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MEDIA REPORTS

TRADE, FINANCE AND INVESTMENT IN SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

This page was updated on: 01/26/10

 

2007

 

Trade, Finance and Investment Media Reports Archives: 2010; 2009; 2008; 2006; 2005; 2004; 2003

DECEMBER 2007

UNDP AND GEF INAUGURATE WIND FARMS IN ERITREA
The UN Development Programme (UNDP), in cooperation with the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Eritrean Ministry of Energy and Mines, has inaugurated the first wind generated electric power in Assad, Eritrea. The wind power project was initiated in 2003 and it aims at transforming the market for wind energy applications through investments in and replication of new technology. Currently, the project is expected to generate electricity of 600 KWH per annum with a potential up to 750 KWH, contributing to a lower dependence on imported fossil fuels and reducing greenhouse gas emissions through the partial displacement of diesel generating facilities. An additional objective of the project is to help achieve the Millennium Development Goals, especially the goal pertaining to “the protection and sustainable use of the environment.”

Link to further information
UNDP Press release, 18 December 2007

WTO STRENGTHENS REQUIREMENTS FOR ENVIRONMENTAL EXCEPTIONS IN BRAZIL TYRE CASE
The World Trade Organization (WTO) Appellate Body issued a ruling on 3 December 2007, confirming a prior WTO panel report’s assessment that Brazil had violated multilateral trade rules by applying an import ban on used and retreaded tyres based on health and environmental considerations, in a discriminatory manner. The Appellate Body, however, strengthened the requirements to bring Brazil’s import ban into compliance with the WTO. While both the Panel and the Appellate Body accepted that Brazil's import ban could be justified for public health reasons, the latter estimated that an exemption towards Mercosur countries (a free trade area including Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay) had led to the import ban being applied “in a manner that constitutes arbitrary or unjustifiable discrimination.” The fact that the Appellate Body disagreed with the Panel’s estimation that trade volumes with Mercosur were negligible will make it more difficult for Brazil’s capacity to easily bring the regulation back in compliance with the WTO. Brazil will now need to change Mercosur regulations, while under the previous ruling by the Panel it could revert to compliance by stopping specific Supreme Court injunctions.

Links to additional information
WTO Summary of the Case: “Brazil- Measures Affecting Imports of Retreaded Tyres
“WTO Appellate Body agrees with EU, reinforces ruling against Brazil tyre import ban” ICTSD Bridges, 5 December 2007

EU AND US PROPOSE ELIMINATING TARIFFS RELATED TO MITIGATING CLIMATE CHANGE
The United States and the European Union presented a joint submission to the World Trade Organization (WTO) Committee on Trade and Environment Special Session (CTE-SS), on 30 November 2007, proposing to eliminate trade barriers facing goods and services directly related to mitigating climate change. According to the proposal the "ultimate objective should be a zero tariff world for climate friendly goods in the near future and no later than 2013."  The list of environmentally friendly goods proposed includes 43 products identified by a recent World Bank report on trade and climate change, covering products ranging from solar collectors and system controllers, to wind-turbine parts and components, stoves, grates and cookers, and hydrogen fuel cells. Developing countries offered mixed reactions, as they contended that most products on the list are primarily of export interest to industrialized countries. Brazil, for example, has proposed the inclusion of biofuels (a product it exports) in the list of environmental goods (IISD Sources; ICTSD Bridges, 5 December 2007).

Links to additional information
Summary of U.S. and EC Proposal for Liberalizing Trade in Environmental
Goods and Services in the WTO DDA Negotiations,” European Union, 30 November 2007
“EU and US propose new WTO green trade agreement for Doha round;” European Commission, 30 November 2007
“EU, US Call for Eliminating Trade Barriers to Climate-Friendly Goods and Services;” ICTSD Bridges, 5 December 2007

WTO PROPOSAL LIMITS SUBSIDIES ON FISHERIES
New negotiating proposals at the World Trade Organization (WTO) impose limits on subsidies for fisheries, a move welcomed by conservation non-governmental organizations concerned about overfishing. The proposals from the chair of the Doha Round negotiations on rules do not propose a blanket ban but list a number of subsidies, including those for the construction of new vessels and for operating costs of fisheries, which would be banned.

