The Forum will bring together leaders from governments, donors, international organizations, business and academia to foster trade action in Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and inspire deeper collaborations and commitments in support of further LDC integration into global and regional trade.
2018 is a turning point for LDCs and trade, with a growing trade gap between developed nations and the world’s poorest countries and increasing instability in the world economy. The momentum we generate this year must lead to further integration of LDCs into trade at multiple scales into the future.  
At the Forum, leaders and practitioners from around the world will share what they have achieved on trade development in LDCs to date, with Aid for Trade complementing national initiatives, and will commit to doing more to ensure LDCs integrate and benefit from global trade. It will culminate in a call to action to leverage trade to combat poverty and inequality and to create a more inclusive trading system. 
avatar for Melvin Spreij

Melvin Spreij

Standards and Trade Development Facility Secretariat
Melvin heads up the Standards and Trade Development Facility (STDF) Secretariat – a global partnership that helps developing countries to boost food safety, animal and plant health, and gain and maintain market access. He oversees STDF’s Trust Fund, totalling more than US$60 million since 2006 and supporting over 180 projects in Africa, Asia-Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean. Leading a team of five experts, Melvin manages STDF’s global knowledge platform, working closely with STDF’s partner agencies (FAO, OIE, World Bank, WHO and WTO), donors, developing country governments and the public and private sector.

Melvin has longstanding expertise in trade, development, agriculture and law, as a Counsellor in the Agriculture and Commodities Division of the WTO, and previously at FAO and other international organizations. He holds a civil and business law degree from the State University Leiden, The Netherlands and has published widely on leading policy areas covering sustainable development and natural resources.