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MEDIA REPORTS

TRADE, FINANCE AND INVESTMENT IN SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

This page was updated on: 01/26/10

 

2006

 

Trade, Finance and Investment Media Reports Archives: 2010; 2009; 2008; 2007; 2005; 2004; 2003; 2002


DECEMBER 2006

UNEP LAUNCHES RESPONSIBLE PROPERTY INVESTMENT GROUP
The UN Environment Programme’s Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) has launched a working group on responsible property investment. The group will seek to “embed environmental thinking in the heart of… property investment portfolios” with the aim of encouraging the financial services sector to play a pivotal role in halting climate change and supporting sustainable investment. The new group was launched in Paris on 8 December.

Link to further information
UNEP FI information

EU WILL NOT APPEAL WTO BIOTECH RULING
The European Commission has decided not to appeal the World Trade Organization (WTO) panel ruling on genetically modified organisms (GMOs), which concluded that the EU moratorium on GMO approvals, its failure to approve a number of biotech products, as well as the national-level bans in several EU Member States, violate WTO rules. According to reports, the decision was criticized by several civil society groups, who expressed concern that some of the panel’s conclusions could undermine other bodies of international law.

Links to further information
ICTSD Bridges Trade BioRes, 1 December 2006
Reuters News Service, 22 November 2006
Additional resources on the WTO case

NOVEMBER 2006

WORLD BANK 2006 GREEN AWARD PRESENTED TO SHRIMP FARMING CONSORTIUM
The Consortium on Shrimp Farming and the Environment, which was formed in 1999 by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Bank, WWF and the Network for Aquaculture Centres for Asia Pacific, has won the World Bank’s 2006 Green Award. The Consortium has established to investigate key issues, encourage policy debate and make recommendations for better management practices in an industry that is often criticized for its negative effects on the environment. It produced the International Principles for Responsible Shrimp Farming, which addresses issues including the design and location of farms, the use of feed, and the social impacts of aquaculture on local communities.

Links to further information
UN News Release, 9 November 2006

FAO News Release, 9 November 2006

US$1.4 BILLION ANTICIPATED OVER 10 YEARS FOR CENTRAL ASIAN SUSTAINABLE LAND MANAGEMENT PROGRAMME
Five Central Asian countries and more than a dozen development cooperation partners have launched the Central Asian Countries Initiative for Land Management (CACILM), a ten year programme promoting sustainable land management (SLM). The 16 November 2006 launch comes after several years of work between five Central Asian Countries, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, and the Global Mechanism of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, the Asian Development Bank, the Canadian International Development Agency, the CCD Project of the German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ), the International Centre for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation, the UN Development Programme, the UN Environment Programme and the World Bank. The Global Environment Facility is also contributing funding for this project, which is anticipated to result in investments of US$1.4 billion to restore, maintain and enhance the productivity of degraded land and improve the livelihoods of local communities in the five countries.

Link to further information
Global Mechanism CACILM webpage

UNGA TO CONSIDER FINANCE FOR DEVELOPMENT RESOLUTION
The Group of 77 and China has presented a draft resolution for approval by the UN General Assembly (UNGA) on the follow-up to and implementation of the outcome of the International Conference on Financing for Development, held in Monterrey, Mexico in 2002. The resolution was drafted following discussions in the Second Committee from 9-10 October 2006. The proposed resolution schedules a follow up meeting for the 2002 Conference, to be held in Qatar in 2008, and requests UNGA to hold, starting in January 2007, open consultations with all member States on all issues related to the review conference, including progress made, lessons learned and obstacles and constraints encountered. It also proposes to hold the 2007 High-level Dialogue back-to-back with the spring meeting of the Economic and Social Council and the Bretton Woods institutions, the World Trade Organization and the UN Conference on Trade and Development

Link for further information
Financing for Development website and link to Document A/C.2/61/L.5

SEPTEMBER 2006

GEF PRESENTS COUNTRY ALLOCATIONS FOR BIODIVERSITY AND CLIMATE FOCAL AREAS

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) has followed up the GEF Replenishment Agreement with a table of resources to be made available for the biodiversity and climate change focal areas (US$1,000 million each), according to the Resource Allocation Framework (RAF). Allocations include US$100 million to support projects within the Small Grants Program and cross-cutting capacity building programs and projects, and an equal amount to support regional and global projects in both focal areas. The remaining US$1800 million will be distributed among a group of countries with individual country-indicative allocations and the rest of the countries as “a group.”