Link to further information

The proposals
ICTSD Bridges, 5 December 2007

NOVEMBER 2007

UNEP LAUNCHES ALTERNATIVE ENERGY GENERATION INITIATIVES

Two alternative energy projects, led the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), aiming to develop new forms of indigenous energy in parts of Africa, were launched on 8 November 2007. Cogeneration for Africa seeks to use waste from the sugar industry to generate electricity, and the initiative has been endorsed by, among others, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania and Zambia. Greening the Tea Industry entails a small-scale hydro initiative to deliver power to tea plantations across Eastern and Southern Africa. The projects are expected to cut greenhouse gas emissions, reduce energy costs and enhance the sugar and tea industries’ global competitiveness.

 

Link to further information

UNEP Press release, 8 November 2007

OCTOBER 2007

BIGGEST US PENSION FUND CALLS FOR DISCLOSURE OF CLIMATE RISK
The US’ biggest pension fund, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (Calpers), has called for the US Securities and Exchange Commission to force publicly traded companies to disclose their climate-related risks. They joined other institutional investors, environmental groups and New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo in asking for four main disclosures to analyze a company’s business risk and opportunities from climate change, including emissions, climate risk and emissions management, physical risks of climate changes and regulatory risks.

Link to further information
ENN/Reuters News Release, 31 October 2007

WORLD BANK CREATES TWO NEW CARBON FINANCE FACILITIES
The World Bank has announced that it will establish two new carbon finance facilities, to help increase the world’s ability to tackle global climate change and deforestation. The Forest Carbon Partnership Facility will compensate developing countries for carbon dioxide reductions realized by maintaining their forests. In addition, the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility will support programs targeting the drivers of deforestation and develop activities to reach out to poor people who depend on forests to improve their livelihoods. The Carbon Partnership Facility will be used in areas such as power sector development, energy efficiency, gas flaring, transport, and urban development, including integrated waste management systems.

Link to additional information
World Bank Press Release, 11 October 2007 

BRAZIL PROPOSES INCLUDING BIOFUELS IN WTO ENVIRONMENTAL GOODS NEGOTIATIONS
The World Trade Organization (WTO) Committee on Trade and Environment special session (CTE-SS) met informally on 2 October 2007, to continue advancing on its Doha mandate to negotiate “the reduction or, as appropriate, elimination of tariff and non-tariff barriers to environmental goods and services.”  At the meeting, Brazil proposed including biofuels in the list of products identified for tariff cuts, and suggested determining such list on the basis of a request-offer process (JOB (07/146)). Brazil’s proposal to list biofuels as an environmental good was meet with some scepticism by developed countries, which place high tariffs on ethanol (like the US and the EU). The proposed “request-offer” process to determine the list, however, was contemplated as a possible way out for the current deadlock between countries favoring a list of products and those proposing the end use (for example waste management activities) to determine which products will receive more favorable tariff treatment. The Brazilian proposal will be further addressed in the next session of the CTE-SS scheduled for 1-2 November 2007 (Source: ICTSD).

Link to additional information
ICTSD Bridges, 10 October 2007

WORLD BANK INADEQUATELY CONSIDERED FOREST-RELATED SAFEGUARDS IN DRC - INSPECTION PANEL
The World Bank’s Inspection Panel is reported to have found that two projects funded by the Bank since 2002 in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s rainforests inadequately considered many important socio-economic and environmental issues of forest use, which are embedded within the Bank’s safeguard policies designed to protect natural habitats and the rights of people living in them.

Link to further information
Rainforest Foundation News Release, 3 October 2007

CHINA JOINS INITIATIVE TO REDUCE THE RELEASE OF CARBON DIOXIDE
China, which produces 70% of the world's light bulbs, has agreed to phase out incandescent bulbs in favor of energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs. China is the first developing country to join a Global Environment Facility (GEF) programme, which will provide about US$ 25 million to support the initiative in China. The program will be formally announced in December 2007 at the climate change meetings in Bali, Indonesia, as the GEF affirms that a shift to more efficient bulbs from traditional incandescent ones could mitigate 500 million tonnes of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide annually, and the transition could be made in the next 10 years.

