Environmental issues are no longer at the periphery of trade policy—they are now an integral part of discussions on the future of international cooperation on trade. Trade policy is being asked to help facilitate the decarbonization of industries and economies, enable adaptation to climate change, support the reduction of plastic pollution, protect biodiversity, and help curb overfishing.
Diverse trade policy instruments have been used in efforts to respond to these demands, but the immediacy of environmental challenges has also spurred real change in WTO practice—from the negotiation of rules on subsidies that lead to overfishing, to the creation of several informal dialogue processes among WTO members. Trade and environment communities have started joint conversations about their respective roles in reaching shared sustainability objectives.
In this session, ministers representing three key environment-related initiatives at the WTO presented the progress achieved in each area. Following this, a stakeholder round table looked across the range of environmental challenges facing the planet and considered how well the multilateral trading system is responding—or not—to the urgency of these challenges.
1:30 P.M. – 2:00 P.M. Ministerial Panel
- Alice Tipping, Lead, Sustainable Trade, IISD
- Trade and Environmental Sustainability Structured Discussions (TESSD): Mary Ng, Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development of Canada
- Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform (FFSR): Damien O’Connor, Minister of Trade and Export Growth of New Zealand
- Informal Dialogue on Plastics Pollution and Environmentally Sustainable Plastics Trade (IDP): Daniel Legarda, Vice-Minister of International Trade of Ecuador
- Aik Hoe Lim, Director of Trade and Environment Division, WTO
2:00 P.M. – 3:00 P.M. Stakeholder Round Table
- Ieva Baršauskaitė, Senior Policy Advisor, IISD
- Carolyn Deere Birkbeck, Director, Forum on Trade, Environment and the SDGs
- Beatriz Fernandez, Associate Programme Management Officer, Environment and Trade, United Nations Environment Programme
- Isabel Jarrett, Manager, Ending Harmful Fisheries Subsidies, The Pew Charitable Trusts
- Pierre Leturcq, Senior Policy Analyst, Institute for European Environmental Policy
- Prerna Prabhakar, Programme Associate, Council on Energy Environment and Water
- Jan Yves Remy, Director, Shridath Ramphal Centre, University of the West Indies