United Nations Environment Programme
Division of Technology, Industry, and Economics
Economics and Trade Branch
ETB Publications
Green Economy Initiative
Integrated Assessment
Environmental and Economic Accounting
Economic Instruments
Energy Subsidies
Fisheries-related Publications
Sustainable Trade and Environment
Training Modules
List of Publications 
ETB Publications

Fisheries Subsidies, Sustainable Development
and the WTO

This comprehensive resource manual provides a historic overview, synthesis and analysis of key issues regarding fisheries subsidies reform and the current development of fisheries subsidies negotiations at the WTO. The book presents country experiences from Ecuador, Norway and Senegal illustrating the impact of subsidies and reform processes. Accompanying the manual is a CD-ROM containing relevant source material from other organisations for further reading.

UNEP-UNCTAD CBTF Organic Agriculture: Opportunities for Promoting Trade, Protecting the Environment and Reducing Poverty (2010)


A Global Green New Deal: Rethinking the Economic Recovery

Climate and Trade Policies in a Post-2012 World (2009)

The publication “Climate and Trade Policies in a Post-2012 World” is the result of a joint effort by UNEP and the ADAM project (“Adaptation and Mitigation Strategies: Supporting European Climate Policy”). The publication provides a collection of short forward-thinking articles by leading experts on the relationship between trade and climate change policies. The authors closely examine a number of timely trade and climate change issues, including the potential use of climate-related border adjustment measures and liberalizing trade in climate-friendly technologies

Trade and Climate Change WTO-UNEP Report

The report by the WTO and the United Nations Environment Programme, released on 26 June 2009, explains the connections between trade and climate change. The report examines the science of climate change, its economic aspects, multilateral efforts to tackle climate change, and national climate change policies and their effect on trade. “With a challenge of this magnitude, multilateral cooperation is crucial and a successful conclusion to the ongoing climate change negotiations is the first step to achieving sustainable development for future generations”, said Director-General Pascal Lamy and UNEP's Executive Director Achim Steiner in a joint foreword to the Report.

To see full report: English, French, Spanish

To see abstract: English, French, Spanish

To see flyer: English, French, Spanish

To see press release: English, French, Spanish

Integrated Policymaking for Sustainable Development:
A Reference Manual

This manual draws on recent advances in public policy science as well as the decades-long experience of UNEP and other organizations in the field of sustainability-motivated policy assessment. By using a "building blocks" concept, it builds on the approach proposed in the UNEP Guidance Manual "Integrated Assessment: Mainstreaming Sustainability into Policymaking". Furthermore it suggests using sustainable development as a major filter for prioritizing competing issues and for deciding on policy choices. The manual is expected to prove useful to policymakers and analysts, and will motivate its audience to adopt an integrated approach to policymaking and to play a role in a more intelligent management of human, financial and natural capital as a step towards achieving the Green Economy of the 21st century.

Global Green New Deal - Policy Brief

This Guidance Manual was developed to support the use of Integrated Assessment as an instrument for mainstreaming sustainability into policymaking processes and to facilitate Integrated Policymaking for Sustainable Development. It draws on international experiences and highlights the connections between proposed policies and desired results such as job creation, income generation, trade promotion, environmental sustainability and poverty reduction. The "building-block" approach presented in this manual provides a powerful tool to make assessment less procedural and more flexible, tailored to different assessment contexts and policy processes.

The broad menu of methodologies included in the guidelines should make them a primary working instrument for policymakers and analysts not only in environment but across the economic and social spheres. The manual is designed to empower them to play a role in achieving more intelligent, creative and sustainable management of economic development and thus contribute to human well-being. It builds a bridge between various policy communities and interested parties and their increasingly shared and common pursuit to deliver tomorrow’s Green Economy today.

Training Resource Manual
The Use of Economic Instruments for Environmental and Natural Resource Management

The Economics of Ecosystems
& Biodiversity - An interim report

Towards Sustainable Fisheries Access Agreements - Issues and Options at the World Trade Organization (2008)
Fisheries access agreements are a form of trade between a country with rich fishing grounds, often from the developing world, and a Distant Water Fishing Nation. Access rights, allowing the Distant Water Fishing Nation to fish in the Exclusive Economic Zone of the selling country, are mostly traded against a financial compensation. Access agreements have come under international scrutiny as a result of their negative impacts both on fisheries resources, including associated ecosystems, and on international markets. The frequent lack of transparency surrounding fishing agreements exacerbates these impacts.