Link to additional information
Reuters News story, 1 October 2007

SEPTEMBER 2007

SEAL HUNTING DISPUTE LIKELY TO LAND AT WTO
The Canadian Government has requested consultations with the European Union (the first step in the WTO dispute settlement procedure) to challenge Belgian and Dutch bans on the import and marketing of seal products (WT/DS369/1). Canada contends that sealing is an important way of life for many Canadians, and has traditionally opposed pressure by animal rights groups to end seal hunting. The seal hunt employs around 6,000 Canadians per year, including Inuit and other Aboriginal peoples. The biggest market for Canada’s seal products is Norway, which is not a member of the EU. In Europe, Canada's annual seal hunt has long been condemned by animal rights activists as cruel, and it is facing a number of possible bans on its seal products in European nations. A dispute settlement panel may be established if Canada and the EU do not arrive at a solution within 60 days.

Links to additional information
WTO Dispute Settlement Case
Business Week News Story, 26 September 2007

Planet Ark News Story, 1 August 2007

GEF SEEKS PROJECTS ON CLEAN LIGHTING TECHNOLOGY FOR AFRICA
The Global Environment Facility (GEF) and World Bank have launched a “Lighting Africa Development Marketplace Grant Competition” to provide grants for projects addressing the off-grid lighting needs of Sub-Saharan Africa, including alternative distribution models, new clean lighting technology, stronger production chains and improvement of the policy environment. A total of US$ 2.5 million in awards will be allocated to 10-20 winning projects, for a maximum duration of 18 months. The deadline for applications is 31 October 2007.

Link to further information
Lighting Africa Development Marketplace

EU APPEALS WTO RULING ON ENVIRONMENT-RELATED IMPORT BAN
The EU has appealed a WTO Panel ruling that upheld Brazil’s right to ban imports of retreaded tires due to environment and health concerns. Brazil has argued that the import restrictions and associated fines were necessary to meet public health goals, as used tires may provide fertile grounds for disease vectors to breed. It based its arguments on GATT Article XX(b), which allows governments to limit trade when necessary in order to protect human, animal, or plant life and health.

The EU’s appeal, which was announced on 3 September, follows a decision that Brazil could maintain its ban on imports from EU countries as long as it also stopped the import of used tires from other nations.

Environmental non-governmental organizations called on the EU to withdraw the appeal noting the value of the Panel’s report for the interpretation of environmental rules within the WTO (Sources: WTO; ICTSD Trade BioRes, 7 September 2007).

Links to further information
WTO Documents
ICTSD Trade BioRes
Letter from CIEL and WWF to Commissioner Mandelson

UN PREPARES FOR HIGH-LEVEL DIALOGUE ON FINANCING FOR DEVELOPMENT
The UN has presented a note on the organization of work for the High-level Dialogue on Financing for Development to be held at UN headquarters in New York, from 23-24 October 2007. The High-level Dialogue will consist of a series of plenary and informal meetings on the status of implementation of the Monterrey Consensus and tasks ahead. Six interactive multi-stakeholder round tables on the themes based on the structure of the Monterrey Consensus will also be held, with participation of three representatives of civil society organizations.

On 10 August 2007, a report by the UN Secretary-General on the implementation status of the agreements reached at the 2002 International Conference on Financing for Development was released. The report notes positive developments relating to developing countries’ progress in macroeconomic and fiscal management, while expressing concerns over lack of progress in reducing poverty levels and improving wealth distribution, as well as a significant increase in the total debt of developing countries. In addition, the report notes that current and projected levels of ODA for the period 2006-2010 still fall far short of targets to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

Civil Society organizations can register for the High-level Dialogue on Financing for Development, as well as the informal interactive hearings taking place on 22 October 2007, at http://www.unngls.org/ffd/sign.php.

Link to further information
Financing for Development Reports and Summaries.

JULY 2007

WTO COMMITTEE ON TRADE AND ENVIRONMENT WAITING FOR PROGRESS IN OTHER AREAS
The World Trade Organization (WTO) Committee on Trade and Environment Special Session (CTE-SS) met on 18 July 2007, under a new chair, Ambassador Mario Matus (Chile). Members continued discussions on the relationship between WTO rules and specific trade obligations present in multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs), although no progress was made pending an outcome in the negotiations on agricultural and industrial market access. Discussions on information exchange and observer status of MEAs at the WTO (mandated by Paragraph 31(ii) of the Doha Declaration) focused on new language proposed by the chair, with members discussing whether a list of questions or a list of criteria should be adopted to determine how to grant observership status. Informal negotiations will continue, and the next formal CTE-SS is scheduled to take place on 1 October (Source: ICTSD Bridges).

