Trade Workshop Seeks More Ambitious Outcome from Rio+20

UNCTAD19 January 2012: The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) and the UN Economic Commission for Latin American and the Caribbean (ECLAC) organized a day-long workshop on “The trade dimension of Rio+20: Unpacking the issues,” aiming to contribute expert input to States' discussions of trade and a green economy.

The workshop, held on 19 January 2012, at UN Headquarters in New York, US, covered five topics: World Trade Organization (WTO) principles and the environment; interface between multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) and trade; market opportunities in a global green economy; trade aspects of the green economy, including measures that could be taken to advance a green economy; and examination of the trade submissions to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20) and the zero draft of the Conference Outcome Document.

According to UNCTAD, “take home messages” from the workshop included that: a green economy is already happening, and the international community must strive to ensure that it does not make the poor and marginalized more so; the zero draft's language on trade could be more ambitious in this regard; there is a need to create confidence to allow countries to be bold; the limits of commodity export-led growth are known, and industrial growth is preferable; and the current trade framework does not provide enough certainty as States try to pursue a green economy.

Participants also requested UNCTAD to recommend language to improve the next draft of the Outcome Document. A second workshop is anticipated for March 2012. [Workshop Webpage] [Workshop Flyer] [Workshop Presentations]