From the 2nd to the 4th of June, WFTO-Europe held its Biennial Conference and Annual General Meeting  in Wuppertal (Germany), famous for its big green areas and the “Wuppertal Schwebebahn”, a suspension railway that surrounds the whole city.

The conference took place in the beautiful hotel “ Auf Dem Heiligen Berg”  and WFTO-Europe had the pleasure to welcome 44 participants from 33 different members’ organisations.

The special guest of this edition was Basma Barham, president of WFTO- Africa & Middle East and CEO at the Holy Land Handicraft Cooperative Society (HLHS) , an organisation that supports the handicraft sector in Palestine. Her presence was essential to better understand not only the work of the African branch of WFTO, but also how Fair Trade is developing in territories interested by tragic conflicts like Palestine.

The event marked as always an important moment for the network because it allowed members and staff to discuss and share their ideas regarding the future of the Fair Trade movement as well as the challenges and expectations towards WFTO and WFTO- Europe. After a brief welcome speech from Giorgio Dal Fiume, head of  the board at WFTO-Europe, the participants were invited to debate on the  key topics related to  the European and Global strategic plan through workshops.

During each session, members were divided in three small groups. In the first phase, attendants had the opportunity to exchange views on:

– Advocacy, Campaigning  and Fair Trade Towns Campaign (FTTC) with the support of Peter Möhringer from the Fair Trade Advocacy Office (FTAO)

– The revision of the charter of Fair Trade principles

–  Fair Prices Fair Wages (FPFW)

In the second phase, they addressed the main challenges regarding:

-The Guarantee System

– The Domestic Fair Trade and in particular the North-North Fair Trade

-Updates on Fair trade Retailers Standard

Crucial and significant was also the day at the headquarter  of GEPA, one of the biggest German Fair Trade organisations, where all had the opportunity to discover more about the large variety of products they sell  and expand their knowledge of the Fair Trade movement in Germany.

WFTO-Europe would like to thank all the participants for the commitment shown to improve the future of WFTO network. For those that were not there, we hope to see you for the next meeting!

Here you can find some pictures taken during the conference:

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