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Africa, People, Americas, Prosperity, Europe, Asia Pacific

Making trade work for the environment, prosperity and resilience

UN Environment | Oct 04, 2018

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This article was originally published by UN Environment and is republished with permission.

  • UN Executive Director Erik Solheim and World Trade Organization Director-General Roberto Azevêdo launched the publication “Making trade work for the environment, prosperity and resilience” today.
  • The report identifies how governments can work together to ensure that trade and a healthy environment reinforce each other.
  • New business opportunities brought about by a more sustainable world economy could be worth an estimated US$12 trillion annually by 2030.

Geneva, October 2, 2018: Underscoring the critical role of trade practices for a sustainable future, leaders in business, government and civil society called for forward-looking trade approaches during a high-level leadership dialogue today, to propel the world towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The dialogue, hosted by UN Executive Director Erik Solheim and World Trade Organization Director-General Roberto Azevêdo, centered around the need for increased international cooperation to unlock trade opportunities that improve countries’ economies and tackle mounting environmental challenges in tandem.

“Trade can help green business expand and flourish,” Head of UN Environment Erik Solheim said. “It can promote environmental conservation and economic efficiency; and improve access to clean technologies at a lower cost. To make sure trade works for people and the environment, countries around the world will have to better align trade, environment and sustainable development policies.”

The dialogue further provided a platform to discuss the joint UN Environment – World Trade Organization publication “Making trade work for the environment, prosperity and resilience,”which identifies how governments can work together to ensure that trade and a healthy environment reinforce each other.

“A healthy environment is essential to building prosperous and resilient economies. This is one key reason why we need to bring the trade and environmental agendas closer together,” said WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo. “Today’s dialogue is an important step in that direction. But we must do more. Trade is a powerful tool to make green technologies more affordable and to help sustainable business expand. I look forward to continuing working alongside all stakeholders, including the private sector, to ensure that trade delivers benefits for people and the environment everywhere.”

The joint publication makes the case that opening up trade in environmental goods and services is a triple win for the economy, the environment and development.

According to the Business and Sustainable Development Commission, new business opportunities brought about by a more sustainable world economy could be worth an estimated US$12 trillion annually by 2030.

The report, high-level dialogue and a sustainability exhibition featuring a variety of cutting-edge environmental technologies were highlighted within the context of UN Environment and the WTO’s joint event at the WTO Public Forum. They are the first set of concrete results from a joint initiative seeking to shine a light on practical ways to bring trade and the environment closer together, and to highlight the importance of fit-for-purpose partnerships in breaking silos, overcoming bottlenecks, and creating virtuous circles between trade, healthy environments and resilient and inclusive societies.

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