 

Link to further information
GEF Document, 15 September 2006

 

UN SECOND COMMITTEE TO DISCUSS FINANCING FOR DEVELOPMENT

Financing for development, strengthening disaster relief efforts and the impact of commodity prices on developing economies are among the topics the UN General Assembly’s Second Committee (Economic and Financial) will consider during the Assembly’s current sixty-first session. According to the Committee’s organization of work, issues slated for review include macroeconomic policy questions, such as those directed at the international financial system, debt and commodities; follow-up to and implementation of the outcome of the International Conference on Financing for Development; humanitarian and disaster relief assistance; information and communication technology; and globalization and interdependence.

 

Links to further information
UN news release, 20 September 2006

UN General Assembly 61st Session webpage, September 2006

 

SECOND ANNUAL CLINTON GLOBAL INITIATIVE SECURES US$7 BILLION IN PLEDGES

Over 200 pledges of funding worth a reported $7.3 billion were made during the second meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative, held from 20-22 September 2006 in New York, US. The Initiative addresses four issues: climate change, poverty, health care and religious and ethnic conflict. After numerous plenary and working sessions on these issues during the three-day meeting, each participant at the meeting was expected to make an original, specific and measurable commitment. Attendees who do not make or keep their commitment will not be invited to attend future meetings. The 2006 pledges included Richard Branson’s pledge to invest the next 10 years’ profits from him Virgin Group’s airline and train businesses in renewable energy initiatives, an estimated commitment of US$3 billion.

 

Link to further information

Clinton Global Initiative website

 

GEF EXAMINES URBAN TRANSPORT EMISSIONS

Two presentations by the GEF during the GEF Assembly highlighted its interest on urban transport as a means to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in developing countries. In the first case, Monique Barbut, GEF’s CEO, said the GEF will support efforts by the South African government to improve its urban transport infrastructure leading up to the 2010 Football World Cup through pilot projects aimed at developing sustainable transport alternatives that deliver GHG reductions above and beyond those currently planned.

The GEF also presented a report on experience gained in funding urban transport projects, highlighting the development of modern public transport systems in Jakarta, Indonesia, Mexico City and the Philippines, along with a determination to cut GHG emissions in the fast growing cities of Africa, Asia and Latin America. The GEF estimates that for every dollar of the around US$2 million invested in urban transport, there will be a two dollar return in health and wider environmental benefits.

Links to further information
GEF Press releases:

21 August 2006

28 August 2006

AUGUST 2006

WORLD BANK EXAMINES CLIMATE RISK MANAGEMENT

The World Bank has presented a report on “Managing Climate Risk: Integrating Adaptation into World Bank Group Operations.” The report, which was presented during the GEF Assembly in Cape Town, , affirmed that by enhancing climate risk management, development institutions and their partner countries will be able to better address the growing risks from climate change and, at the same time, make current development investments more resilient to climate variability and extreme weather events. The report suggests that adaptation to climate change should be addressed through a climate risk management approach and summarizes the World Banks´ strategy to climate proof its operations, which includes: integrating climate risk management at the outset in project design through an early climate risk-screening tool; integrating climate risk management development strategies and country and sector dialogues; and enhancing the scope of funding for adaptation.

 

Link to further information
World Bank Press Release, August 29, 2006

 

BRAZIL PUBLISHES NATIVE PLANT NAMES TO PREVENT TRADEMARK MISUSE

The Brazilian government has published a list of more than 5000 generic plant names in a move to prevent further trademark disputes with companies that, for example, take a name of a Brazilian fruit in Portuguese and trademark it to get exclusive rights to commercialize it under that name in a certain country or region. Brazil has distributed the list to trademark offices around the world, hoping it will be used as a basis for consultation with parties involved. The focus of the list is solely on generic names from the Portuguese language used in Brazil that are associated with Brazilian biodiversity, not all Portuguese generic terms.

 

Link to further information
Intellectual Property Watch report, 4 August 2006

 

FINANCIAL RESOURCES STILL FLOWING OUT OF DEVELOPING COUNTRIES—REPORT

Developing countries continue to experience increasing net transfers of financial resources to developed countries, according to a new report by the UN Secretary-General. In his report, International Financial System and Development published in July 2006 (A/61/136), Kofi Annan observes that outward transfers of financial resources from developing countries to developed countries reached an estimated US$527 billion in 2005. The exception is the net transfers to sub-Saharan Africa, which were positive, but declined in 2005. Net transfers from countries with economies in transition to developed countries rose to $80 billion in 2005. The latest report follows other recent reports on follow up to the International Conference of Financing for Development and on the debt crisis.

