Climate change poses tremendous risks for growth and development and therefore requires ambitious and immediate action.
The Paris Agreement, with its universal character, represents an unprecedented commitment to tackle the climate challenge: its signatories aim to peak emissions as soon as possible and to decarbonise the global economy in the second half of the century.
The success of the Paris Agreement will require supportive policies across many areas, including with regard to trade. Policies to achieve the goal of a low-carbon economy range from trade liberalisation for climate-friendly goods and services to phasing out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies or providing space for climate-friendly subsidies. At the same time, the decentralised nature of the new climate agreement built on nationally determined contributions (NDCs) will likely generate increasing spillover effects on trade, testing the limits of trade rules and possibly undermining climate goals. Recent political developments add uncertainty about the levels of mitigation action that can be expected.
Developing countries, who are are the most exposed to the effects of climate change, will need to accelerate their adaptation measures, while also being expected to take an active part in climate mitigation for the first time. While the challenges are considerable, climate action supported by trade may also offer co-benefits in terms of economic development.
This dialogue will explore key interactions between trade, development and the implementation of the Paris Agreement. The objective is to create an informed, open and constructive exchange to drive more coherent policy-making and development cooperation where the potential for trade to positively contribute to the climate action effort is realised, while ensuring that climate measures do not unnecessarily distort trade but rather promote an open economic system that contributes to sustainable, equitable and inclusive development.