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Development Account Projects

Supporting Member States in developing and launching sustainable product export strategies through national sustainable product export reviews


At the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, world leaders recognized that the transitions made by countries to a green economy could make increasing contributions to sustainable development and poverty eradication through economic diversification, employment creation, export earnings, environmental protection and social equity. Sustainable products (internationally traded goods and services that are sustainably produced and promote sustainable consumption) offer considerable export opportunities for developing countries. They include a variety of green goods and services, including renewable energy systems, energy-efficient light bulbs, organic food, natural cosmetic ingredients, sustainably harvested forestry and fishery products, recycling services, green construction materials, environmental consulting and ecotourism. And because many sustainable products are produced in rural areas and require lower-skill workers, including women and young people, their production can contribute significantly to environmental protection, the efficient and sustainable use of natural resources, economic diversification, job creation and poverty reduction in economically marginalized rural areas of developing countries.

In order to seize these new opportunities for inclusive and sustainable growth, developing countries need strengthened capacity to identify their production and export strengths in terms of sustainable products and to put into place the national policies, regulations and institutions needed to create an enabling environment for their production and export. Yet, for most developing countries, particularly least developed countries, there are significant gaps in awareness of, and cooperation on, national production and export opportunities in sustainable product sectors among national policymakers and other stakeholders.

The UNCTAD national sustainable product export reviews are aimed at filling these gaps through results-oriented capacity-building activities to assist interested developing countries in devising national strategies and action plans to advance sustainable product export development. The reviews are a central component of the UNCTAD response to the call made in “The future we want” for capacity-building and of the Conference’s 2012 Doha Mandate, which calls for capacity-building to promote sustainable consumption and production patterns. Using the product space methodology of UNCTAD, stakeholders will identify promising sustainable product sectors for production and export and make policy recommendations aimed at creating an enabling business environment for the selected sectors. To ensure a results-oriented impact, each national sustainable product export review will require stakeholders to produce an action plan for the implementation of their recommendations. Upon the completion of national sustainable product export reviews, UNCTAD will continue to maintain liaison with relevant government ministries to monitor the implementation of action plans and to link ministries to bilateral and international development partners for cooperation on such implementation.

Reports derived from the national sustainable product export reviews will be published and disseminated by UNCTAD. At the national level, reports will provide sectoral analyses and insights for policymakers and trade negotiators in order to assist them with the future development of policy and of regulatory, institutional and trade policy regimes. At the international level, intergovernmental forums organized in Geneva for the review of national reports will provide opportunities for the sharing among countries of success stories and lessons learned.


To improve the ability of public and private stakeholders in developing countries (government officials and decision makers from business and civil society) to build national productive and export capacity in the area of sustainable products

Expected accomplishments:

  • Improved capacity of public and private stakeholders to identify and select sectors for the national production and export of green/ sustainable products
  • Improved capacity of public and private stakeholders to assess the policy, regulatory and institutional requirements for supporting the development of selected sustainable product sectors
  • Improved capacity of public and private stakeholders to prepare and adopt recommendations and action plans for building productive and export capacity in selected sustainable product sectors

Implementation status:

Summary of the progress report for 2014:

The following activities have taken place:

  • Following discussions with interested countries, it was decided that national projects would be called "National Green Export Reviews" (NGERs).
  • UNCTAD staff have completed "Green Product Space" analyses (GPS) and prepared National Baseline Reports (NBRs) for Ecuador, Ethiopia, Oman and Vanuatu;
  • In April/May 2014, following up on their official requests to implement projects, the governments of Ecuador and Vanuatu nominated official project focal points to work closely with UNCTAD on the review of NBRs and preparations for their 1st National Stakeholder Workshops (NSW1). Ecuador and Vanuatu convened their NSW1s in June and August 2014 respectively;
  • In Ecuador national stakeholders selected two sectors ̶ cocoa and fisheries ̶ and in Vanuatu national stakeholders selected three sectors ̶ coconut, cocoa and sandalwood ̶ as the green sectors of focus for their NGERs.
  • In both Ecuador and Vanuatu National Teams were formed to follow-up on NSW1 with the completion of their draft National NGER Reports.
  • The national report of Ecuador has been completed and is now being used to launch the second National Stakeholder Workshop (NSW2). The preparation of the national report for Vanuatu will be completed in March 2015 to support NSW2 in June 2015. By September 2015 both the Ecuador and Vanuatu NGER reports will be finalized.
  • In preparation for Oman's NGER, UNCTAD undertook a 1-week scoping mission to Muscat in December 2014 in order to present GPS results and discuss sectoral prospects with stakeholders from government and business.
  • In October 2014 UNCTAD received a request for an NGER from the Mission of Pakistan in Geneva.
  • The draft NBR for Pakistan is currently under review and preparations for NSW1 will begin promptly following official notification by The Ministry of Commerce (PMOC).