 

Link to further information
UN ESA website

JULY 2006

WTO HEAD LAMY URGES “G8 + 5” TO SAVE DOHA ROUND

Addressing the Group of Eight Summit in St. Petersburg on 17 July 2006, Pascal Lamy, WTO Director-General, emphasized that differences in negotiations are not insurmountable but positions will need to be more flexible if the development round is to contribute to the Millennium Development Goals. Lamy told leaders of the G8 states and “G5” large developing nations that governments are still separated by “a few billion trade-distorting agricultural subsidies, and that would have to be eliminated or transformed within a few years; a few billion in supplementary agricultural exports for some, and hence supplementary imports for the others, and a similar order of magnitude for industrial products.” He urged countries to consider that current deadlocked negotiations may lead to a failure of the Doha Round, which he said would strike a “blow to the development prospects of the three quarters of WTO Members whose economies are poorer or weaker than [those of the G8+5] and for which integration in international trade represents the best hope for growth and for improving their systems of governance.”

 

Links to further information
WTO Press Release, 17 July 2006

ICTSD, Bridges, 12 July 2006

JUNE 2006

WORLD BANK ANNOUNCES AVIAN FLU FACILITY

The European Commission and World Bank have set up an Avian and Human Influenza Facility that will provide grants for countries to reduce the social and economic impact of avian influenza and minimize the possibility of a human ’flu pandemic in developing countries. The European Commission will contribute €46 million to the facility.

 

Link to further information

World Bank Press Release, 7 June 2006

 

FREE TRADE DEALS MAY HASTEN FOREST DESTRUCTION – REPORT

A free trade deal between the US and Malaysia may encourage illegal logging in Southeast Asia, according to the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), an international not-for-profit organization that aims to expose environmental wrongdoing. According to the EIA, demand for timber exports, approximately a third of which is illegally-cut wood, could surge with a free trade agreement. The EIA has urged the US government to enact a law prohibiting entry of illegal timber imports into the US before signing pending free trade agreements with other timber trading nations.

 

Links to further information

Illegal logging press release (21 June 2006)

Reuters news article (16 June 2006)

MAY 2006

EBRD INVESTS IN ENERGY INITIATIVE
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has launched a €1.5 billion initiative to support efforts to reduce energy waste and pollution in over two dozen countries.

Links to further information

WBCSD/AFP news article, 22 May 2006

EBRD Press Release, 19 May 2006

Address to EBRD annual meeting by Hilary Benn, UK Secretary of State for International Development, 22 May 2006

Agence France-Presse report, 22 May 2006

APRIL 2006

ANNAN SECURES MAJOR BACKING FOR NEW “INVESTMENT PRINCIPLES”
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and a group of the world’s largest institutional investors have launched a new initiative aimed at ensuring more responsible investment. The new “Principles for Responsible Investment” was supported by the heads of leading institutions from 16 countries, representing more than $2 trillion in assets. Officially signed at a special launch event at the New York Stock Exchange on 27 April, the amount of assets involved subsequently doubled during the European launch of the initiative at the Palais Brongniart in Paris on 2 May. The Principles were developed within a process convened by the UN Secretary-General and coordinated by the UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative and the UN Global Compact.

More than 20 pension funds, foundations and special government funds, backed by a group of 70 experts from around the world, held meetings in Paris, New York, Toronto, London, and Boston over an eight-month period to craft the Principles.

“We are proud to endorse the Principles, which recognize that social and environmental issues can be material to the financial outlook of a company and therefore to the value of our shares in that company,” said Denise Nappier, Treasurer of the State of Connecticut, who is the principal fiduciary of $23 billion in pension fund assets. “Financial markets tend to focus too heavily on short-term results at the expense of long-term and non-traditional financial fitness factors that could affect a company’s bottom line. For many institutional investors it is the long-term that matters and in this context environmental, social and governance issues take on new meaning.”

