Environmental Goods and Services Negotiations: WTO
Environmental goods and services (EGS) negotiations under the WTO framework authorized under Doha Round Ministerial Declaration of 2001 [paragraph 31 (iii)], have been going on for about a decade but showed little progress toward any practicable action in reducing tariff and non-tariff barriers (see deliberations under the Committee on Trade and Environment Special Sessions under the WTO). Let us also note that there has been no mention of the words climate change in the Declaration. As a result, the mandate regarding EGS negotiations is founded on a narrow focus of objectives and means of achieving the same. The outcome of the negotiations may turn out to be too little too late. In contrast to the proclaimed triple win objectives (trade, environmental, and economic) proclaimed under the WTO charter of negotiations, the output thus far has been dismal on all those three fronts; meeting the imperatives of climate change adaptation (CCA) remains a far cry. Missed opportunities in trade and economic expansion, gainful employment creation, and addressing various challenges of climate change convey the message that the global community needs to gear up toward time-bound efficient decision-making. The role and limitations of current approaches in availing EGS toward CCA, and ways to move forward are summarized below.