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Development Account Projects

Capacity building in trade and environment


The Millennium Declaration has highlighted the need for countries to ensure environmental sustainability by integrating the principles of sustainable development into national policies and programmes. Furthermore, as recommended by the Fourth WTO Ministerial Conference held at Doha in November 2001, the World Summit on Sustainable Development has urged technical assistance to developing countries in the field of trade and environment, so that the countries may reap the benefits of globalization and trade liberalization while minimizing environmental losses.

The current capacity-building efforts in the area of trade and environment are, however, inadequate. Developing countries need to further develop their capacities to address the complex and multi-faceted trade and environment issues comprehensively and to participate effectively in international negotiations. Accordingly, the regional platforms on sustainable development, organized by the regional commissions for the World Summit on Sustainable Development, have identified trade and environment as a priority issue for capacity building.

This interregional project, implemented by the regional commissions in collaboration with UNCTAD, UNEP and WTO, will help strengthen the capacity of developing countries to formulate and negotiate effective trade and environment policies.


Strengthen the capacity of the developing Member States to formulate and negotiate effective trade and environment policies taking into account their linkages, implication for market access, their relationship to multilateral environment agreements and their relevance to national priorities (MDG 7, Target 9).

Expected accomplishments:

  • Enhanced capabilities of the participating developing Member States to promote coherent trade-environment policies and optimize benefits from trade liberalization
  • Increased capacity of the participating developing Member States to undertake effective trade-environment policy analysis
  • Wider access to information on good practices and experiences in relation to trade and environment policy formulation

Implementation status:

The aim of the project is to enhance the capacity of developing Member States to formulate coherent trade and environment policies that address issues related to environment in an effective manner, thereby increasing market access for products in developed country markets while enhancing environmental sustainability.

Analytical activities undertaken have generated valuable information and analysis on trade and environment linkages, including applicable “good practices” and policy options to enhance market access on environmental grounds and better manage environmental pressures arising from trade flows. Such information and analysis has been widely disseminated among relevant policymakers through the organization of capacity building workshops, as well as by electronic means (Internet, CD-Rom).

Capacity building activities, which included regional/sub-regional workshops and national roundtables, have contributed to enhancing the capacity of policy makers in beneficiary countries to develop coherent trade and environment policies.

Project activities have also provided an opportunity to develop new and strengthen existing networks, at national, sub-regional or regional levels, to exchange information and adopt common positions on the trade and environment issues under the project. The development of a global web portal is expected to facilitate this exchange of information from an inter-regional point of view.

For more information please go to: UNESCAP website