Amidst the current global economic turmoil and accompanying calls for a new international economic framework, it is important to highlight the fact this report represents one outcome of a body of work that began more than a decade ago, as WWF was preparing to make inputs to the Third Ministerial Meeting of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), which took place in Seattle in the USA during November/December 2003.
Instead of focusing on the shortcomings of WTO, at that time a relatively newly created body (only four years old), and the short-term agendas promoted by governments and companies in developed economies that dominated discussion within the Organisation at the time, WWF took the decision to invest in the promotion of a far more proactive agenda, with a focus on emerging economies, and on the international trade and investment regimes required to deliver products, services and solutions that promote environmental sustainability.
WWF’s collaboration with key stakeholders in the BRICS countries has intensified over a period of several years, and this paper can be considered as one result of the organisation’s efforts to support a transformative agenda that delivers concrete result from this next generation of economic superpowers. The paper is authored by Sanjay Kumar, a highly knowledgeable and experienced official of the Government of India, and during his tenure in the country’s trade delegation to the WTO, one of the driving forces behind the project-based, demand-driven approach to trade liberalisation in the area of EGS.
At a time when many developed country governments continue to utilise the demand for increased environmental sustainability of products and services as a means to increase export opportunities for their companies, this project-based approach seeks to place the environmental and social requirements of the world as a whole, and of developing nations in particular, above narrow economic self-interest as a driver for liberalisation in this area.