TRADE AND ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY STRUCTURED DISCUSSIONS
Co-conveners Ambassador Nadia Theodore of Canada and Ambassador Ronald Saborío Soto of Costa Rica held this first TESSD plenary meeting of the year following the March and May meetings of the four informal TESSD working groups.
“We think that it will be important to have a statement on trade and environmental sustainability that describes the progress made since the 2021 TESSD Ministerial Statement and that charts the way forward,” Ambassador Theodore said. He added that the statement would be accompanied by output documents being prepared by the four TESSD informal working groups that would be part of a package for MC13. These possible outcomes include:
- an analytical summary that describes the goods and services that are key for the solar, wind and hydro energy sectors, the barriers to their dissemination, issues faced by developing economies, and opportunities and approaches to promote and facilitate trade in these goods and services;
- an outline of member practices in the development of trade-related climate measures, including transparency and consultation mechanisms, impact assessments and guiding principles;
- a mapping of the trade aspects of the circular economy along the lifecycle of products; and
- a compilation of member experiences with subsidy design.
Several members took the floor to indicate their support for this approach and to provide further suggestions, including exploring how to link TESSD's work back to the WTO Committee on Trade and Environment (CTE) and other standing WTO bodies.
Members also considered suggestions for further contributions to the MC13 outcomes, such as an update to the TESSD Work Plan and a digital tool that would foster transparency and cooperation at the intersection of trade and environmental sustainability policies.
“We have had a very fruitful and substantive process that has started to shape a proposed package of outputs for MC13. I want to reiterate our full commitment and drive to deliver impactful outcomes,” Ambassador Saborío said.
Members also welcomed Barbados as the newest co-sponsor of TESSD.
Barbados Ambassador Matthew Wilson said: “We're in the middle of a climate crisis and many of us, I imagine, are no longer interested in asking whether trade has a role to play in arresting the climate crisis and contributing to mitigation and adaptation. Rather, we want to know how it can and how quickly it can.”
“This is why I think the work in TESSD and in the CTE is so important: information sharing, thought leadership, identifying tools, brainstorming, advocacy. This is why, finally, Barbados is pleased to signal that we would like to formally join TESSD and to contribute with its experience and to learn from what others have been doing,” Ambassador Wilson added.
Updates from working groups
Facilitators of the four informal working groups provided summaries of discussions from the 16-17 March and 10-11 May meetings.
Informal working groups will meet again in September and November. The next TESSD plenary meeting is tentatively scheduled for 12 December.