The briefing is organized by the heads of the five United Nations agencies partnering in the United Nations Forum on Sustainability Standards (UNFSS). All United Nations and World Trade Organization delegates of member countries are invited to attend.
The meeting aims at briefing delegates on the UNFSS Launching Conference, which is scheduled to be held in Geneva on 21-22 March 2013.
Delegates will be informed of the objectives, possible structure, suitable commodity focus and some priority activities of the future Forum, as well as the main clusters of stakeholders to be represented therein.
In particular, the briefing will be an opportunity for delegates to provide guidance on the key substantive issues, commodity groups and main target stakeholders for future Forum activities. In this regard, it would be appreciated if feedback and guidance from national, public and private stakeholders in your countries could be sought to share at the briefing session.
Background to the United Nations Forum on Sustainability Standards
Voluntary sustainability standards, also known as private standards, deal with occupational safety, environmental, economic, social or animal welfare issues. They have become a critical issue in international trade and the promotion of sustainable development strategies.
Against this background, five United Nations bodies, comprising the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the International Trade Centre, the United Nations Environment Programme, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization and UNCTAD, have come together to prepare the launching of the United Nations Forum on Sustainability Standards, based on existing mandates.
The Forum will be a platform providing information, analysis and capacity-building assistance on these standards, with a particular focus on their potential value as tools for developing countries to achieve specific sustainable development goals.
It will also address potential trade or development obstacles that these standards may create, with a particular emphasis on their impact on small-scale producers and least developed countries.