MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS
Going beyond MDG 8
The WTO’s contribution to the achievement of the MDGs goes beyond MDG 8. The WTO’s activities also have an impact on MDG 7, which aims to ensure environmental sustainability and to protect biodiversity. The Agreement establishing the WTO recognizes that members’ economic relations should be conducted in a way that allows “for the optimal use of the world’s resources in accordance with the objective of sustainable development”.
While there is no specific agreement dealing
with environmental issues, WTO members are nonetheless involved in
negotiations that explore the relationship between trade and the
environment, assessing their mutual impact and working to enhance
their supportiveness. For example, an issue that is currently being
negotiated by WTO members concerns specific disciplines on fisheries
subsidies, which contribute to over-fishing. A significant reduction
of such subsidies would have a positive impact on preserving the
shrinking fish stocks of our oceans. This outcome will support
MDG 7, as will negotiations which are taking place on the trade
opening of environmental goods and services, which would help to boost
global trade in this area. Improving countries’ ability to obtain
high-quality environmental goods and to disseminate environmental
technologies at lower costs would improve access to goods and
technologies that can contribute to environmental protection.
WTO activities are also having a fundamental impact on MDG 1, which aims to eradicate poverty and hunger. While the relationship between open trade and growth is quite complex, it is widely recognized that the WTO’s work is having an impact on achieving MDG 1 because open trade, accompanied by sound domestic and international policies, can lead to enhanced levels of growth and poverty reduction. Attaining MDG 1 will thus support countries in meeting their social objectives and in achieving all the MDGs.