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TRADE, ENVIRONMENT AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

UNCTAD, the task manager for this issue, reported that it has sponsored a number of meetings on trade, environment and sustainable development. The UNCTAD Trade and Development Board met in September and discussed the effect of environment-based activities on market access. UNCTAD and UNEP co-sponsored, from 21-25 November 1994, a high-level meeting on trade, environment and sustainable development where over thirty experts attended. The GATT/WTO Committee on Trade and Environment also met for three days at the end of November and the UNCTAD Ad Hoc Working Group on Trade, Environment and Development met from 28 November - 1 December 1994, in Geneva. UNCTAD and UNEP will also organize a seminar on reconciling environment and trade issues just prior to the CSD meeting in April. Some 20 country case studies in this field are in progress. While UNCTAD cannot say which policy issues will emerge, there is no doubt that these issues constitute a broad and complex agenda. Possible protectionist impacts are a real concern that can undermine international cooperation. UNCTAD is confident that it will have rich material at hand when it prepares the report for the third session of the CSD.

OECD WORKSHOP ON ECOLABELLING AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE: The UK Government hosted a workshop in London on 6-7 October 1994, on ecolabelling and international trade under the auspices of the OECD Joint Session of Trade and Environment Experts. Ecolabelling aims to identify those consumer products that do least harm to the environment and provide information to consumers to enable those who wish to buy "greener" products. The workshop focused mainly on the type of ecolabels that have been classified as Type I by the ISO: labels involving a third party granting a seal of approval or a certification to products that meet defined criteria. The workshop looked at some of the ways in which ecolabelling schemes can have implications for trade by influencing the conditions of competition in the market. Other issues included: motivations and approaches to ecolabelling; transparency, access and credibility; testing and certification; and harmonization and mutual recognition.

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