Import Ref: 
38
Import Imported: 
1

On 30 October, ICTSD and the World Economic Forum organised a workshop, “Facilitating Investment for Sustainable Development - II,” as part of its 2016/2017 series of investment policy dialogues, with the support of the Government of the Netherlands. These dialogues follow on from the work of the E15 Initiative Task Force on Investment Policy, which paved the way for the discussions.

The dialogue aimed at proposing investment facilitation norms and sharing best practices on facilitating sustainable investment. In so doing, it convened participants from various stakeholder groups, including government, civil society, academia, business and international organisations, and was structured into three sessions:

1. Investment Facilitation Cooperation and Norms, which examined the necessary elements of investment facilitation agreements and discussed how sustainability criteria could be used in connection with investment facilitation provisions.

2. Practical Investment Facilitation, which discussed examples of developing country experiences in facilitating sustainable investment. This session also discussed actions governments should undertake to identify, create and support sustainable investment projects, as well as investment facilitation policies.

3. Supporting Sustainable Investment Facilitation, which identified challenges, especially for developing countries, in carrying out investment facilitation policies and practices. This session also discussed possible ways to assist developing countries through institutional capacity building, sharing of best practices and multilateral and plurilateral initiatives.

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Place: 
Geneva, Switzerland
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E15Initiative
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programme 1
Language: 
English
Date period: 
Monday, 30 October 2017 - 9:00am to 4:00pm

On 5 October, ICTSD organised an informal roundtable dialogue aimed at examining means to advance Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14.6 through fisheries subsidies in the WTO ahead of the 11th WTO Ministerial Conference in Buenos Aires and beyond, with particular attention paid to institutional issues surrounding disciplining fisheries subsidies. The dialogue will take place under the E15 Initiative, jointly implemented by ICTSD and the World Economic Forum.

Recent proposals tabled in the WTO Rules Negotiating Group on fisheries subsidies include suggestions for additional information that could be included in Members’ notifications of their fisheries subsidies, for example regarding the conservation and management measures in place in the fishery for which the notified subsidy is provided. Discussion of this and related points has generated questions around how feasible and practicable it would be for WTO Members to provide this information.

A further institutional issue that has not yet been explored in much depth is the question of what legal form the final disciplines could take; options could include formal amendment to the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures or a Ministerial decision or declaration.

This roundtable helped to build convergence by providing a neutral space for informal dialogue among leading WTO negotiators and selected fisheries experts on the specific challenges under discussion. Issues covered included the feasibility of the various additional elements of information suggested for notification and how the disciplines could provide incentives for notification of this information towards improved transparency of fisheries subsidies. Discussion also covered the options that exist for the legal form of new rules on fisheries subsidies and the practical implications of the different forms that an agreement might take.

The meeting followed on from previous E15 workshops on disciplining fisheries subsidies, and formed part of a series of E15 dialogues on different topics being organised over the course of the year.

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Place: 
Geneva, Switzerland
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programme 1
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English
Date period: 
Thursday, 5 October 2017 - 11:43am

Climate action has been recognized as an overarching priority of the international community in the Paris Agreement of the UNFCCC as well as in the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The recent decision of the United States to withdraw from the Paris Agreement seems to have strengthened the resolve of other signatories of the agreement to fulfill their commitments. At the same time, it has enhanced the need to strengthen international responses to climate action through all possible means.

Trade policy is one area which could make a difference for climate action. To begin with, trade is vital for ensuring that clean energy technologies are available on a global level, in particular as manufacturing remains largely concentrated in a few producer countries. In a similar vein, carefully designed trade policies could help ensure that products with a low emissions intensity are available globally. Moreover, the trade system must be supportive, and not stand in the way, for countries' responses to climate change, be it carbon pricing, energy efficiency standards or labels. At the same time, it must be acknowledged that there are also possible tensions between trade and climate change - one country’s efforts to stem emissions may reduce demand for imports from another country, or affect the competitiveness of its own firms compared to industries in other countries.

In order to ensure that trade is enabled to play a role which facilitates and scales up climate action, while acknowledging and addressing the possible tensions, ICTSD, together with the Chatham House, Climate Strategies and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, has taken a fresh look at the intersection between trade, climate and clean energy under the joint ICTSD-World Economic Forum's E15 initiative. This session presented a selection of the findings from that effort and discussed policy options for decision makers in trade, investment and climate change in the context of the post-Paris world. 

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Place: 
Brussels, Belgium
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Global Rules for Mutually Supportive and Reinforcing Trade and Climate Regimes
Main Tag: 
Event
programme: 
programme 1
Language: 
English
Date period: 
Tuesday, 10 October 2017 - 9:00am

In addition to being environmentally harmful, fossil fuel subsidies depress growth, reinforce inequality, add to health hazards caused by air pollution and slow down the energy transition. The need to reform and ultimately phase out these harmful subsidies is thus urgent.

In spite of pledges made by the world’s largest economies at the G20 and under the universal Sustainable Development Goals to phase out fossil fuel subsidies, countries around the world continue to use them widely. With its binding nature and effective enforcement mechanism, the WTO could have a unique role to play to effectively discipline their use.

Lessons for how to do this could for instance be drawn from the fisheries negotiations and from the Agreement on Agriculture. The WTO fisheries negotiations may serve as a good example, both with respect to how to place a sustainability issue at the top of the global trade agenda, and to the technical level in the development of concrete options to discipline harmful subsidies.

The Agreement on Agriculture, on the other hand, may provide particularly useful insights with regard to its ex-ante classification of subsidies based on their presumed impact. Such an approach would not only help restrict fossil fuel subsidies but also provide incentives to move towards cleaner energy sources by providing a safe harbour for clean energy support.

This workshop, implemented in cooperation with the World Economic Forum, discussed these and other options for how to curb fossil fuel subsidies through the WTO, including through possible actions at MC11. Discussions were informed by brief expert presentations.

The meeting followed on from previous E15 workshops on disciplining fossil fuel subsidies, and forms part of a series of E15 dialogues on different topics being organised over the course of the year.

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Geneva, Switzerland
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The WTO subsidies agreement can be changed to discipline fossil fuel subsidiesPhasing out fossil fuel subsidies in the G20: From Pittsburgh to Hamburg and beyondClimate Change and Clean Energy in the 2030 Agenda: What Role for the Trade System?Global Rules for Mutually Supportive and Reinforcing Trade and Climate RegimesSubsidies, Clean Energy, and Climate ChangeSecuring Policy Space for Clean Energy under the SCM Agreement: Alternative Approaches
Main Tag: 
Event
programme: 
programme 1
Language: 
English
Date period: 
Friday, 29 September 2017 - 9:00am