IV. CONSIDERATION OF MULTILATERAL TRADE AND ENVIRONMENTAL AGREEMENTS IN DOMESTIC POLICY FORMULATION
The Earth Summit in Rio laid the foundation for a new type of global partnership that could achieve sustainable development and gave impetus to the search for a policy framework that would promote both economic efficiency and environmental improvement. The commitment to such a partnership calls for environmental issues to be addressed within the prescribed framework on the domestic front as well as the equally important cross-border environmental problems. Progress in issues such as climate change, biodiversity, sustainable forestry practices can only come about with sustained cooperation of all countries.
Agenda 21 recognizes the need for international cooperation in enhancing economic growth as well as sustainable development. A number of areas have been identified where the support of the international community is fundamental in providing an enabling climate for sustainable development, including: (a) the promotion of sustainable development through trade; (b) the reinforcement of the mutually supportive concerns of trade and environment; (c) the encouragement of macroeconomic policies supportive of the environment and developmental aspirations; and (d) addressing the issue of trade restrictions in the guise of environmental regulations.
Those concerns form the core of global agreements on the environment and, given the increasing focus of environmental initiatives in the international sphere, it is expected that multilateral agreements on the environment will increase. Developing countries, in particular, expect progress in those areas of cooperation to address the root cause of trade-environmental conflicts, as well as provide solutions to the large disparities in technical capacity for environmental management and the lack of resources for environmental protection.
Integrating sustainable development concepts into a well-defined policy
discipline remains a formidable responsibility. The same holds true for
mainstreaming multilateral agreements on trade and environment at the policy
level, given that the tools and institutional mechanisms that could facilitate
integration are still evolving. Efforts are underway to harmonize the agreements
with the national framework of agenda setting in the environmental sector.