Public Event

Roundtable Session: Material Substitutes To Single-Use Plastics In Developing Countries

UNCTAD Circular and Oceans Economy programmes and the Forum on Trade, Environment & the SDGs (TESS) hosted an informal roundtable on Material Substitutes to Single-Use Plastics in Developing Countries, on 7 December 2021 from 14:00 – 15:30 CET.

The roundtable gathered speakers with different areas of expertise related to the plastics challenge to discuss solutions that facilitate the substitution of single-use plastics by natural fibers and mineral materials in developing countries. It discussed insights from an upcoming study by UNCTAD, part of the Sustainable Manufacturing and Environmnetal Pollution Programme sponsored by UK-FCDO, which explores the potential of substitute materials in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. In addition, the roundtable also addressed how trade can contribute to enabling this material transition.

Watch the roundtable:



14:00 –  Panel 1: Trade tools for a material transition
Moderator: Dr. Carolyn Deere Birkbeck, Director, Forum on Trade, Environment & the SDGs (TESS)
Presenter: Mr. Mahesh Sugathan, Senior Policy Advisor, Forum on Trade, Environment & the SDGs (TESS)


  • Ms. Daniela Garcia, Deputy Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of Ecuador to the UN, WTO in Geneva
  • Ms. Alice Tipping, Lead, Sustainable Trade and Fisheries, IISD
  • Mr. Arpit Bhutani, COO, Circular Innovation Lab & Managing Partner, Hind Agro Sales (packaging division), India

14:45 – Panel 2: Promoting competitive and manageable material substitutes in developing countries
Moderator: Mr. David Vivas Eugui, Legal Officer, UNCTAD
Presenter: Mr. Henrique Pacini, Economic Affairs Officer, UNCTAD


  • Mr. Devabrata Chakraborty, Counsellor (Commercial Affairs), Permanent Mission of Bangladesh to the WTO in Geneva
  • Mr. Terry McCormack, Consultant, Sustainable Manufacturing and Environmental Pollution (SMEP) Programme
  • Mr. Joel Richards, Senior Technical Specialist, Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS)

15:30  Closing remarks

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