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 2020: "Accelerated action and transformative pathways: Realizing the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development"

In 2020, the HLPF takes place from 7 to 16 July 2020 under the auspices of the UN's Economic and Social Council. The theme is "Accelerated action and transformative pathways: Realizing the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development."

During the event, participants will review progress on the SDGs in light of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. They will reflect on how the international community can respond to the pandemic to put the international community back on track to achieve the SDGs.

The WTO will provide a comprehensive review of its efforts over the past year to achieve trade-specific SDG targets. These include SDG 17.10 on promoting a universal, rules-based, open, non-discriminatory and equitable multilateral trading system and SDG 14.6 on prohibiting certain forms of fisheries subsidies which contribute to overcapacity and overfishing, and illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. The WTO will also highlight the contribution of trade across all the SDGs, including goals on ending poverty, gender discrimination, food security and human health.

The WTO's contribution will also look at the potential impact of COVID-19 on global trade and the steps that WTO members are taking to tackle the crisis. The WTO will emphasize that maintaining open trade and investment flows is critical for protecting jobs, reducing disruptions in global supply chains, and ensuring that vital products are available for all.

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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