20 June 2012

Rio+20 Outcome Document adopted! Reading the text through the lens of trade and trade policy.

The Document reaffirms the critical role of the multilateral trading system and meaningful trade liberalization in achieving economic growth and sustainable development worldwide.

While urging the Members of the WTO to redouble their efforts to reach a development-oriented outcome of the Doha Development Agenda, the Document stresses the need for assistance and enhanced cooperation for developing countries to be able to participate effectively in the WTO work programme and to fully realize trade opportunities, including in green sectors. More specifically, the Document brings into focus the need to achieve progress with respect to trade distorting subsidies and trade in environmental goods and services.

The Document warns of the risks of green economy policies serving as a disguised restriction on international trade, i.e., green protectionism. States are urged to refrain from promulgating and applying any unilateral trade measures not in accordance with international law that impede the full achievement of economic and social development, particularly in developing countries.

While talking about changes in aid architecture, the Document draws attention to the interplay of development assistance and trade and recognizes new opportunities for aid to leverage private resource flows.

Being a cross-cutting issue, trade is mentioned in a number of other substantive areas such as technology transfer, sustainable management of forests, conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.

Some of the modalities proposed institutional follow up actions include strengthening the science-policy interface and enhancing evidence-based decision-making. Both will be eminently relevant to addressing complex issues arising at the intersection of green economy and trade.

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