At the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC12), WTO Members were expected to advance a number of environmental outcomes. These included a long-awaited step forward on fisheries subsidies reform talks, as well as Ministerial Statements cosponsored by different groups of WTO members on Trade and Environmental Sustainability, Plastic Pollution and Environmentally Sustainable Plastics Trade, and Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform. As the WTO Ministerial Conference has been postponed, the cosponsors of the three separate Ministerial Statements are currently considering options for rescheduling the launch of the statements given the new travel and health regulations and in light of the proposed new timing of MC12 in March 2022.
TESS held a discussion on “Environmental initiatives at the WTO: regional views on ways forward” during the IISD Trade + Sustainability Hub 2021 to bring to forefront the regional perspectives on the proposed statements from stakeholders and experts working in developing countries.
The panellists also offered their views on the significance of the environment initiatives at the WTO in the context of efforts to support trade and trade policies that advance environmental and wider sustainability goals in their respective regions. Looking ahead, panellists reflected on priorities, opportunities, challenges, and next steps on the trade-environment nexus at the WTO, all in the context of wider sustainable development, social inclusion goals and the Covid-19 pandemic.