unctad.org | UNCTAD AND UNEP SIGN AGREEMENT TO STRENGTHEN THE SYNERGY BETWEEN TRADE AND ENVIRONMENTAL POLICIES
PRESS RELEASE
For use of information media - Not an official record
UNCTAD AND UNEP SIGN AGREEMENT TO STRENGTHEN THE SYNERGY BETWEEN TRADE AND ENVIRONMENTAL POLICIES

TAD/INF/PR/97UNEP
11 July 1997

UNCTAD and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on a technical assistance programme for promoting the complementarity of trade, environment and development objectives in developing countries. The MOU was signed in Geneva by the Secretary General of UNCTAD, Mr. Rubens Ricupero, and the Executive Director of UNEP, Ms. Elizabeth Dowdeswell.

"Since Rio, globalization and liberalization have accentuated the close relationship between trade, investment, technology and sustainable development and the need for their integrated treatment" says Mr.Rubens Ricupero, Secretary-General of UNCTAD. "This joint technical assistance programme which aims at building capacity in developing countries is expected to make an important contribution in this regard".

"Environment, trade and development are closely intertwined" says Ms.Elizabeth Dowdeswell, the Executive Director of UNEP. "The joint programme agreed upon by UNCTAD and UNEP with its focus on devising practical approaches and methodologies for the integration of environmental considerations in development planning and decision making is key to sustainable development".

For too long, environmental policies have been viewed as appendages, in which remedial action is taken once other economic priorities have been met. However, if sustainable development is to be accomplished, the experience of recent years in dealing with the intricate relationship between environment, economics, and international trade, has argued for their integration.

Under the joint technical assistance programme agreed upon today, UNCTAD and UNEP will develop policy options for governments of developing countries to consider when seeking to integrate environmental considerations in their macroeconomic policies, including trade policies. They will also propose policy instruments and mechanisms, including technology transfer, market access, finance and capacity-building, to facilitate the internalization of environmental costs.

At the national level, the programme will also aim at enhancing understanding of:

  • the economic, social, institutional and political implications of integrating environmental considerations in development planning and decision-making;
  • the environmental impacts of trade policies and agreements;
  • the trade impacts of environmental policies and agreements, particularly as they affect competitiveness in international markets; and
  • the effects of the use of trade measures and positive measures in multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) on the achievement of environmental objectives and on trade and competitiveness. The programme will be designed and implemented in close cooperation with national governments and international bodies. The two agencies will also seek the advice of representatives from academia and the private sector.

NOTIFICATIONS ON NEW RELATED PUBLICATIONS IN THE FIELD OF TRADE, ENVIRONMENT AND ECONOMICS LAUNCHED THIS WEEK IN GENEVA:

Trade, Environment and Sustainable Development: A South Asian Perspective by Veena Jha, Grant Hewison and Maree Underhill (Macmillan Press Ltd., London and St. Martin´s Press Inc., New York, 1997)

This publication provides information about how countries in South Asia are approaching the task of integrating trade, environment and development. Increased trade opportunities are necessary. But on their own, these are insufficient to allow these countries to tackle the enormous challenges they face in raising the economic and social well-being of their populations. Ensuring at the same time proper protection and conservation of their environmental resources requires far greater inflows of finance and technology and a careful hand in designing national policy structures and economic incentives, the authors state. As Minister Kamal Nath, former Minister of Environment of India wrote "this book is a valuable addition to the policy-makers´ bookshelves".

Eco-labelling and International Trade by Simonnetta Zarrilli, Veena Jha and René Vossenaar (Macmillan Press Ltd., London and St. Martin´s Press Inc., New York, 1997)

The book reflects the concern of the public with the environment and the desire of the consumers to be informed about the environmental characteristics of the products they purchase. Eco-labelling is a well-known instrument which provides this kind of information. Although an expanding activity, eco-labelling raises a range of complex questions, such as its impact on international trade, its ability to contribute to environmental improvement, and its consistency with international trade rules. The authors attempt to place the issues surrounding eco-labelling in perspective by focussing on the main eco-labelling programmes in operation and by assessing their impacts on specific product groups. Drawing on first hand information, they provide recommendations on how to promote an effective and equitable framework for eco-labelling.

The Economics of Environmental Degradation - Tragedy for the Commons edited by Timothy M. Swanson (Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd, 1996)

This volume provides an institutional approach to analyse the underlying causes of continuing environmental degradation. It focuses on and analyses a number of central issues and causes of environmental degradation, including market and policy failures, population, poverty, indebtedness and trade. Based on a critical analysis of the underlying causes of environmental degradation, the authors conclude that sustainable development is to be found in managing economic and environmental change through institutional development. Institutional adaptation is required whenever human exploitation of the environment outruns the capacity of human institutions to manage that exploitation.

Economic Values and the Environment in the Developing World by Stavros Georgiou, Dale Whittington, David Pearce and Dominic Moran (Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd, 1997)

This book provides an extensive critical survey of the application of economic valuation techniques to environmental problems in developing countries. It highlights the critical role played by valuation in developing policies to guide the allocation of resources to meet environmental management needs for sustainable development. It addresses the working of the markets and the role of cultural issues in expressing preferences. The book provides guidelines and identifies gaps to meet the needs of developing countries. The authors demonstrate in a number of country studies that the application of economic valuation is both widespread and successful in developing countries.




For more information, please contact:
UNCTAD, Mr. René Vossenaar
T: +41 22 917 5679
F: +41 22 907 0044
E: rene.vossenaar@unctad.org
or
UNEP, Mr. Hussein Abaza
T: +41 22 979 9179
F: +41 22 796 9240
E: hussein.abaza@unep.ch.


Loading..

Please wait....