Ensuring compatibility of environmental and trade law

Regulating trade on environmental basis
Developing environmental trade legislation
Environmental principles must be reflected in all future bilateral and multilateral trade and investment agreements, including any bilateral or multilateral agreements to expand trade in the western hemisphere. Trade agreements must promote sustainable use of resources, conservation of species and ecosystems, and protection of public health, in addition to promoting the equitable distribution of resources.

To tackle market failure at source through appropriate environmental regulations and trade policies.

Countries participating in trade and investment agreements must develop and strengthen an appropriate and comprehensive framework of environmental laws and regulations.

Countries entering into trade and investment agreements must allow public participation in judicial and administrative proceedings within a domestic environmental law framework and in the formation, negotiation, and implementation of trade and investment policies and agreements. They must give appropriate access to environment related information on the community and national level. To encourage fully informed decision-making regarding trade and investment agreements. Countries should conduct environmental impact assessments prior to completion of an agreement and prior to its implementation, and trade agreements must include on-going monitoring of the environmental impacts of increased trade and investment following implementation.

Forest protection leaders are disappointed with the African Growth and Opportunity Act that passed in the United States House of Representatives (July 1999). Groups opposed to the bill include fair trade, public health, and AIDS organizations as well as environmental groups. Despite the promising sound of its name, this legislation is not about 'development' in any sustainable sense of the word. Instead it would give transnational corporations and African government officials freedom from sanction to cut down the remaining forests for quick profit.

At a meeting of international forest protection leaders in Seattle, Washington (June 1999) the following position statement was agreed: The World Trade Organization (WTO) is bad for forests. Measures to expedite trade in forest products will increase consumption without concurrently implementing conservation measures. In the WTO, trade provisions are supreme over the laws of nations, taking power away from local communities and governments and giving it to corporations. This makes it a direct threat not only to the world's remaining forests, but also to basic individual and states' rights. The WTO is fundamentally flawed because it develops far-reaching policies without public participation. These policies are prioritized only by their benefit to trade, without consideration for local economies, the environment, labor and human rights. Before the WTO takes on any new powers, or enacts any new provisions, each member government must step back and look at how the WTO has helped or hurt its citizens and the world environment.

1. International trade legislation has allowed commercial logging interests to cut down an area of rainforest in Africa twice the size of Florida, and carve roads into previously inaccessible forest regions.

2. Trade agreements must protect non-protectionist environmental and public health measures, including measures taken to enforce international environmental agreements, from challenge as trade barriers.

Type Classification:
E: Emanations of other strategies
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 1: No PovertyGOAL 2: Zero HungerGOAL 3: Good Health and Well-beingGOAL 4: Quality EducationGOAL 5: Gender EqualityGOAL 6: Clean Water and SanitationGOAL 7: Affordable and Clean EnergyGOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic GrowthGOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and InfrastructureGOAL 10: Reduced InequalityGOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and CommunitiesGOAL 12: Responsible Consumption and ProductionGOAL 13: Climate ActionGOAL 14: Life Below WaterGOAL 15: Life on LandGOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong InstitutionsGOAL 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goal