10th International Fair Trade Towns Conference - Baskinta, Lebanon 2016

2016-07-02  2016-07-03

The 10th Int. Fair Trade Towns conference was held in the beautiful Fair Trade Village of Baskinta, Lebanon on 2 – 3 July 2016. This milestone event was the first conference to held in the global south and served to inspire and motivate a budding Fair Trade Towns movement across the Middle East and North Africa while sending out a powerful message redefining the relationship between the North and the South from a one-way to a two-way relationship.

The theme of the conference was 'Building Bridges through Fair Trade' and was dedicated to the British MP Jo Cox who spent her life supporting Syrian refugees and fighting against global poverty and injustice before being brutally mudered just weeks before the conference. The theme reflected how Fair Trade Towns in Lebanon have created social and economic links between communities of different sects and faiths. This has led to the exchange of products, the bringing together of campaigners across previous divides and the development of a platform for solidarity and mutual support. In a country like Lebanon that has 18 different sects, and with more than a quarter of its population made up of refugees fleeing from surrounding countries ‘Building Bridges’ between different communities is a much needed side effect of the Fair Trade Town campaigns. It became a way to exchange experiences and unite efforts to fight for a common goal and the improvement of their own communities.

Menjez (North Lebanon) was the first self-proclaimed Fair Trade Town in Lebanon making a self-declaration on World Fair Trade Day (9 May) 2013. In time for the conference there will be 9 officially recognized Fair Trade Towns across Lebanon; Menjez, Baskinta, Ferzol and Mhaidthe, Bissariye, Kfar Tebnit and Ain Ebel. The host for the conference, Baskinta has a very active campaign that was able to mobilize different stakeholders in the community, through the encouragement and support of a local association called ‘Baskinta Baytouna’ involved in environmental issues, such as the implementation of a separation-at-source recycling programme.

PROGRAMME (including optional tours)

Wednesday 29 June

Visit to Menjez, first Fair Trade Town in Lebanon. 1 (optional extra)

Thursday 30 June 

Visits to cooperatives in Ferzol and Mhaidthe (optional extra)

Friday 1 July 

Beirut Tour (optional extra)

Saturday 2 July

Day 1 Conference – Building Bridges

Sunday 3 July

Day 2 Conference – Structure of the International FTTs Movement


Presentations and videos used in the conference can be accessed at: