2 October 2018: A joint publication by the World Trade Organization (WTO) and UN Environment Programme (UNEP, or UN Environment) identifies how governments can work to ensure that trade and a healthy environment are mutually reinforcing. Titled, ‘Making Trade Work for the Environment, Prosperity and Resilience,’ the report “connects the dots” between sustainability, prosperity and resilience, identifies opportunities for cooperation on trade and the environment, and highlights where and how the WTO and UNEP are working in partnership.
Launched at a dialogue hosted during the WTO Public Forum by UNEP Executive Director Erik Solheim and WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo, the publication “makes the case that opening up trade in environmental goods and services is a triple win for the economy, the environment and development.” The report is the first output of a joint initiative by the two organizations on trade and the environment.
The publication notes that trade can help bridge differences in resource endowments across countries, relieving scarcities in some locations while allowing more efficient resource allocation globally. Further, trade of environmental goods and services – which spans the production of renewable energy, reduction of waste generation and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and improvement of resource efficiency – can help drive down costs or replace outdated technologies. However, the paper cautions that weather events, intensified by climate change, have disrupted production and transport networks, and pose risks to trade and prosperity.
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