It was well worth dragging myself into the Conference Centre this morning for an 8am International Breakfast, hilariously chaired by Neil Kinnock, and featuring Glenys Kinnock (Minister of State for Europe), Baroness Ashton (UK’s European Commissioner), and Michael Cashman MEP. Political and business visitors from many developing countries attended, and prompted a lively discussion on the effects and implications of EU/global trade & aid policies, including the benefits of the Doha Development Round of current WTO trade-negotiation, lowering international trade barriers.

For me, I think this was the highlight of my Conference week, because I had the chance to speak directly to Baroness Ashton, who is Peter Mandelson’s successor in Europe, about the subject I wrote my Master’s thesis about. Virtual Water: the quantity of water used to create global traded produce, which could potentially be saved by water scarce importing countries avoiding water consumption for domestic products, but which must be supported to strengthen their ability to purchase using foreign currency. I was delighted when she invited me to contact her office with more information.