For use of information media - Not an official record

13 May 2004

What is the link between wastewater treatment, organic bananas and the ban on international trade in ivory?

Each of them plays a key role in the sustainable development process and is part of the link between trade, environment and sustainable development.

The potential role of trade as an engine of sustainable development has been widely recognized, but many developing countries still perceive the issue as being driven by the developed countries.

The need to focus the international trade and environment debate on development-related issues of concern to developing countries is addressed by UNCTAD´s newest annual publication, the Trade and Environment Review , released this month.

The premier edition looks at two of the subjects of the negotiations now under way at the WTO as part of the Doha round of trade talks. The first is the relationship between specific trade obligations set out in multilateral environmental agreements and WTO rules. Here, the review sets forth the specific objectives of developing countries in these negotiations and compares the specific trade obligations under three such agreements -- the Montreal Protocol, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species and the Basel Convention.

The reduction or elimination of tariff and non-tariff barriers to environmental goods and services (EGS) is the second negotiating topic covered by the new review. One article emphasizes the risk of reading too much or too little into the text of the negotiating mandate. Could negotiations lead to new export opportunities for developing countries, or could they -- as some experts believe -- break the deadlock on non-product-related process and production methods? Other observers view the negotiating mandate as a negotiating chip, to be traded off against other issues in the final outcome of the Doha Round.

Another article on EGS presents some findings from UNCTAD capacity-building activities in selected Central American and Spanish-speaking Caribbean countries. It examines the initial results of case studies and policy dialogues aimed at filling information gaps and enhancing understanding of the structure and characteristics of the environmental services sector in beneficiary countries and also looks at relevant national legislation and present and potential EGS markets.

The Review is divided into three sections, comprising several lead articles; commentaries on the lead articles by relevant experts; and a short overview of recent intergovernmental research and of UNCTAD technical assistance and capacity-building activities in the areas of trade, environment and development.

The Review will be available online in its entirety at Readers are invited to post comments and questions in an online "reader´s forum" at


Trade and Environment Review 2003 (Sales No. 04.II.D.2, ISBN 92-1-112608-8) is available for US$ 30.00 from United Nations Publications, Two UN Plaza, Room DC2-853, Dept. PRES, New York, NY 10017, USA, T: +1 800 253 9646 or +1 212 963 8302, F: +1 212 963 3489,, or Section des Ventes et de la Commercialisation, Bureau E-4, Palais des Nations, CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland, T: +41 22 917 2614, F: +41 22 917 0027, or

For more information, please contact:
Press Office
T: +41 22 917 5828
Ulrich Hoffmann
T: +41 22 917 5780
or visit the Trade, Environment and Development website.


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