Among our achievements, we worked to support the trade ministers of Ecuador, the European Union, Kenya, and New Zealand to convene an informal dialogue among trade ministers on climate, trade, and sustainable development on 13 June. Held on the margins of the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC12), the co-hosts shared their joint vision of forging an inclusive Coalition of Trade Ministers on Climate Action by early 2023, which was supported by trade ministers from different regions and levels of development.
A key highlight of the ministerial conference was the WTO’s new multilateral agreement to curb harmful fisheries subsidies. While implementation will require sustained attention, and negotiators have outstanding work to address the full range of fisheries subsidies that drive overfishing, as the WTO’s first environmental treaty, it represents a historic landmark.
The MC12 Outcome Document also marked the first time that the full WTO membership has specifically recognized the triple global environmental crises of climate change and related natural disasters, biodiversity loss, and pollution. Members reiterated the importance of the multilateral trading system to promoting the economic, social, and environmental dimensions of the Sustainable Development Goals. Alongside, trade ministers representing three member-led initiatives on trade and environmental sustainability, plastic pollution, and fossil fuel subsidy reform held press briefings to share updates on their work and the growing number of co-sponsors.
At TESS, these developments at MC12 bolster our conviction about the value of supporting dialogue and action at the multilateral level on the nexus of trade, environment, and sustainable development.