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Articles from Science for Environment Policy

21.09.2011
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Articles from Science for Environment Policy

DG Environment News Alert Service...

21st century trade agreements: implications for development policy
International trade agreements can limit the 'policy space' of emerging and developing nations to implement effective regulation to encourage their development. Researchers reviewed policies designed to encourage long-term development and examined how existing trade agreements may limit their use. Download article (PDF)

Knowledge exchange across the Atlantic: challenges faced by NAFTA
The 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was a landmark agreement in its inclusion of environmental provisions, but a new study has identified several areas in need of reform. The EU could learn from the current challenges the NAFTA faces in dealing with trade-related environmental issues. Download article (PDF)

Aid for Trade: lessons learnt about sustainability from the past
Aid for Trade (AfT) aims to help developing countries maximise their trade opportunities and represent their interests in trade negotiations. According to research reviewing the lessons learnt from previous aid initiatives, AfT can help meet sustainable development goals if developing nations are involved in setting standards. Download article (PDF)

EU and US: implications of different SIA approaches in negotiations
Both the EU and the US undertake environmental impact assessments of trade agreements to understand environmental impacts of trade liberalisation. Researchers have compared the different approaches taken by the EU and the US to understand difficulties and successes in promoting environmental protection as part of trade agreements. Download article (PDF)

Sustainability Impact Assessments do not capture all impacts of trade
The Trade Sustainability Impact Assessments (SIAs) conducted by the European Commission are important elements in trade negotiations between the EU and its trading partners, but recent analysis suggests that trade SIAs are not as helpful in negotiations as might be hoped because they do not sufficiently assess the underlying reasons why negotiators are reluctant to conclude trade deals. Download article (PDF)

Revise trade model for a global green economy
Global trade can play a part in sustainable development and a green economy, if it ensures that benefits are equitably distributed among all sectors of society, and if trade agreements take account of and address impacts on natural resources and the environment. This is according to a recent report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), which has assessed the implications of a 'green economy' for sustainable development and international trade. Download article (PDF)

Hidden carbon emissions from trade offsets impacts of reforestation (14/7/11)
Countries that appear to have reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through reforestation may have simply "displaced" the emissions to another country, by increasing their imports of food, timber and wood. A new EU study highlights the need to recognise this "loophole" in ongoing emission targets.
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How effective is the Forest Stewardship Council certification scheme? (27/01/11)
A recent paper suggests that the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification scheme has not reduced deforestation, as originally intended, but acts instead as a market governance tool, which may become a barrier to international trade. However, it may develop a conservation role in conjunction with market initiatives which value ecosystem services, such as carbon sequestration through the Clean Development Mechanism.
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International trade in forest products transfers environmental impacts (18/11/10)
Large imports of low-cost Russian wood to Finland up until 2007 increased pressure on Russian forest ecosystems, whilst reducing harvest pressure on Finnish forests and those of other European countries that consume wood-based products made in Finland, according to research. This highlights the need to take the international dimension of environmental impacts into account when designing sustainable production and consumption policies.
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Making trade bans on endangered species work (4/6/10)
New research suggests that socio-economic considerations as well as biological and trade criteria need to be taken into account in the implementation of international trade agreements. The research focuses on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES), which is the largest international agreement on species conservation.
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Deforestation driven by rural exodus and agricultural trade (6/5/10)
Deforestation in the tropics is being driven by people moving from villages to cities and the global demand for agricultural products, according to a recent study. The researchers suggest that forest conservation policies which target small landowners should be extended to also target industrial-scale, mechanised farming if such initiatives are to be effective.
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Does Greening Public Procurement contravene Trade Laws? (14/6/07)
Dutch researchers have investigated to what extent promoting the greening of public procurement complies with international and European trade laws. Their results show that, at European level and in the context of international trade law, legislative requirements do not hinder climate-friendly procurement, as long as public authorities clearly specify the products and services they intend to purchase. Overall, they suggest that green public procurement is a useful tool in the endeavour to mitigate climate change.
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