Link to further information
ICTSD Bridges, 25 July 2007

UNDP-GEF BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION PROJECT REPORTS PROGRESS
The UN Development Programme-Global Environment Facility’s (UNDP-GEF) project Biodiversity conservation in coffee, which seeks to protect coffee farmers and biodiversity in Latin America, is making strides, according to a project report dated 14 June 2007. The project focuses on establishing new, environmentally and socially responsible ways of doing business, and one of the main strategies is to transform productive practices in the coffee sector by increasing market demand for certified sustainable coffee. The project works with major coffee traders, roasters and importers to increase the volumes of Rainforest Alliance certified (RAC) coffee, one of the most rigorous and complete sustainability standards in the coffee industry. An early success has been the announcement that 1,200 McDonald’s restaurants in the UK and Ireland will exclusively sell RAC coffee.

Link to further information
UNDP-GEF Project report

THREE-PHASE APPROACH PROPOSED FOR FFD FOLLOW-UP
At an informal General Assembly consultation of the whole, held at UN headquarters, New York, US, on 8 June 2007, the Permanent Representatives of Norway and Egypt to the UN suggested adopting a three-phased approach towards the Financing for Development (FFD) Follow-up Conference in Doha, Qatar, in the second half of 2008.
The first phase will include the High-level Dialogue on FFD to be held during the 62nd Session of the General Assembly (New York, 22-23 October 2007), featuring the participation of civil society during interactive multi-stakeholder round-table sessions. The second phase will focus on outstanding procedural issues related to the review process, with the goal of concluding with the adoption of a resolution covering these issues. The third phase will perform substantive preparations and consultations in accordance with guidance stipulated in GA resolution 61/191, to ensure that the Follow-up Conference does not alter or re-negotiate the Monterrey Consensus.

Link to additional information
The Road to Doha Newsletter

DEADLINE SET FOR COMPLIANCE WITH WTO BIOTECH RULING
The EU has agreed with Argentina, Canada and the US on a 21 November 2007 deadline for compliance with the World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling in the case of the EU approval procedure for genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The ruling had claimed that the application of EU-wide and national moratoria on the approval of GMOs at the time the case was filed was illegal under WTO law. Meanwhile, EU member states continue to be divided over the approval of new GMOs, while Greece has just extended its ban on genetically modified maize.

Link to further information
Bridges Trade BioRes, 6 July 2007

ILLEGAL LOGGING CONTINUES IN INDONESIA – WTO REPORT
A trade policy review (TPR) conducted by the World Trade Organization (WTO) stated that a ban on log exports has done little to stem forest over-exploitation and illegal logging in Indonesia. Illegal logging is estimated to account for over 50 percent of Indonesian timber production, despite a ban on the export of logs being reinstated in 2001. The WTO report said that foreign demand for cheap timber appeared to overwhelm Indonesia’s enforcement capacity.

Link to further information
BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest, Volume 11, Number 24, 4 July 2007

JUNE 2007

WTO DISCUSSES PESTICIDE RESIDUE LIMITS AS BARRIERS TO TRADE
During the 27–28 June 2008 meeting of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures Committee, which deals with food safety and animal and plant health and safety, a group of developing countries led by Argentina expressed concerns about new maximum pesticide residue levels imposed by several developed nations as creating barriers to trade. They urged the establishment of common international standards by the joint UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)-WHO Codex Alimentarius Commission on food safety. Japan, the EU, New Zealand and Australia said they would join the discussion when they have had time to study Argentina’s paper.

Link to additional information
WTO SPS Press Release, 29 June 2007

WORKSHOP ON VOLUNTARY STANDARDS ORGANIZED BY WTO AND UNCTAD
On Monday 25 June 2007, the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) held a joint workshop on private and commercial standards, such as “EurepGap” rules, the retailer-driven Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) and the food safety management system standard “ISO 22000” from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). These voluntary standards cover a wide range of issues including food safety and quality, production methods, fair trade and labor requirements, and other environmental concerns (such as transportation distances). The main themes addressed during the workshop relate to the following aspects of voluntary standards: that standards set by the private sector can help suppliers improve the quality of their products and gain access to markets, but this may be offset by the cost of meeting the standards and obtaining certificates; and that there are concerns regarding the lack of transparency and/or scientific basis for some of these standards.

