United Nations


General Assembly

11 March 1997

                        Trade and environmental matters

                         Note by the Secretary-General


               Message from the Commission on Trade in Goods and
               Services, and Commodities to the fifth session of
                   the Commission on Sustainable Development

The UNCTAD Commission on Trade in Goods and Services, and Commodities,
at the second part of its first session, held in Geneva from 19 to
21 February 1997, welcomed the first five-year review of progress
achieved in the implementation of Agenda 21, to be carried out by the
Commission on Sustainable Development at its fifth session and the
General Assembly at its special session in 1997.  Governments have
taken steps to anchor the concept of sustainable development
and Agenda 21 follow-up activities firmly in the work programme

The Commission considered that the conclusion of the Uruguay Round of
multilateral trade negotiations has furthered the process of trade
liberalization, opening new opportunities for sustainable development
and growth.  However, marginalization remains a risk for developing
countries, especially the least developed countries, and could hamper
their benefiting from resources that trade may generate for enhancing
sustainable development.

The Commission recalled the strong commitment at the United Nations
Conference on Environment and Development to a global partnership for
sustainable development, and reiterated the high priority attached by
UNCTAD to the acceleration of development that is environmentally
sound and sustainable.  The Commission stressed the urgent need for
renewed efforts at both the national and international levels to make
trade and environmental policies mutually supportive and, more
generally, to promote sustainable development, including by designing
and implementing positive measures and by providing effective economic

As requested by the Conference, UNCTAD has actively sought to play
effectively its special role in promoting the integration of trade,
environment and development.  UNCTAD has in particular taken
appropriate steps to implement the recommendations of the Commission
on Sustainable Development, in particular by endorsing at the ninth
session of UNCTAD the work that the Commission, at its fourth session,
proposed for UNCTAD.

UNCTAD looks forward to a substantive outcome of the special session
of the General Assembly.  As the focal point within the United Nations
for dealing with trade and related issues of development and as the
task manager on trade, environment and sustainable development, UNCTAD
stands ready to meet the challenges of a revitalized agenda on trade
and sustainable development.



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Date last posted: 15 January 2000 16:15:30
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