01 Dec 2021 – 03 Dec 2021

Venue: Online

Organization: International Institute for Sustainable Development

Find here activities related to the global environmental agenda that will take place at the IISD's Trade and Sustainability Hub, a mostly virtual event focused on policy issues at the intersection of trade and sustainable development, initially scheduled to take place in the sidelines of WTO's 12th Ministerial Conference.

About the Hub

IISD is launching the TRADE + SUSTAINABILITY HUB to discus how to ensure trade policies contribute to sustainable development. This event is taking place the same week trade policymakers were planning to gather in Geneva for the WTO’s Twelfth Ministerial Conference (MC12). However, WTO had to take the difficult decision to postpone MC12 after an outbreak of a new strain of the COVID-19 virus led to travel restrictions that would have prevented many ministers from reaching Geneva.

From 1-3 December 2021, IISD will be providing a virtual space for civil society, government, business, and international organizations to discuss trade and sustainable development linkages. The event aims to help develop policy solutions oriented toward advancing a more sustainable trade regime.

Environment at the Hub

Find here a compilation of the various activities related to the global environmental agenda.

Wednesday, 1 December

  • Session 02 (High-level panel): Greening small business, greening trade | International Trade Centre | 10:30 AM – 11:45 AM CET
    This session will explore the needs of small businesses in this context and will establish the link to the trade and environment discussions at the WTO. The session outcomes will feed into the related plenary at the WTO-ICC-B20 Business Forum at MC12 on 2 December.
  • Session 03: Will all Services be an Environmental Service in the Future? | UK Professional and Business Services Council | 12:00 PM – 1:15 PM CET
    How environmental services are traded internationally, the barriers to their adoption and scale-up are crucial questions that must be addressed by WTO Members over the coming years. The purpose of this panel will be to bring together several WTO initiatives such as the e-commerce negotiations, domestic regulation and ongoing discussions in the Committee on Trade and Environment Special Session.
  • Session 05: Sustainable Trade in Supporting Global Green Value Chains | China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED) | 1:30 PM – 2:45 PM CET
    The overall objectives of the session are to take advantage of the presence of international experts attending the World Circular Economy Forum and Trade and Sustainability Hub to organize an exchange between international and Chinese experts to discuss recent development on green value chains; circular economy innovation to realize net-zero and nature-positive outcomes; post-Kunming & post-Glasgow policies and standards needed to advance sustainable trade; and opportunities and challenges to global value chains brought by the future of trade.
  • Session 06: Role of the G20 in Sustaining and Improving WTO Rules for Sustainable Development Purposes | G20 – TIRN (Trade and Investment Research Network) | 1:30 PM – 2:45 PM CET
    This Panel aims to discuss how sustainable development policies become more reconcilable with free and open trade and the objectives of the WTO, how could sustainable development goals be better embedded in WTO reform process, and what role the G20 should play to reinvigorate the centricity of the WTO, in line with the SDGs.
  • Session 07: Environmental Initiatives at MC12: Regional Views on Ways Forward | Forum on Trade, Environment & SDGs (TESS) | 3:00 PM – 4:15 PM CET
    The purpose of this session is to hear regional perspectives on environmental developments from stakeholders and experts working in developing countries. Panelists will provide views on the significance of these decisions and statements in the context of efforts to support trade and trade policies that advance environmental and wider sustainability goals in their respective regions. Looking ahead, panelists will also reflect on priorities, opportunities, challenges and next steps on the trade-environment nexus at the WTO, all in the context of wider sustainable development, social inclusion goals and the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Session 09: Natural Disasters, Trade Policy and Trade Negotiations: Challenges, Solutions and Resilience Building for Small Island Developing States and Others | Commonwealth Secretariat / Shridath Ramphal Centre at the University of the West Indies / WTI Advisors | 4:30 PM – 5:45 PM
    The multilateral trading system can play a supportive role in promoting Small Island Developing States’ (SIDS) trade and helping with disaster relief, recovery and resilience. This Session examines ways to mobilize trade and trade policy to mitigate the consequences of natural disasters and ensure the sustainable development of SIDS.