Links to further information

UN Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI)
Statement of the UN Secretary General, 27 April 2006
UNEP
Finance Initiative
UN
Global Compact

WORLD BANK PUSHES EMISSIONS REDUCTIONS FROM GAS FLARING
Carbon dioxide emissions from gas flaring will amount to about 13% of committed emission reductions by developed countries under the Kyoto Protocol for the period 2008-2012, according to the World Bank. “Reducing gas flaring requires a global and concerted effort by governments and industry, as well as financial institutions and local communities,” says Bent Svensson, manager of the Global Gas Flaring Reduction partnership (GGFR). “Gas flaring reduction has been most successful where there is country buy-in, high-level support and an effective local partnership between government and industry.”

The GGFR partnership facilitates and supports national efforts to use the associated gas and thus reduce flaring, by tackling the lack of effective regulatory frameworks and the constraints on gas utilization, such as insufficient infrastructure and poor access to local and international energy markets, particularly in developing countries.

Links to further information
World Bank Press Release, 23 April 2006
Global Gas Flaring Reduction partnership (GGFR)

MARCH 2006

CANADA, IDB TO PROMOTE RENEWABLE ENERGY AND CARBON FINANCE PROJECTS IN LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN

The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) will provide CAD$1,025,000 (approximately US$890,000) in untied technical assistance resources to the Inter-American Development Bank for a joint work programme to promote renewable energy, energy efficiency and carbon finance projects in Latin America and the Caribbean. In order to expand carbon finance in IDB-sponsored projects, the work programme will provide resources for drafting up to twenty project idea notes required by potential financers and purchasers of credits to gauge a projects potential.  

 

Link to further information
IDB Press Release, 24 March 2006

 

FINANCING FOR DEVELOPMENT MEETING PREPARATIONS UNDERWAY
Preparations are underway for the UN Economic and Social Council’s ninth Special High-Level Meeting with the Bretton Woods institutions, the World Trade Organization and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. An advanced document is now being circulated on the implementation of the Monterrey Consensus of the International Conference on Financing for Development. The document titled “Coherence, coordination and cooperation in the context of the implementation of the Monterrey Consensus and the 2005 World Summit Outcome” includes an update on developments and activities implemented as well as key questions to guide decisions on future action. The paper is divided in four sections focusing on:

a)     implementation of and support for national development strategies, towards the achievement of the internationally agreed development goals, including the MDGs;
b)     fulfilling the development dimension of the Doha Work Programme: Next steps, including in the area of “Aid for Trade;”
c)     external Debt: Implementing and building on current initiatives to enhance debt sustainability; and
d)     supporting the development efforts of middle-income developing countries.

The Special High-Level meeting is being held at UN headquarters on 24 April.

Links to further information
The advanced unedited document (27 March 2006)
The Information Note to ECOSOC.

BUSINESS ALLIANCE TO PROMOTE ENERGY SELF-SUFFICIENT BUILDINGS

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) has formed an alliance of global companies to promote the construction of energy self-sufficient buildings. Participants will seek to determine how buildings can be designed and constructed so that they use no energy from external power grids, are carbon neutral, and can be built and operated at fair market values.  

 

Links to further information
WBCSD News Releases, 29 March 2006

WBCSD News Releases, 30 March 2006

 

EUROPEAN ALLIANCE FOR CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY ANNOUNCED

The European Commission has launched a business-led alliance for corporate social responsibility (CSR). The new alliance, which was announced on 22 March 2006, will promote actions including awareness raising campaigns and best practice exchange, education and the integration of CSR into EU policies. Environmentalists criticized the initiative, however, on the grounds that it excludes non-business stakeholders.

 

Link to further information
WBCSD News Release, 22 March 2006

 

IFC, FINANCIAL TIMES ANNOUNCE “BUSINESS AND DEVELOPMENT” RESEARCH PRIZE

The International Finance Corporation, in collaboration with the Financial Times newspaper, has announced its first annual research paper competition for a first prize of US$30,000. The competition, entitled “Business and Development: The Private Path to Prosperity,” seeks to attract high quality research papers in an attempt to inject fresh and innovative thinking into the ongoing dialogue about the role of private sector in development. The deadline for submissions is 30 June 2006.

 

Link to further information
IFC web site

 

EBRD INVITES INPUT ON ENERGY POLICY

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has prepared a revised Energy Operations Policy. The draft Energy Operations Policy document sets out the general, specific and operational role of the Bank in the energy sector and establishes the overall framework for the Bank’s activities over the strategy period 2006-2010. It will succeed the Energy Operations Policy approved by the Board on 21 March 2001, as well as the Natural Resources Policy approved on 23 March 1999. Comments are invited until 19 April 2006.

