Regional consultation

Latin American Perspectives on Trade and Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation: Policy Priorities and Recommendations for Action

Latin American countries are highly vulnerable to the impact of climate change, including changes in precipitation and increased frequency of extreme weather events, which have a range of impacts on their economies and trade. In this context, these countries are increasingly engaged in efforts to foster an inclusive transition to a low carbon and climate resilient economy. Examples are their participation in the international regime for climate change and the implementation of domestic and regional mitigation and adaptation policies. These have generally focused on reducing deforestation rates, improving energy efficiency, replacing fossil fuels with renewable energies or promoting sustainable production and consumption, including a circular economy model.

Trade and investment policies also play a critical role in this equation. One the one hand, increases in the frequency and intensity of climate hazards negatively impacts agriculture and food security, for instance, and damages trade infrastructure. On the other hand, trade also play a substantiative role in mitigation and adaptation efforts by scaling up the diffusion of environmental goods and services, including energy efficiency products and clean energy technologies. And trade policies will also be part of the policy mix needed to facilitate access to and uptake of climate technologies as well as to spur the development and transformation of sectors critical for low carbon and climate resilient development in Latin America.

So far, the debate on trade and climate change has largely focused on concerns, policies and proposals of more advanced economies. Latin American countries have so far mostly reacted to such proposals but there has been less attention to advancing their own priorities on how cooperation on trade can support climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts in the continent and advance climate resilient development.

As a contribution to this debate, the Forum on Trade, Environment & the SDGs (TESS) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) organized a two-hour virtual regional consultation on 21 September 2022 involving relevant stakeholders from the region. The workshop provided an opportunity to:

  • Present the preliminary findings from a research paper by Lorena Palomo providing a regional perspective and recommendations on how international cooperation on trade and trade-related policies can support climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts in Latin America and climate resilient development;
  • Solicit stakeholder and expert feedback on these findings and spur sharing of further information and inputs on relevant topics; and
  • Discuss priority areas for action and recommendations for how international cooperation on trade at the regional and multilateral level could support climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts in Latin America and climate resilient development in the continent.

The regional consultation involved government representatives (including permanent missions to the World Trade Organization in Geneva), academia, and civil society organizations. The session started off with a presentation of the preliminary findings of the study followed by short interventions by three discussants, and an open discussion among attendees.

Draft Agenda

10:00-10:10 (15:00-15:10)

  • Opening remarks by TESS and ECLAC

10h10-10h30 (15:10-15:30)

  • How international cooperation on trade and trade-related policies can support climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts in Latin America? by Lorena PALOMO, independent consultant

10:30-11:00 (15:30 – 16:00) Comments by discussants:

  • Angélica ROMERO, Head of the Trade and Sustainable Development Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Chile
  • Ms. Ana TONI, Executive Director, Instituto Clima e Sociedade (iCS), Brazil (tbc)
  • Dr. Amir LEBDIOUI, Visiting Fellow, Latin America and Caribbean Centre (LACC), and Lecturer, SOAS, University of London

11:00-11:50 (16:00-16:50)

  • Open discussion

11:50-12:00 (16:50 – 17:00)

  • Closing remarks by TESS and ECLAC

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