Brief Assesment Of Trade And Globalisation Issues

September 4, 2002

Brief Assesment Of Trade And Globalisation Issues

In The 'Sustainable Development In A Globalizing World' And 'Means Of Implementation' Draft Texts As At 1 September 2002


  • Governments finally agreed to remove the language on WTO consistency from paragprah 17, after a long and hard battle. This highly significant development means that those governments striving to ensure that WTO rules take precedence over trade failed (since this paragraph effectively acts as a chapeau to the rest of the text). However, governments did not ensure, as they should have done, that sustainable development takes precedence over short-term trade concerns (Para 17).
  • The language on mulitlateral environmental agreements (MEAs) is a fudge. Whilst referring to the need to maintain the integrity of trade and environmental agreements, it supports the WTO work programme and fails to ensure explicitly that MEAS are not subordinated to trade rules (Para 18).
  • The text still completely endorses completion of the WTO's Doha work programme, regardless of its potential negative environmental and social impacts (throughout, but especially para 10)).
  • The text still includes language promoting the further liberalisation of all non-agricultural market products through WTO negotiations. This is particularly important since it could have significant negative environmental impacts in sectors such as forestry and mining (Para 12a).
  • The text only refers to the voluntary use of environmental impact assessments at the national level (and sustainability impacts assessments have completely disappeared from the text) (Para 17d).
  • The text still explicitly prioritises the use of public-private partnerships.


  • Significantly, there is no mention of environmental impacts in the globalisation paragraph (Para 1).


Before yesterday's highly significant developments concerning the WTO consistency langauge in Para 17, the score would have been 0/10. It now rises to 3/10. Howwever, if the outcome of the WSSD is to have any lasting value, heads of state still need to scrap this text and start again, ensuring the primacy of sustainable development, and in particular multilateral environmental agreements, over trade.

For further information contact:

Ronnie Hall
FOE International's Trade Programme Coordinator
Ph: 072 401 5402

Alexandra Wandel
FOE Europe's Trade Programme Coordinator
Ph: 072 406 4749