Green Economy and Trade – Assessing Risks and Opportunities
Organizing Partners: International Trade Centre (ITC) – Lead partner, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD)
15th June 2012
Much of the dialogue on the green economy and trade in the context Rio+20 have focused on the risks associated with a transition to a green economy. However, the transition to a green economy also presents numerous trade opportunities for developing countries. It is crucial to identify these trade opportunities, together with the policy reforms that can create and strengthen developing country capacity to benefit from the opportunities.
In order to inform the Rio+20 dialogue on trade and green economy, this side event will focus on the trade opportunities associated with the transformation to a green economy. A recent study completed by UNEP, ITC and ICTSD will be presented, mapping and analysing existing trade related opportunities for developing countries in the transition to a green economy.
There are compelling reasons for moving towards a green economy, not least of which are planetary limits imposing constraints to economic growth as traditionally measured. UNEP’s report entitled “Towards a Green Economy: Pathways to Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradiation”, makes the case for investing in the green economy and outlines the policies that governments can use to promote a green economy transformation. One policy area which is critical across economic sectors and for all countries is international trade. Trade can allow international demand to deplete natural resources and lead to increased pollution and carbon emissions. However, trade also has the potential to drive a green economy by fostering sustainable resource use, generating economic opportunities and employment, and by contributing to poverty eradication.
Much of the dialogue on the green economy and trade in the context of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) have focused on the risks associated with a transition to a green economy. In particular, several developing countries have voiced concern over the potential for the concept of a green economy to provide cover for protectionist measures or restrictions on international trade. Although much of the international focus has been on risks, the transition to a green economy presents a number of trade opportunities for developing countries. It is crucial to identify these trade opportunities, together with the policy reforms that can create and strengthen developing country capacity to benefit from the opportunities.
To date there have been limited opportunities for governments and other stakeholders to consider the issue of trade in relation to a transition to a green economy. In cases where events have taken place, the focus has largely been on the potential trade risks from a transition to a green economy rather than the trade opportunities. This side event will contribute to the Rio+20 dialogue by providing a platform for stakeholders to engage in an open and in-depth dialogue on trade and green economy related issues and by enabling an exchange of perspectives and best practices on green economy and trade. ITC, UNEP and ICTSD will present the findings from a recent study, mapping and analysing green economy related trade opportunities available for developing countries in the transition to a green economy. The event is aimed at governments, regional organizations, civil society groups, trade unions, and other stakeholders to discuss what the green economy means for trade and identify key trade opportunities and challenges.
This side event will contribute to achieving the following results:
- Analysis of trade opportunities in a green economy will provide guidance to policy makers; and
- Dialogue on trade and green economy in the context of Rio+20 will benefit from further trade related analysis and examples of existing and potential trade opportunities.
Please visit the UNCSD Side Events 2012 website for more information.
Add a comment
Enter your details and a comment below, then click Submit Comment. We’ll review and publish the best comments.