Ecuador becomes first country to undergo innovative UNCTAD programme to assess ‘green export’ potential

10 June 2014

​UNCTAD is helping Ecuador to develop national “green sectors” that will expand exports and employment, while promoting sustainable development, in the first stage of a new programme on green export potential and policies.

How can Ecuador develop national “green sectors” to create new productive capacity, employment and export diversification opportunities while promoting sustainable development? This question will be addressed at the first national workshop in a new UNCTAD green exports programme in Quito, Ecuador, on 10 and 11 June 2014.

The workshop marks the first step in an innovative process that, after a series of consultative activities with national stakeholders, will result in the first National Green Export Review (NGER) authored by Ecuadorian experts with the support of UNCTAD.

National Green Export Reviews (NGERs) have been developed by UNCTAD as a response to a demand from emerging countries for assessments of national potential in environmentally and economically sustainable sectors, so as to facilitate the transition to a greener economy.

“Many developing countries require technical assistance to identify and construct effective policy reform packages needed to ensure development gains from a greening global economy,” Bonapas Onguglo, who is currently leading UNCTAD’s Trade, Environment, Climate Change and Sustainable Development Branch, said. “NGERs guide national stakeholders through a structured process to identify and develop new export opportunities in green goods and services.”

Each NGER is centered on a national multi-stakeholder process in requesting countries. Using UNCTAD’s “green product space” methodology, national stakeholders first identify green sectors with promising export prospects. The NGER subsequently guides stakeholders through an interactive review of the economic, regulatory, institutional and trade policy environments characterizing these sectors.

National teams including two or more experts will work closely with local stakeholders to coordinate and conduct the NGER activities and prepare final project reports.

Stakeholders, including national policymakers, will be involved through direct interviews and questionnaires, and through their participation in workshops that serve to define each NGER’s objectives and review its findings and policy-relevant conclusions.

The first of these workshops, taking place in Quito, will look at such potentially important green export sectors for Ecuador including sustainably produced cocoa, coffee, banana and other fruit producing sectors, as well as fishing and aquaculture and energy-efficient household products.

The results of the NGER will assist policymakers to design policy packages to support the development of productive capacity and tap external markets for green products and services in sectors where Ecuador has a demonstrable comparative advantage.

The National Green Export Review reports, including the NGER for Ecuador, will be published and disseminated by UNCTAD and study results will also be reviewed and discussed by researchers, national decision-makers and trade negotiators in the wider trade and development community at intergovernmental forums, organized regionally and in Geneva. In this way national experiences and best practices will be exchanged.

Countries which have already expressed an interest in collaborating with UNCTAD to produce their own NGERs include Ethiopia, Vanuatu and Oman.