Link to additional information
WTO SPS Press Release, 29 June 2007

IMO PROJECT ON BALLAST WATER RECEIVES FUNDING
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has announced the approval by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) of funding for the second phase of the project entitled “Building Partnerships to Assist Developing Countries to Reduce the Transfer of Harmful Aquatic Organisms in Ships’ Ballast Water.” The project will be implemented by the IMO, in partnership with the GEF and the UN Development Programme, and aims to assist particularly vulnerable countries and regions to enact legal, policy and institutional reforms in compliance with the objectives of the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments of 2004.

Link to further information
IMO Press Release, 21 June 2007

WTO PANEL RULES ON RETREADED TIRES DISPUTE, BOTH SIDES CLAIM VICTORY
On 12 June 2007, a WTO panel ruled in favor of the European Community (EC) on a complaint filed in 2005 by the EC against Brazil, challenging the latter’s ban on imports of retreaded tires. The environmental component of the dispute revolved around Brazil’s argument that its import ban was justified on public health grounds, under GATT Article XX(b) (measures necessary to protect human, animal, or plant life or health), as growing piles of waste tires provide fertile breeding grounds for disease-carrying mosquitoes, increasing the potential for dengue, yellow fever and malaria, and their sheer volume is already beyond the country's capacity for environmentally responsible disposal. The Panel upheld Brazil’s argument, however it ruled that the application of the measure was discriminatory because, due to several court injunctions, Brazil had continued to import retreaded tires from other countries. As a consequence, the EU won the case but Brazil may easily ensure its policy is “WTO-friendly” by applying it consistently throughout the country. Initial reactions to the case note that both parties were satisfied with the outcome, although the option for an appeal will remain open for 60 days until WTO Members adopt the panel's report.

Links to additional information
BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest, 20 June 2007
WTO Documentation Centre

IFC PROMOTES SUSTAINABILITY IN STOCK EXCHANGE TRADING
The International Finance Corporation (IFC) recently helped Brazil's São Paulo Stock Exchange, the largest stock trading center in Latin America, to launch a new index of publicly traded companies that have adopted world-class sustainability standards. The new BOVESPA Corporate Sustainability Index is part of a trend to integrate sustainability into lending and investment in emerging markets.

Link to additional information
IFC Press Release, 15 June 2007

IFAD BACKS WATER PROJECTS TO HELP RURAL POOR IN SYRIA
Under agreements entered in mid-June 2007, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has created two new programmes designed to improve irrigation for needy Ethiopian families and to overcome water shortages and create jobs in north-eastern Syria. IFAD’s North-eastern Regional Rural Development Project will be financed partly by a low-interest IFAD loan of US$ 20 million, a loan of US$ 17 million from the OPEC Fund for International Development and a contribution of US$ 20 million from the Syrian Government. A US$ 57.7 million Ethiopian project is financed in part by a US$ 20 million grant from IFAD and a separate US$ 20 million loan from the same agency and will benefit more than 60,000 families.

Link to further information
IFAD Press Release, 14 June 2007

UNEP FI LAUNCHES CLIMATE CHANGE DECLARATION BY FINANCE SECTOR
The UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) launched its “Declaration on Climate Change by the Financial Services Sector,” signed by over 20 of UNEP FI member companies, on 5 June 2007. The declaration states, among other things, that: anthropogenic climate change is real; the cost of inaction will be extremely high; financial institutions must take greater action and integrate climate change into their everyday decision-making; and governments need to set ambitious, long-term targets for emissions reduction. The statement will remain open for endorsement in the run-up to the climate change negotiations in Bali, Indonesia, in December 2007.

Link to further information
UNEP FI Statement, 5 June 2007

ADB AND UN SECRETARY-GENERAL’S ADVISORY BOARD ON WATER AND SANITATION AGREE TO COLLABORATE
The UN Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation is mandated to promote global action on water and sanitation issues, while the Asian Development Bank (ADB) is a regional development finance institution. In a joint statement the two bodies agreed to collaborate on various activities to increase investments and results in water supply and sanitation, disaster management, and integrated water resources management in Asia. This collaboration is expected to help both institutions reach their objective of achieving the Millennium Development Goals related to water and sanitation in the region.

