The global trading system is facing its worst crisis in 70 years. The re-emergence of tariff wars, paralysis at the World Trade Organisation (WTO), and rapidly evolving trade dynamics are spurring policymakers to grapple with the nature of the 21st century global trade agenda and how it can best be advanced. At the same time, over 30 years since public concerns propelled ‘trade and environment’ into the political spotlight, mounting concern about the breadth, intensity, and urgency of the word’s environmental challenges has put new pressures on governments to act in favour of a more sustainable global economy, including more environmentally sustainable trade.
Amidst ongoing World Trade Organization (WTO) reform discussions, this Breakfast Discussion aims to spur dialogue on a forward-looking agenda for Environment and Trade 2.0. What would a transformative agenda that proactively supports greater sustainability look like? In light of the many trade-related targets in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), how concretely can the WTO better serve sustainable development? What are the most important trade-environment issues for attention now? What is missing from the current policy agenda? What elements are vital for ensuring an inclusive agenda that properly addresses development considerations? And critically, moving beyond the accommodation of environmental concerns, this Discussion will explore what is needed on the trade-environment front to promote the deeper economic transformations that sustainability demands.