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Each Small Action Builds Fair Trade

By Jade Peters, Membership Coordinator at World Fair Trade Organization Asia (WFTO-Asia), Supporting and building networks

The World Fair Trade Organization Asia’s (WFTO-Asia) - Biennial Conference is a key event for the promotion of Fair Trade in this mass consumer world, aiming to raise awareness of the benefits of Fair Trade. Fair Traders gathered to, discuss, share and exchange their Fair Trade experiences. Various workshops and presentations were held and different topics discussed, from Fair Price to new consumer trends, from Fair Trade Towns to the role of advocacy and national networks. Currently the World Fair Trade Organization has members in 75 countries, with 450 groups registered as Fair Trade Organizations. WFTO-Asia has 95 fully registered members 123 when including those in process of registration. Although Fair Trade is growing, compared to world trade, Fair Trade still has a long way to go, and this event was a welcome boost to the profile of Fair Trade in Asia.

WFTO ASIA

“We, consumers, have the most powerful weapon that anyone of us can use to change the inequalities of international trade and it is in our pockets. It’s in our wallets, it’s how we chose to spend our money, where we spend it and on whom” said Christine Gent, Executive Director of WFTO-Asia. It was the first time that the WFTO Asia conference was held in a consumer country in Asia, in Seoul, Korea. More than 20 countries were present where over 300 worldwide Fair Trade leaders including producers, activists, social entrepreneurs, students and academics gathered for the conference. 

The WFTO-Asia Annual General Meeting (AGM) which biennially takes place during the WFTO Asia conference is the moment to discuss and approve changes to the strategy and organization of WFTO-Asia. The new three year strategic plan was approved, along with resolutions relating to the office in Thailand and the commitment to work on Country Networks. During the meeting a new fee structure was proposed, the meeting agreed to put this to electronic vote. The resolution was approved by 83%, showing the strong support of the Asia membership to ensure WFTO-Asia is sustainable and self-sustained. The AGM voted in the new board: Mr. Chtria Bhahadur KC, president. Ms. Mallamma Yalawar, Vice President. Ms Mario Visitacion Ruiz Urgel, Treasurer. Mr. Joshua Begbie, Secretary. The next AGM will be held in Milan 2015 where the World Fair Trade Organization Conference will be held from 24 to 27 May.

The conference was organized by the Korea Council of Fair Trade Organizations (KFTO), Beautiful Coffee Sharing Happiness, DURE APNet, iCOOP Consumer activities, Asia Fair Trade Network, Fair Trade Korea, YMCA Café Timo and Incheon council of Fair Trade Organizations (IFTO), sponsored by Seoul Metropolitan City and supervised by Fair Trade Korea.

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