A consensus has evolved over the past years that subsidies under many circumstances, contribute to the depletion of natural resources and increased pollution. The World Summit for Sustainable Development (WSSD) in 2002 identified the reform of environmentally harmful subsidies as a pressing need.
UNEP's Economic and Trade Branch seeks to further the understanding and awareness of the negative impacts of environmentally harmful subsidies and contribute to the international discussion on subsidy reform by conducting analyses, facilitating international stakeholder consultations and enhancing the capacities of policy makers to develop the necessary reform policies.
Recent work on subsidies has used a number of case studies
on the impact of subsidies in the context of trade liberalization, especially
in the energy and fisheries sectors. Currently, UNEP ETB attaches highest
priority to work on fisheries subsidies, as it feeds into the on-going WTO
negotiations on potential new disciplines for fisheries subsidies.