Thursday, December 2

  • Plenary 2: A WTO Fisheries Subsidies Deal: From Conclusion to Implementation | International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) / The Pew Charitable Trusts / Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Sweden | 9:00 AM – 10:15 AM
    This virtual session will start with a brief discussion of the state of play in the development of the agreement, considering its impact on inequality in the fisheries sector and social inclusion in fishing communities. It will then focus on the question of the support needed by, and available to developing country Members to prepare for implementation. Experts will present a self-assessment tool developed by teams at IISD and Pew, with consultants, to help developing country WTO Members assess their readiness to implement the new obligations and articulate needs for support where there are any. The tool is developed with the support of the Pew Charitable Trusts, Sweden’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and GIZ.
  • Session 11: Plastic Pollution and Trade: WTO, Basel Convention and a Global Treaty on Plastic Pollution | Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) / Forum on Trade, Environment & the SDGs (TESS) | 10:30 AM – 11:45 AM
    How has plastic trade affected communities and the environment? Why are trade policies relevant and how can they support and complement international commitments and evolving international efforts to tackle plastic pollution? This session will seek to address some of these questions.
  • Session 15: Aligning Trade and Climate Policy for LDCs and Graduates | Overseas Development Institute (ODI) / International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) | 1:30 PM – 2:45 PM
    This event seeks to reflect on the outcomes of COP26 (particularly around carbon markets) and their implications for the LDC Group ahead of MC12. The event seeks to engage in discussions on trade, the environment and climate, building on the outcomes of the Aligning Climate and Trade Policy for LDCs assignment undertaken by ODI and IIED for the Enhanced Integrated Framework of the WTO.
  • Session 17: Carbon Pricing, the WTO and CBAM after COP 26: Can we connect the dots? | International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) / WTI Advisors / Climate Capital | 3:00 PM – 4:15 PM
    This session will review the links between the UNFCCC and WTO policy processes and then explore the implications of trade-related measures linked to carbon pricing; border carbon adjustments in particular.
  • Session 19 (High-level Panel): A Multi-Billion Dollar Opportunity to Reform Farm Subsidies at the World Trade Organization | International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) / Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) / International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) | 4:30 PM – 5:45 PM
    New research from FAO, IFPRI, UNEP, UNDP, and the World Bank provide evidence to build a new reform agenda at the WTO and break the two-decade old deadlock in reforming domestic support for agriculture. This session will present new research on repurposing agricultural subsidies, debate the pros and cons of the existing evidence, and put forward a new agenda for domestic support reform at the WTO.
  • Session 20: Trade in Circularity: Perspectives of Developing & Transition Economies | Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP) / The Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra / United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) | 4:30 PM – 5:45
    This session will explore the interconnections between trade policies and circular economy concepts by providing insights on specific sectors, opportunities, and challenges for developing and transition economies through concrete examples.

Friday, 3 December

  • Plenary 3: Agriculture in a Post-pandemic World: How can Trade, Resilience, and Inclusivity Support Food for All? | International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) / Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) / CUTS International, Geneva | 9:00 AM – 10:15 AM
    This session will explore how governments can revisit trade policy frameworks to improve resilience of the global food system to future shocks, particularly for LDCs and other developing countries.
  • Session 21: Minimum Environmental Standards at the WTO: A way to avoid a fractured environmental turn of trade policy that disadvantages vulnerable developing countries? | UKRI GCRF Trade Hub / TULIP Consulting | 10:30 AM – 11:45 AM
    This panel explores how a global environmental minimum standard at the WTO, similar to the Codex Alimentarius for Food Safety, could promote sustainable trade system in an inclusive manner. In doing so, panelists will explore the following questions: How could the development of an environmental minimum standards at the WTO help minimize barriers to trade while supporting a transition to a sustainable global trade system? What opportunities and challenges arise, in particular for vulnerable producers from developing countries and LDCs? And finally: what could next steps be to commence such a process in an inclusive manner?
  • Session 23: Advancing the Race to Net Zero: How Trade Policy Can Support Climate Action | German Development Institute (DIE) / University of Sussex / United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) | 12:00 PM – 1:15 PM
    The goal of this session is to promote forward-looking discussion on what governments, international organizations, businesses, consumers and other stakeholders can do to ensure trade and trade policy advance progress on climate action. Moreover, the session aims to underline the interest of various different stakeholders in the trade and climate agenda and their support for more intense engagement of governments on this issue. The session covers how the WTO can contribute to better linking trade and climate and how the potential of preferential trade agreements can be leveraged.
  • Session 25: Sustainability Standards & Smallholder Farmers: Opportunities to Address Poverty Through Trade | International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) / United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) | 1:30 PM – 2:45 PM
    This session will examine VSSs as a collective multi-stakeholder approach toward sustainable trade. It will explore how can voluntary sustainability standards (VSSs) reduce poverty for small-scale farmers in the wake of COVID-19? What determines if small-scale farmers can access VSS-compliant markets? How can governments support positive sustainable development impacts for smallholder farmers through VSS?
  • Session 26: Quantity and Quality: Assessment of Sustainability Impacts of Trade | Centre for Development and Environment (CDE), University of Berne / International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) | 1:30 PM – 2:45 PM
    The purpose of this session is to discuss different methodological approaches to ex ante assessments of trade agreements and how they may be combined. It will include presentations on how qualitative and quantitative approaches can be included in assessments of planned trade agreements. It will give examples of how conventional economic modelling tools work, and ask how they can be complemented to adequately reflect social issues. It will aim to present these in clear and simple terms. It will draw in particular on the case of the planned trade agreement between the European Free Trade Area (EFTA) and Mercosur.
  • Session 27: The Role of Trade Policy in Reducing Commodity-driven Deforestation | International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) / Centre for Development and Environment, University of Bern / Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO), United Kingdom | 3:00 PM – 4:15 PM
    Some governments of consumer countries are exploring new policy options to address deforestation and forest degradation. This session will hold a discussion on the various options that include unilateral trade-related measures, forestry-specific environmental provisions contained in regional trade agreements, voluntary sustainability standards (VSS) and consumer country mandatory due diligence requirements.
  • Session 28: Investment Facilitation for Development: Identifying key policy issues for facilitating responsible, inclusive and resilient investment | South Centre | 3:00 PM – 4:15 PM
    Investment facilitation policies can support States efforts to achieve sustainable development, but they cannot be considered in isolation. This session will raise some considerations on the Structured Discussion on Investment Facilitation discussion in the WTO and bring additional perspectives on the need to safeguard the right of countries to adopt the necessary measures to articulate and apply policies designed to achieve inclusive, equitable, fair and sustainable development and enabling and advancing sustainable investments that add value to the developmental process of host States.