Publication - Policy Paper

31 October 2022

Greening Aid for Trade: Pathways for a Just and Fair Transition to Sustainable Trade

Greening aid for trade: Pathways for a just and fair transition to sustainable trade is an important element of the international cooperation and financing required to help governments, businesses, and citizens implement the economic transformations needed to achieve a greener global economy and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. In playing this crucial role, aid for trade strategies could be shaped to ensure a just and fair transition for developing countries.

This policy paper argues that greening aid for trade requires a nuanced approach that pursues simultaneous action through six complementary pathways underpinned by the sustainable development priorities of developing and least developed countries: mainstreaming environmental goals into aid for trade, securing new resources for environment-related aid for trade support, fostering coherence between aid for trade and broader global policy agendas, ensuring aid for trade monitoring captures the environmental purpose and impact of aid for trade projects, integrating trade considerations into climate and environment funding, and strengthening South-South cooperation. Investing in national processes in both developed and developing countries will be essential for integrated decision-making and stakeholder consultation on the role of trade and trade policies in sustainable development—and the environment-related and aid for trade priorities that flow from these.

Ensuring trade and trade policies support the huge economic transformations and just and fair transitions that sustainability requires will require more effective international partnerships. Aid for trade is an important component of the enhanced financing and international cooperation needed.

Carolyn Deere Birkbeck

Recommended citation: Deere Birkbeck, C. (2022). Greening aid for trade and sustainable development: Financing a just and fair transition to sustainable trade. International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD).

Session at the 2022 Global Aid for Trade Review

You can view this video of a session on greening aid for trade co-hosted by TESS at the 2022 Aid for trade Global Review at the WTO. The video includes a presentation on pathways for a just transition to sustainable trade by Carolyn Deere Birkbeck.

This paper is co-published with