Link to further information
ADB Press Release, 1 June 2007

MAY 2007

GLOBAL COMPACT INTRODUCES BUSINESS LEADERSHIP PLATFORM ON CLIMATE CHANGE
In a press release on 30 May 2007, the UN Global Compact introduced the statement “Caring for Climate: The Business Leadership Platform,” drafted by the UN Environment Programme, WBCSD and Global Compact, which provides a practical platform for Global Compact participants to advance climate change solutions and demonstrate leadership. Global Compact anticipates that a significant number of business leaders will become signatories of the statement, and expects that the occasion of the Global Compact Leaders Summit (Geneva, Switzerland, 5-6 July 2007) will be used to express the urgent need to address climate change.

Links to further information
UN Global Compact Press release, 30 May 2007
The Statement

MARINE SCIENTISTS URGE WTO TO END FISHING SUBSIDIES
A group of 125 international marine scientists have appealed to WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy, asking him to push for a slashing of fisheries subsidies. The statement, sponsored by preeminent fisheries experts Daniel Pauly and Boris Worm and delivered on 24 May 2007, warns that unless worldwide subsidies are significantly reduced, global overfishing and other destructive fishing practices will likely result in the permanent damage of the ocean ecosystem. WTO Negotiations on fisheries subsidies are considered to represent an historic opportunity to address environmental concerns through trade negotiations. “The WTO has a once in a lifetime chance to demonstrate that it can not only balance trade and the environment, but make one of the greatest contributions to protecting the world’s oceans,” said Andrew Sharpless from the marine conservation group Oceana.

 

Links to further information
The letter to Lamy
ICTSD Bridges Weekly Trade News Digest, 30 May 2007
Oceana press release, 24 May 2007

PREPARATIONS UNDERWAY FOR THE 31st GEF COUNCIL MEETING
The documents for the 31st Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council meeting, scheduled for 12-15 June 2007, in Washington DC, US, have been posted online and include a revised project cycle and focal area strategies, as well as a results-based management framework. The meeting will be preceded by an NGO consultation on 11 June.

Link to further information
GEF Council website

QATAR TO HOST FOLLOW-UP TO UNGA DEBATE ON MDGs
In a letter dated 7 May 2007, UN General Assembly (UNGA) President Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa has informed UN Member States about the meeting entitled “Financing Development to achieve the MDGs” to take place in Doha, Qatar, from 17-18 June 2007, which is a follow-up to the thematic debate “Partnerships to achieve the MDGs,” held in November 2006. The meeting will focus on translating existing commitments into action, reviewing developing country efforts to implement scaled up Millennium Development Goal (MDG) strategies, and exploring innovative financing sources, and could serve as an input to the preparatory process of the ‘Follow-up International Conference on Financing for Development to Review the Implementation of the Monterrey Consensus,’ which will convene in Doha in the second half of 2008.

Links to further information
UNGA President’s letter, 7 May 2007
Draft programme

UN INITIATIVE ON RESPONSIBLE INVESTMENT GAINING MOMENTUM
The Principles of Responsible Investment, an initiative of the UN Global Compact and the UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), has announced that, on its first anniversary, it
has attained over 180 leading institutional signatories, representing more than US$ 8 trillion in assets under management. The Principles of Responsible Investment are voluntary and provide a framework for analyzing environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) issues in the investment process. The newly established PRI Engagement Clearinghouse is the first global collaborative forum for investors to work together and share knowledge to take action on ESG issues.

Link to further information
Principles of Responsible Investment Press release, 29 April 2007

APRIL 2007

US TRADE PANEL INVESTIGATES ILLEGAL LOGGING COMPLAINTS
The US International Trade Commission is investigating logging practices by China and other countries, after timber-producing states complained that as much as 30 percent of US hardwood imports are from suspicious or illegal sources. Industry groups say that illegally-harvested timber from some Latin American countries is sent to China for low-cost processing and then exported to the US and other countries.

Link to further information
International Herald Tribune news report, 18 April 2007

AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK ANNOUNCES NEW SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY STRATEGY
The African Development Bank held a stakeholder workshop from 12-13 April 2007, in Accra, Ghana, that ended with the adoption of a development strategy for higher education, science and technology. The strategy aims to establish public-private partnerships, as well as private sector investments for programmes to develop technological skills, strengthen science and technology infrastructure and bring about institutional and policy reforms.

Link to further information
Sci-Dev Net news release, 16 April 2007

PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP TO SAVE MAJOR RIVERS
IBM and The Nature Conservancy announced on 24 April 2007, a new partnership to conserve some of the world's great rivers through information technology and science-driven conservation. The Nature Conservancy's Great Rivers Partnership and IBM's Big Green Innovations project will create a computer modeling framework that will allow users to simulate the behavior of river basins around the world, helping inform policy and management decisions. The project will start with the Paraguay-Paraná river system in Brazil, and then move to China's Yangtze River and the Mississippi River in the United States. Among the data collected will be information on water flow, erosion rates, potential pollution and nutrient overflow from farming, as well as the historical climate and rainfall of the region.

