Bridging Worlds - Trade, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development
Special Issue - 8 September 2003 BRIDGING WORLDS - TRADE, BIODIVERSITY AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT Workshop 1: Trade and Sustasinable Livelihoods Workshop 2: Risk, Precaution and Biosecurity Workshop 3: CBD-TRIPS Relationship Co-convenors and Workshop Organisers A diverse group of participants at the 18th session of the Global Biodiversity Forum (GBF 18), held from 5 to 7 September 2003 in Cancun, Mexico, sent a strong message to governments around the world “of our growing concern about the urgent need to mitigate the negative impacts of the current trading system on the closely entwined fates of local communities, to which we all belong, and the ecosystems upon which our livelihoods depend”.
The Forum was convened by IUCN - The World Conservation Union and its Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy (CEESP), the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD), the Mexican Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT), Mexican Centre for Environmental Law (CEMDA) and some 30 other institutions to discuss biodiversity and sustainable livelihood issues related to international trade. It brought together 140 participants from over 40 countries, representing a wide range of views, experiences and communities. In his remarks at the closing session of the GBF, Mexican Minister of Environment Alberto Cárdenas Jimenez described the GBF as a unique platform to express the views of different sectors, emphasising that economic growth must take place within the natural limits of ecosystems while respecting the environment at all times.
The interlinkages between trade and biodiversity were discussed in three areas: trade and sustainable livelihoods; risk, precaution and biosecurity; and the relationship between the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Agreement on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs). Each workshop raised significant concerns over the impacts of trade liberalisation on biodiversity conservation and use. As Mark Halle from the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) noted in his closing remarks, efforts to discuss the interlinkages between trade and biodiversity have to date remained scattered with little interaction between the communities involved. However, the recent broadening of the agenda in the WTO to cover more and more aspects that directly impact on peoples livelihoods — most recently reflected in the explicit inclusion of environmental issues in the trade round launched in Doha in November 2001 — has made understanding the intersections between trade and biodiversity increasingly important as advocates in one area find their work impacted by activities in another. “The environmental movement woke up one day to find the WTO in our backyard,” Halle noted. He stressed the need to identify and use the opportunities provided by the multilateral trading system to achieve the goals of sustainable development, while minimising the obstacles it presents. He called on the environmental community to remind WTO Members what they have engaged to do — to promote a global trading system that supports sustainable development.
Also speaking at the closing session, Laurence Tubiana from the Institut de Développement Durable et Relations Internationales (IDDRI) noted that the multilateral trading system was in crisis, highlighting the need for a “joint vision”. She stressed the importance for countries to preserve their flexibility to define their own development strategies within the overall framework of the Millennium Development Goals. The challenge, she said, was to identify the sustainable development objectives and assess how trade policy can help or hinder the achievement of these objectives.
The results of the GBF-18 will be presented to the Cozumel Meeting of Ministers of Trade and of Environment, to be held on 9 September 2003 under the auspices of the Mexican Ministry of Environment. They will also be widely distributed at the Fifth WTO Ministerial Meeting in Cancun on 10-14 September, and the World Parks Congress to be held in Durban, South Africa, from 8 - 18 September 2003. The final workshop report will be available on the GBF website. Co-convenors and Workshop Organisers top
African Center for Technology Studies (ACTS) American Lands Alliance (ALA) Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS) Environmental Development Action in the Third World (ENDA) Equator Initiative Foundation for the Revitalisation of Local Health Traditions Fundación Futuro Latinamericano (FFLA) German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) Global Environment Facility (GEF) Greenpeace International Institut pour le Développement Durable et les Relations Internationales (IDDRI) International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) IUCN - Invasive Species Specialist Group (IUCN-ISSG) IUCN - The World Conservation Union IUCN Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy (CEESP) Kalpavriksh, India Mexican Centre for Environmental Law (CEMDA) Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, Mexico (SEMARNAT) NAFTA Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) National Wildlife Federation (US) Secretariat to the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD) Southern Environmental and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (SEAPRI) The Ramsar Convention Bureau United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) United Nations University Institute for New Technologies (UNU/INTECH) Working Group on Environment, Trade and Investment (GETI) - IUCN CEESP World Resources Institute (WRI)