sustainable development goals (sdgs)

The WTO's contribution to achieving the SDGs

The WTO is playing an important role in the achievement of the UN's Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and collaborates closely with the UN's Department for Economic and Social Affairs in monitoring progress in attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The WTO reports annually to the UN's High-level Political Forum (HLPF) on WTO efforts to achieve trade-specific targets in the SDGs. The HLPF is the UN's main means of reviewing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and allows all UN members and specialised agencies to meet annually to evaluate progress on achieving the SDGs.

HLPF 2021: "Sustainable and resilient recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic that promotes the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development"

The 2021 HLPF will take place from 6 to 15 July online, under the auspices of the UN's Economic and Social Council. The theme will be "Sustainable and resilient recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic that promotes the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development: building an inclusive and effective path for the achievement of the 2030 Agenda in the context of the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development."

This year's HLPF will review progress on the following nine goals:

The COVID-19 crisis has emphasized the importance of reviewing the relationship between human well-being, health and socio-economic development that plays out across the SDGs. The WTO will provide a comprehensive overview of the relationship between trade and the SDGs under review, as well as the short and long-term effects of the pandemic on meeting these goals.

The WTO report will also highlight how the WTO has responded to the disruptions to trade caused by the pandemic, taking into account the disproportionate effect on micro, small and medium-sized enterprises and women. Recent developments include the launch of two initiatives by like-minded groups of WTO members on trade and environmental sustainability and on plastics pollution. Multilateral negotiations are also continuing on  fisheries subsidies and environmental services that relate directly to the attainment of the SDGs.

The 2021 HLPF will also review governments' responses to the crisis and the role international cooperation can play in helping mitigate the impact of the pandemic and put the world back on track to achieve the SDGs by 2030.

Previous WTO reports to the HLPF

Background

UN members adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which contains the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in 2016. These SDGs reflect the understanding that development is closely linked with economic growth, social well-being and environmental sustainability and that the SDGs offer the most effective and flexible way to address conflict, human rights issues, poverty and inequality as well as climate change and environmental degradation around the world.

The UN recognises that trade is an engine for inclusive economic growth and poverty reduction that contributes to sustainable development. International trade accounts for over 50 per cent of low-income countries' GDP and is an important source of income for both the private and public sector in developing countries.

Trade enhances a country’s income-generating capacity, an essential prerequisite for achieving sustainable development.

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