Thursday, 21 June 2007

„Fair Trade at Heart”: IFAT Conference

Information provided by Gyorgyi Ujszaszi, Protect the Future, Hungary

The IFAT (International Federation of Alternative Trade) Biennial Conference which took place in Blankenberge/Belgium started on 12th May with regional meetings. The conference was hosted by 25 volunteers from Oxfam Wereldwinkels-Flanders, Oxfam Magasins Du Monde-Willon, FINE, IFAT.

The conference covered tens of imported issues as market access, partnership in Fair Trade, monitoring, business. The Fair Trade movement is facing a lot of challenges nowadays, be it the current regulation initiatives like ISO, the proliferation of other ethical schemes, the persisting lack of market access or the ongoing negotiation processes as it was stated in the conference newspaper issued on 15th May 2007.

Three hundred people have come together from 60 different countries from all over the world. Participants from the new EU member states were supported by TRIALOG.

In the cityhall of Oostende, where the municipality welcomed the IFAT conference. The city has the Fair Trade Town title.

A Fair Trade market ensured the chance to have direct negotiations with the producers. The Mohammed Islam Award marked the best FT stand. This year the winner was THAICRAFT. The award included looking for the overall style; marketability, design and range of products and information.

The decision making body of IFAT had its meeting where a new board was elected.

The three-year IFAT Global Journey ended in Brussels on 17th May 2007. It started from a slum in Mumbai in January 2004. As it was stated “…we fair trade organisations are united in our fight against poverty and for fairer world trading rule…” This message and the banner travelled through 47 countries of the world. There have been 20,000 people participating from over 800 organisations and the Global Journey message has been read in 17 different languages.

The IFAT banner at the endpoint of the Global Journey in Brussels.

Article and photos by Gyorgyi Ujszaszi, Protect the Future
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