United Nations Environment Programme
Division of Technology, Industry, and Economics
Economics and Trade Branch

Integrated Assessment of Trade-Related Policies

Integrated assessment of trade-related policies uses a range of impact assessment tools to evaluate the environmental, social and economic impacts of trade liberalization and trade-related policies at national level, providing policy and decision makers with information necessary for informed decision-making. By promoting integrated assessment, UNEP ETB seeks to assist governments and other national institutions to develop mutually supportive trade and environment policies that will help reduce or mitigate negative impacts and strengthen positive impacts of trade liberalization and trade-related policies.

UNEP ETB has supported three rounds of Country Projects over the past eight years that analyse the environmental, economic and social effects of trade liberalization and other trade-related policies. Undertaken by national research institutions in collaboration with relevant government ministries, the Country Projects have strengthened countries' capacities for instituting participatory processes, enhancing inter-ministerial coordination and developing integrated policy design and implementation. The Country Projects have been published under the following titles:

  • Environmental Impacts of Trade Liberalization and Policies for the Sustainable Management of Natural Resources (Round I)
  • Integrated Assessment of Trade Liberalization and Trade-related Policies (Round II).
  • Integrated Assessment of Trade Liberalization in the Rice Sector (Round III).

For each round of projects, ETB has also compiled and published a Synthesis Report that provides an overview of each Country Study and presents the key findings. Current work supports the implementation of the recommendations that resulted from the studies in selected countries.

Based on these projects, ETB has also produced (in three languages: English, French and Spanish) a Reference Manual for the Integrated Assessment of Trade-related Policies, which is tailored to the needs of policy makers and practitioners in developing countries. Further, given the central importance of the agricultural sector for poverty reduction and the environment, ETB published a Handbook on Integrated Assessment of Trade-related Measures: The Agricultural Sector. A draft for a training resource manual on integrated assessment of trade-related policies has been prepared.

To further analyse the complex interrelationships between agriculture, biological diversity and trade liberalization ETB has launched a new initiative in 2005 on Integrated Assessment of Trade Related Policies in the Agriculture Sector with a focus on biological diversity. An important aspect of this initiative will be the creation of a general set of indicators for measuring biodiversity. Six countries from the ACP group (Africa, Caribbean and Pacific) yet to be designated will customize and apply the integrated assessment framework.