustainable city needs to be fair. For 2050, two thirds of the global population will be urban and those living in cities will depend on the agricultural products that are harvested outside the cities. However, our agricultural models are not sustainable” due to the unequal distributioin of wealth,

said Laurence Tanty, Fairtrade International board member during the inauguration ceremony. She informed that there are more than 2,000 cities in the world that have joined the cities for Fair Trade movement. 

Fairtrade International´s representative highlighted the commitment of countries like Germany, that has more than 700 cities for Fair Trade, or the recent agreement with the city of Paris, which thanks to the influence of Max Havelaar France, announced a goal of having 100 percent of Fairtrade cocoa and bananas for the 30 million meals distributed schools annually.

The Vice Mayor of Quito, Brith Vaca; and the Vice Minister of Foreign Trade of Ecuador, Daniel Legarda, participated in the inauguration of the event.

“Fair Trade cities are models in the localities that are connected with the realities of small producers and citizens who seek fair trade products in the exercise of responsible consumption”,

affirmed the vice mayor of Quito, Dr. Brith Vaca, at the opening of the event.

For his part, Vice Minister Legarda highlighted that Ecuador is a benchmark in Fair Trade, since it has regulations and public policies to promote this alternative trade model, adding that “Fair Trade is more current than ever in the tools we have to face global challenges.

Fairtrade is undoubtedly an instrument that generates greater resilience in small producers and also an important tool to promote sustainable development and achieve the objectives set by the countries in the 2030 Agenda, and to face the global climate crisis as well.

“We know that there can be no climate justice without trade justice. For this reason, we recognize that Fair Trade, beyond being a model, has become an instrument to generate resilience in our organizations,” 

said Baltazar Miguel, vice president of CLAC’s board of directors, highlighting the effort made by CLAC member organizations. through the Plant a Tree Challenge campaign, which has promoted reforestation efforts in different countries.

Latin America and the Caribbean have been part of the Cities and Towns for Fair Trade campaign since 2015. In recent years, the Localize Us campaign was developed to promote responsible consumption and the Mentoring Cities program started, which allows linking two cities, one mentor and another aspirant and learn from the experiences to incorporate more local committees. Thanks to these efforts, the region went from having 7 to 12 cities declared as Fair Trade cities.

CLAC was one of the institutions that took part in the organization and development of the 15th. International Conference of Fair Trade Towns, together with the Ecuadorian Fair Trade Platform (CECJ) and the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO). Representatives of the committees of 12 cities for Fair Trade from 8 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean were part of the CLAC delegation at the conference.

The event had different panels and discussion tables in which topics such as climate change with a generational perspective, the Sustainable Development Goals and their relationship with Fair Trade, the experiences of producers from Latin America, Asia, and Africa, the commitment of universities to Fair Trade and public purchases as a market opportunity for small producers, among others.

“We know that the construction of justice in trade is a task for everyone: governments, civil society organizations, producer organizations, allies, cooperation agencies, which can form a large support group so that the Fair Trade movement can continue to grow and promote better living conditions in our region,”

said Linda Vera, CLAC advocacy specialist.

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