Links to further information
The Nature Conservancy Press Release,
24 April 2007
IBM Press Release
, 24 April 2007

MARCH 2007

US PROPOSES CUTS IN FISHERIES SUBSIDIES
The US has sent a proposal to the World Trade Organization (WTO) to cut national fisheries subsidies, which it says contribute to overfishing. The proposal calls for a broad ban on subsidies to fisheries that capture wild ocean stock and that contribute to the overcapacity of the world’s fishing fleets and the depletion of marine life globally. It would cover subsidies related to the construction and upkeep of fishing vessels and costs associated with allowing vessels to fish longer than would be economically possible without the subsidies. Under the proposal, activities such as capturing young fish to be raised in pens or farms or harvesting unpenned ocean fish to use as feed would be prohibited. Global subsidy levels are estimated at USD$34 billion annually. After receiving comments on its proposal, the US will submit it to the next session of the Negotiating Group on Rules, tentatively scheduled for 30 April 2007.


Link to further information

ICTSD reporting, 28 March 2007

WTO PANEL’S CONFIDENTIAL REPORT REJECTS ENVIRONMENTAL IMPORT RESTRICTIONS ON USED TIRES
A confidential interim report by a WTO panel on the dispute between Brazil and the EU over the former’s restrictions to the import of retreaded tires (old tires that are reprocessed for a second and final use), was reported to have been circulated to the two parties on 12 March 2007. The panel is said to have concluded that Brazil’s restrictions were contrary to WTO rules, because it allowed imports of the same product from its MERCOSUR trade bloc partners. In response to the report, Brazilian Environment Minister Marina Silva noted that there was a substantial difference in environmental terms between disposing of 100 thousand tires from Uruguay and doing the same for 80 million tires from the EU. In addition, several environmental NGOs have defended Brazil’s right to restrict such imports under GATT Article XX, due to the potential for waste generation. The decision is not yet final; once the panel’s report is officially disclosed and approved, the dispute settlement procedure will allow recourse to its Appellate Body.

Link to further information
ICTSD Trade Bio Res, 16 March 2007

3 MILLION EURO AVAILABLE FOR CLEAN ENERGY PROJECTS
The Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP), which was established at the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002 and includes over 200 partners including 35 governments, has announced a call for tenders for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in developing countries and emerging market economies. The Partnership also seeks bidders for the production of a REEEP Report on Energy Efficiency and to commission work around risk reduction investment in renewable and energy efficiency.

Link to further information
REEEP Press Release, 1 March 2007

GLOBAL COMPACT AND SAN FRANCISCO LAUNCH CLIMATE PARTNERSHIP
The UN Global Compact, the City of San Francisco and a number of Bay Area businesses launched on 1 March 2007 the Principles on Climate Leadership and Business Council on Climate Change (BC3) initiatives. The new partnerships will involve voluntary actions to address climate change. The initiative will give Bay Area businesses a forum in which to share best practices to reduce greenhouse gases, and it will also seek to create a model for climate action in the commercial and public sectors that the Global Compact will aim to place in companies and cities around the world.   

Link to further information
UN Global Compact press release, 1 March 2007

INTERNATIONAL BIOFUELS FORUM LAUNCHED AT UN
The International Biofuels Forum, a joint project of Brazil, China, India, South Africa, the United States and the European Commission, was launched at UN Headquarters in New York, US, on 2 March 2007. The forum will seek to expand the world market for alternative fuels and to structure the dialogue among the biggest producers and consumers of biofuels to establish common norms and standards, and work towards the commoditization of biofuels. A further objective is to identify ways to encourage investment in countries with the potential to develop alternative fuels. The International Biofuels Forum will meet regularly for one year and plans to convene an international biofuel conference in Brazil in 2008.

Links to further information
UN News Release, 2 March 2007
Wired News press release, 3 March 2007

US UTILITY BUYOUT SHOWS GREEN TREND
A planned buyout of US energy utility TXU by private equity groups has been hailed by some in the environmental movement as a sign that the finance sector is increasingly taking climate change and sustainable development seriously. The groups involved in the buyout have indicated that they will not proceed with a number of coal-fired power plants that TXU had planned to construct in Texas. Instead, the new owners are set to invest more in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and clean coal technology. Environmental groups have expressed hope that this will hail a “new era” in greener investment.

