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The United Nations promotes integration of trade, environment and development

Geneva/Nairobi, 14 July 1997 - UNCTAD and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on a technical assistance programme for promoting the complementarity of trade, environment and development objectives in developing countries. The MOU was signed in Geneva on Friday 11 July by the Secretary General of UNCTAD, Mr. Rubens Ricupero, and the Executive Director of UNEP, Ms. Elizabeth Dowdeswell.

"Since Rio, globalization and liberalization have accentuated the close relationship between trade, investment, technology and sustainable development and the need for their integrated treatment," said Mr. Ricupero. "This joint technical assistance programme which aims at building capacity in developing countries is expected to make an important contribution in this regard".

"Environment, trade and development are closely intertwined" said Ms. Dowdeswell. "The joint programme agreed upon by UNCTAD and UNEP, with its focus on devising practical approaches and methodologies for the integration of environmental considerations in development planning and decision making, is key to sustainable development".

For too long, environmental policies have been viewed as appendages, in which remedial action is taken once other economic priorities have been met. However, if sustainable development is to be accomplished, the experience of recent years in dealing with the intricate relationship between environment, economics, and international trade, has argued for their integration.

Under the joint technical assistance programme agreed upon today, UNCTAD and UNEP will develop policy options for governments of developing countries to consider when seeking to integrate environmental considerations in their macroeconomic policies, including trade policies. They will also propose policy instruments and mechanisms, including technology transfer, market access, finance and capacity-building, to facilitate the internalization of environmental costs.

At the national level, the programme will also aim at enhancing understanding of:

(a) the economic, social, institutional and political implications of integrating environmental considerations in development planning and decision-making;

(b) the environmental impacts of trade policies and agreements;

(c) the trade impacts of environmental policies and agreements, particularly as they affect competitiveness in international markets; and

(d) the effects of the use of trade measures and positive measures in multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) on the achievement of environmental objectives and on trade and competitiveness.

The programme will be designed and implemented in close cooperation with national governments and international bodies. The two agencies will also seek the advice of representatives from academia and the private sector.


UNEP News Release 1997/48

Thursday 26 Jun 1997
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