Sustainability at the Intersection of Trade, Environment and Development

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The Rio+20 outcome document "The Future We Want" reaffirms the role of biodiversity and ecosystem services as key elements for sustainability and human and economic well-being. It also provides for current discussions on sustainable development goals (SDGs). As discussions on possible SDGs advance in the Open Working Group, the role of trade as a catalyst for sustainable development has been considered. The Rio+20 outcome document calls upon United Nations organizations to keep mainstreaming sustainable development within their respective mandates, programmes, strategies and decision-making processes, in support of the efforts of all countries, in particular developing countries. Similarly, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) was described as an agreement that stands at the intersection between trade, environment and development to regulate international trade in wildlife – both plants and animals.

As a contribution to the Open Working Group discussions on biodiversity, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), CITES, and the Organization of American States (OAS) organized this side event with relevant stakeholders working on trade, environment and development. It enlightened United Nations and OAS Member States on options to mainstream sustainable trade in biodiversity within the process leading to the United Nations post-2015 development agenda. Sustainable trade in biodiversity-based products and services is becoming a fast-growing sector in which local and international value chains interact. For example, it is estimated by the Convention on Biological Diversity secretariat that the natural cosmetics industry is worth US$26 billion, the natural beverages industry approximately US$23 billion and the botanical industry about US$85 billion. More specifically and according to UNCTAD, sales of BioTrade products and services are estimated to have been US$4.1 billion in 2011.

The objective of the side event was to explore how the sustainable trade of biodiversity-based products and the fight against wildlife trafficking could serve future SDGs. Improved sustainability, accountability and branding systems, and better use of innovative technologies will allow consumers to understand better and to differentiate sustainably traded products from traditional ones.


  • H.E. Mr. Gustavo Meza-Cuadra Velázquez, Ambassador, and Permanent Representative of Peru to the United Nations

  • Presentaciones
    Mr. Fernando Ocampo
    Vice-Minister of Foreign Trade of Costa Rica

    Ms. Arancha González
    Executive Director of the International Trade Centre

    Mr. Braulio Dias
    Executive Secretary, of the Convention on Biological Diversity

    Ms. Claudia de Windt
    Chief, Environmental Law, Policy and Good Governance, Department of Sustainable Development, OAS

    Mr. Juan Carlos Vasquez
    Legal Officer, CITES

    Mr. Bonapas Onguglo

    Officer in Charge, Trade, Environment, Climate Change and Sustainable Development Branch, Division on International Trade and Commodities, UNCTAD




    Video: CITES and Vicuñas