Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Advancing trade and climate change agenda

Lara Birkes and Brindusa Fidanza in the Citizen (Tanzania): … …[T]he inextricable link between trade and the environment,[is] a dynamic pronounced in no region of the world more than in Africa. As a continent particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, a host of implications arise: reduced agriculture production, compromised food security, increased incidents of flooding and drought, greater conflict over land and water resources, lower crop yields and disappearing coast lines – to name a few.

Many policy considerations must be brought to bear in addressing these linkages. Among the most prominent are questions addressing the challenges of constructing national and international climate change architecture, while avoiding intergovernmental and legal contradictions with existing World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules. If climate change measures are judged to be inconsistent in WTO dispute settlements, national actions stand to conflict with international actions, potentially undermining the climate change negotiation process itself.

Other issues that have generated significant policy linkages between the international trade and the climate change agendas, include the importance of the low-carbon growth agenda, the upscale of energy-efficient technologies, the adoption of renewable energy policies, the use of alternative fuels and the need for green-friendly innovations in developing countries.

Against this background, two considerations may be particularly important to assess in the coming months. First, how can compliance with a global climate change agreement be verified and enforced? To that end, what is a good model for the monitoring, reporting and verification of compliance with climate change obligations, and – provided consensus is reached on the development of a monitoring, reporting and verification mechanism – how could compliance be enforced?….

No comments: