Developing countries may benefit economically from a World Trade Organization (WTO) rules framework covering the use of trade-related measures for environmental policy objectives, which provides redress against unilateral implementation of measures that affect the import or export of goods and services. Developing countries may lack, however, the resources or regulatory ability to ensure that their exports meet environmental standards, and so exports may be disrupted for these reasons. This could have significant negative economic and social impacts following from the decline in production and employment. The environmental impact is likely to be positive. There is also a risk associated with the imposition of uniform environmental standards on developing countries and at the same time removing some of the financial assistance which has been provided to facilitate their participation in the MEAs. This could lead to environmental gains but economic losses.
This strategy features in the framework of Agenda 21 as formulated at UNCED (Rio de Janeiro, 1992), now coordinated by the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development and implemented through national and local authorities.