Publication: Policy paper

Biodiversity and International Trade Policy Primer: How Does Nature Fit in the Sustainable Trade Agenda?


By Carolyn Deere Birkbeck, Elena Antoni, Marianne Kettunen, and Jamie Wang

The push for a sustainable global economy and building back better in the Covid-19 aftermath is spurring renewed interest in how trade policy can better support economic transformation toward environmental sustainability and safeguard efforts to improve environmental performance. This includes rising interest in the relevance of trade and trade policies to biodiversity protection, sustainable use and restoration, both in terms of threats to nature arising from current trade trends and policies, and the potential of trade policies to support greener supply chains and global biodiversity goals.

This paper introduces readers to the state of the world’s biodiversity as well as drivers and impacts of biodiversity loss. It reviews international commitments, instruments, nature-related priorities, and the state of play on relevant international policymaking on biodiversity. Building on this foundation, the paper proceeds to explore linkages between trade flows and biodiversity, including the intersections of trade policy and biodiversity goals. Finally, the paper proposes a number of priority areas for enhanced policy dialogue, research and action.

The paper is co-published by the UK Research and Innovation Global Challenges Research Fund (UKRI GCRF) Trade, Development and the Environment Hub, UN Environment Programme (UNEP), and Forum on Trade, Environment and the SDGs (TESS).


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