 

Links to further information
Read the draft Energy Operations Policy, March 2006

Submit comments

 

US-COLOMBIA SIGN FTA

The US and Colombia have announced the conclusion of a comprehensive bilateral free trade agreement (FTA). The accord, which was announced on 27 February 2006, was signed after a final two-week round of negotiations in Washington DC. The deal will lower tariffs and other barriers to trade in goods and services; it also contains provisions on intellectual property rights, the rights of foreign investors, and environmental protection. The Colombia FTA appears to broadly resemble the accord with Peru, down to a “side-letter” covering biodiversity issues.

 

Link to further information
ICTSD-Bridges news report, 1 March 2006

 

US-PERU FREE TRADE AGREEMENT RECEIVES MIXED REVIEWS

The US Congress has received mixed feedback from more than two dozen external advisory committees on the US-Peru free trade agreement signed in December 2005. The Trade and Environment Advisory Committee welcomed the more restrictive definition of the term “indirect expropriation” to reduce the likelihood that improved standards in environmental or health regulations would be construed as “indirect expropriations” of a foreign investor’s property.

 

Links to further information
IISD Investment Treaty News, 2 March 2006

The Advisory Group Reports on the U.S.-Peru TPA

The US-Peru FTA

�IP Standards in the US-Peru FTA: Health and Environment;�(BRIDGES-ICTSD, 2006.)

Manuel Ruiz, �The Not-So-Bad US�Peru Side Letter on Biodiversity;� (BRIDGES-ICTSD, 2006.)

 

CARBON MARKET SEES RAPID GROWTH

The carbon market experienced �dramatic growth� in 2005, with over $11 billion in carbon traded last year, according to Point Carbon, the consulting firm. The market was worth around $450 million in 2004. The EU Emissions Trading Scheme, which started in January 2005, accounted for much of the growth. However, the Kyoto Protocol�s Clean Development Mechanism also enjoyed �massive growth.� The news was released at the same time as Point Carbon�s annual conference, held from 28 February to 2 March 2006, in Copenhagen. The event attracted over 1000 participants, focusing on trends with the Emissions Trading Scheme, Clean Development Mechanism, Joint Implementation mechanism, and other elements of the international carbon market.

 

Links to further information
INSNET news report on the carbon market, 4 March 2006

Point Carbon 2006 conference website

 

FEBRUARY 2006

 

IFC ADOPTS NEW ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIAL STANDARDS

The International Financial Corporation, part of the World Bank Group dedicated to financing private sector investments, adopted new environmental and social standards to finance private sector projects in the developing world. A new policy on disclosure, adopted at the same time, will increase transparency requirements.

 

Link to further information
IFC press release, 21 February 2006

 

OVER US$650,000 AWARDED TO INNOVATIVE POVERTY REDUCTION PROJECTS IN CHINA

The China Development Marketplace, a new initiative of the World Bank to support and strengthen grassroots civil society organizations in China, has awarded over US$650,000 in grant funding to 30 projects focused on reducing poverty through a range of innovative approaches, including supplying environmentally sustainable biogas to single mothers in Hubei province and creating support networks for waste collectors in Shenzhen province.

 

Links to further information
World Bank press release, 24 February 2006

China Development Marketplace initiative, 24 February 2006

 

IADB APPROVES NEW ENVIRONMENT AND SAFEGUARDS COMPLIANCE POLICY

The Inter-American Development Bank has approved a new Environment and Safeguards Compliance Policy. The new policy, which was agreed on 19 January 2006, updates the 1979 criteria to incorporate environmental considerations across sectors safeguarding the environmental quality of IADB operations. It includes rules on public consultations, impact assessments, hazardous materials, pollution prevention and abatement, and protection of cultural sites. It also requires the quantification and monitoring of project�s greenhouse gas emissions.

 

Links to further information
IADB statement, 3 February 2006

The policy

 

JANUARY 2006

 

SOUTH ASIA TRADE PACT ENTERS INTO FORCE

The South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) has entered into force. The new regional trade pact became operational on 1 January 2006. Anwarul K. Chowdhury, the UN�s High Representative for least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island states has praised the treaty for its potential to help the region�s poorest states.

 

However, recent media reports suggest that Pakistan may decide not to ratify the treaty.

 

Links to further information
UN press release, 6 January 2006

Pakistan likely to stay out of SAFTA, ANI/Yahoo news, 16 January 2006

 

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