Links to further information
Newsweek, 12 March 2007
Greenwire/WBCSD news, 27 February 2007
CERES news release, 26 February 2007

FEBRUARY 2007

ADB AND UN HABITAT WILL INCREASE WATER INVESTMENTS FOR ASIA'S URBAN POOR

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and UN-HABITAT have decided to continue their partnership and committed to double investments in safe drinking water and sanitation facilities for some of Asia’s poorest urban areas. The partnership started in 2003 and carries the Water in Asian Cities Program, which will extend to 2011 with each organization committing $10 million in grant funds. The partnership was established to improve water supply and sanitation services to the urban poor in Asia, build the capacity of Asian cities to secure and manage investments, and to help the region meet the Millennium Development Goal of halving by 2015 the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and improved sanitation.


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ADB Press release, 13 February 2007

WTO DISCUSSES RELATIONSHIP TO MEAS
World Trade Organization (WTO) Member States met on 23 January 2007 to discuss the relationship between the secretariats of multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) and the WTO, following Paragraph 31(ii) of the Doha Declaration. The Secretariat presented a paper addressing, inter alia: cooperation and information exchange experiences between MEAs and the WTO, such as information sessions in the WTO Committee on Trade and Environment and WTO side events in MEAs; and technical cooperation activities such as WTO trade and environment regional seminars and the UNEP-UNCTAD Capacity Building Task Force. No progress was reported on the issue of MEA observer status in the WTO, although some indicate that a resolution is more likely than in the other two key issues: the status of MEA trade measures within the WTO, and tariffs for environmental goods and services.

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ICTSD Bridges, 31 January 2007
WTO Document TN/TE/S/2/Rev.2, 16 January 2007

JANUARY 2007

DESPITE GLOBAL ECONOMIC SLOWDOWN, DEVELOPING COUNTRIES EXPECTED TO GROW IN 2007 � UN REPORT
Jose Antonio Ocampo, UN Under-Secretary General for Economic and Social Affairs, has highlighted a new UN report�s finding that developing countries will continue to grow despite a slow down in the world economy�s growth. He said the global economic slowdown should not jeopardize the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals during the 10 January 2007 launch of the World Economic Situation and Prospects 2007. He added that the Report emphasizes that, after three consecutive years of high economic growth, the global economy is expected to unwind due to the cooling of the housing market in the US. The slow economic growth in the US, projected to be 2.2 percent in 2007, followed by the protracted economic recovery of Japan and Europe, will moderate consumer demand. Nevertheless, the report points out that East Asian economies will continue to lead economic growth, particularly the Chinese economy.  The report indicates that coordination of economic policies could build greater confidence in the stability of financial and foreign-exchange markets and help avoid negative growth effects.

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UN News Centre, 10 January 2007
World Economic Situation and Prospects 2007
UNDESA Press release, 11 January 2007

Launching of the Report �  webcast

WORLD BANK SEEKS FEEDBACK ON GOVERNANCE AND ANTI-CORRUPTION
The World Bank Group is seeking written feedback on strengthening the Bank's governance and anticorruption work as an integral part of its work to reduce poverty and promote growth. A new approach, set out in the paper �Strengthening Bank Group Engagement on Governance and Anticorruption,� will be presented to the Development Committee for approval later this semester. Written feedback is being accepted in English, French, Spanish, Arabic or Russian, and the deadline for submissions is 26 January 2007.

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Invitation to Comment
Strengthening Bank Group Engagement on Governance and Anticorruption

IDB�s MULTILATERAL INVESTMENT FUND FINANCES CLEAN ENERGY MARKETS
The Inter-American Development Bank�s Multilateral Investment Fund has created a new cluster of activities focused on promoting clean energy markets to help small enterprises gain access to these markets while improving their competitiveness. It will promote new financial instruments and assist in the creation of capacities required by smaller firms to serve these markets. The new cluster has already approved two projects to support market opportunities for clean energy: a US$975,000 grant to Fundaci�n Chile and a US$600,000 grant to the Ecologica Institute to work in rural areas of Tocantins, Brazil.

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IDB Press Release, 18 January 2007

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