Today, Global Value Chains (GVCS) have become a reality for most countries. Fragmented production models are a powerful transformative force that can present both opportunities and challenges for least developed (LDCs) and low-income countries (LICs). ICTSD has developed a series of innovative research studies intended to unpack the complex relationship between GVCs and the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This session therefore presented a synthesis of ICTSD’s recent analyses on how GVCs interact with SDGs while taking into consideration the high-level of heterogeneity with regard to the sustainable development implications of value chains across the world. Looking at various sectors, geographies and types of value chains, the discussion suggested how certain sustainable development dynamics could be fostered in value chains through targeted trade policy and trade-related policy changes. Additionally, the extent to which sustainability standards can produce positive and negative sustainable development outcomes for developing countries in the context of value chains.
This event discussed how the Aid for Trade initiative could be leveraged to help developing countries participate more effectively in global value chains and link this participation to advancing Sustainable Development Goals. The discussions included a focus on facilitating compliance with the growing number of private sustainability standards in value chains and, more broadly, on the extent to which regulations and standards can affect sustainable development outcomes for developing countries in the context of value chains.
Although many stakeholders have greatly benefited from globalisation over recent decades, these gains are not automatic, the sustainable development impact of value chain is likely to differ depending on the geography and the sector of the value chain as well as the power dynamics within the value chain. The linkages between Global Value Chains (GVCS) and the achievement of sustainable development goals and inclusion are a maze of complex interlinkages and cannot be viewed in isolation. The potential trade-offs occurring between the economic, social and environmental aspects comprising sustainability need to be addressed in a comprehensive and dynamic manner. This session discussed how participation into GVCs can help developing countries achieve inclusive economic transformation. Given their rising importance in global production structures, the session reviewed the impacts – both positive and negative – that regulations/standards have on social and environmental dynamics within GVCs and assessed the extent to which they can lead to sustainable development outcomes.