The environment and the natural resources that it provides form the basis of global economic activity. Growing interconnectedness between economies, prominent trends such as mobile supply chains, and shifting global demands have increased pressure on natural resource pools and the communities that rely on them. With this in mind, policymakers face the challenge of optimising the economic benefits of these international trade opportunities and the sustainable management of natural capital. ICTSD’s extensive expert network examines the specific policy challenges that emerge as trade and environmental priorities intersect, with an emphasis on natural resource management

The development of and investment in multilateral, regional, and national trade policy instruments is necessary to ensure the legality of trade in renewable resources and to encourage sustainable use and management. ICTSD explores the relationship between trade policy and the sustainable use of fisheries and forestry resources through its general scoping papers and its issue-specific research.

Although they present different policy challenges, ICTSD also examines non-renewable resources with the understanding that global production chains require balanced, effective responses in order to better align with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its trade-related targets. ICTSD offers policymakers and stakeholders in-depth analyses of the role of trade in fulfilling the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially in regards to trade in minerals and the relationship between trade and water resources.

ICTSD engages with the 2030 Agenda by producing substantive input papers and organizing multi-stakeholder policy dialogues designed to connect policy communities in New York and Geneva. The collaboration between the ICTSD environment and natural resources, agriculture, and climate change teams allow for the environment and natural resources programme to more effectively carry out its work on fisheries, forestry, water, and mineral resources and their trade implications, target areas which are also reflected in the programme’s focus on SDGs 2, 14, and 17.

Additionally, ICTSD considers the importance of the role that the World Trade Organization has to play in achieving the SDGs and has aimed to provide policymakers with accurate and reliable analysis for negotiations to produce the best possible outcome for all stakeholders while upholding commitments to environmental concerns. In light of the upcoming Eleventh Ministerial Conference (MC11), ICTSD’s involvement in current deliberations on disciplines for fisheries subsidies that contribute to illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing, overcapacity, and overfishing (SDG 14.6) offers policymakers the opportunity to examine the key role that trade policy plays in effective natural resource management; to deepen their understanding of the links between the environment, conservation, and trade; and to reaffirm their commitments to fulfillment of the 2030 Agenda overall.