2018 Global Commodities Forum, "Building skills for sustainable development"

The Global Commodities Forum is part of the UNCTAD Technical Cooperation programme, Breaking the Chains of Commodity Dependence. The event will include the participation of the ILO Director of the Employment Policy Department and representatives of the Skills and Employability Branch.


Launched in 2010, the Forum provides a high-level, neutral multi-stakeholder platform to discuss issues related to the production and trade of commodities, with a focus on developing countries. It aims to generate partnerships and innovative policy ideas for leaders of government, the private sector and civil society.

The theme of the 2018 Global Commodities Forum is ‘Building skills for sustainable development’

Participants will examine and discuss the roles that skill development plays in the commodities sector in moving up the value chain, contributing to industrial development (Sustainable Development Goal 9) and providing decent work (Goal 8) and professional education (Goal 4). Forum participants will consider the policies and investments that are necessary to build skills as a main channel for commodity-led development strategies.

For Governments, this includes establishing responsive, scalable training programmes, ideally in collaboration with industry, before launching new value added activities. Participants will look at how to achieve efficiencies by mirroring integration strategies for commodities industries in their associated training programmes, for example through regional or multi-vocational approaches. In addition, they will learn how sustainable job creation can be useful in aligning industrial and human capital policies in commodity-led development strategies.

From the industry perspective, participants will discover how certain skills can help improve corporate performance, meet corporate social responsibility engagements, comply with local content requirements and deliver durable benefits to host communities.

Particular emphasis will be placed on how human capital development strategies should adapt to the increasing automation of the mining sector, and how these strategies help prepare for the transition to a lower-carbon energy mix in pursuit of universal access to affordable, clean energy (Goal 7) and contribute to increasing the participation of women in skilled vocations in value added activities (Goal 5).

ILO Participation

The opening ceremony will include inaugural remarks by Sangheon Lee, Director of the Employment Policy Department. Session 1 on Skills for trade and economic diversification will be moderated by Srinivas B. Reddy, Chief of the Skills and Employability Branch, with the participation of Cornelius Gregg, Senior Technical Specialist, Skills and Employability, and Beyani Munthali, Employers Consultation Association of Malawi.