Disciplining subsidies related to access agreements is a major current opportunity at the international level to ensure that access agreements do not jeopardise but contribute to the sustainable development of host developing countries. However, the treatment of "access-related" subsidies has emerged as a sensitive topic within fisheries subsidies negotiations at the World Trade Organization - mainly due to the high dependency of many small island and coastal developing countries on access fees. This paper aims to support ongoing WTO negotiations by, firstly, analysing the legal framework governing access agreements and, secondly, exploring options for improved disciplines on "access-related" fisheries subsidies.

Patterns of energy production and use threaten the stability of eco-systems and the health and well-being of current and future generations. Still, energy subsidies worldwide amount to around USD 300.000 billion per year, or around 0.7 per cent of GDP.

Fossil fuels remain the most heavily subsidised energy sources. Encouraging the production and use of fossil fuels inevitably has some harmful consequences particularly related to climate change and air pollution. In addition, subsidies act as a drain on government finances, reduce the incentive to use energy efficiently and do often not reach those they are intended for. On the other hand, certain subsidies can be beneficial in terms of enhancing access to sustainable modern energy and promoting cleaner technologies.

This report summarises, in a non-technical language, the nature, types and impacts of subsidies on energy that undermine the pursuit of sustainable development. It also offers recommendations to policy makers on how to design and implement subsidies reform in an environmentally, socially and economically sound manner.


Organic Agriculture and Food
Security in Africa


Best Practices for Organic Policy

What Developing Country Governments Can Do to Promote the Organic Agriculture Sector


Overview of the Current State of Organic Agriculture in Kenya, Uganda
and the United Republic of Tanzania
and the Opportunities for Regional Harmonization

Guide de l'environnement et du commerce - Deuxième édition (2007)

English Spanish Russian

La communauté mondiale débat, depuis un certain temps, sur les liens entre le commerce et l’environnement. Elle est arrivée à la conclusion qu’intégrer les considérations environnementales dans le système commercial est une condition préalable au développement durable. Afin d’élaborer des politiques équilibrées, qui promeuvent le développement, réduisent la pauvreté et favorisent l’utilisation durable des ressources naturelles, les décideurs, à tous les niveaux, doivent parfaitement comprendre de quelle façon effectuer cette intégration. Ce Guide répond à ce besoin en traitant de sujets complexes, qu’il présente dans un langage simple et clair, accroissant son utilité en tant que source d’information pratique et guide de référence.

Inappropriate subsidies contribute to widespread overfishing and to the distortion of trade in fisheries products. Current negotiations in the World Trade organization aim to address this problem through binding new subsidies rules. Meanwhile, many governments are working to reform their domestic fisheries subsidies programmes. But some fisheries subsidies will undoubtedly continue to be used for years to come. In this context, a knowledge of the policies and practices that can reduce the risks associated with these subsidies is critically important. This paper seeks to develop “sustainability criteria” for fisheries subsidies to guide both WTO negotiators and domestic policymakers. By examining issues related to the health of fish stocks, the capacity of fishing fleets, and the adequacy of fisheries management regimes, the paper proposes a series of basic tests whose application may allow the risks of fisheries subsidies to be reduced. The aim is to demonstrate that sustainability criteria for fisheries subsidies can be plausible, solidly rooted in accepted international norms, and tailored for use in the WTO as well as in the broader context of national practices.

This paper (2005) deals with the question of how the protection of the artisanal fisheries sector can or should be translated into practice within the new WTO rules. In particular, the paper turns to a definitional debate of “artisanal fishing” and explores the difficulties associated with finding such a ready-made definition. It attempts to tease apart the “why” and “how” of fishery subsidies and endeavours to identify the limits attached to substantive and procedural conditions of such a subsidy regime. As such, the paper is set to stimulate and aid discussion among governments and other stakeholders in a need to adopt an approach that maximises incentives for truly sustainable development.

This paper (2005) concerns the role that fisheries subsidies play in the economic and social context of developing countries and aims to establish a factual foundation for designing a fisheries subsidies Special and Differential (S&D) Treatment framework that takes into account developing countries' needs and concerns. In this way, the paper discusses the relevance of fisheries subsidies to developing countries and identifies possible approaches to how to make S&D treatment both operational and inclusive of sustainable development considerations in the context of the WTO fisheries subsidies negotiations.
Le gouvernement mauritanien s'efforce actuellement d'assurer la sécurité alimentaire et l'utilisation durable de ses ressources marines tout en accroissant la compétitivité de son secteur halieutique au sein du système commercial international. Afin d'identifier les politiques et les incitations qui répondent à ces besoins, la présente étude fournit une évaluation approfondie des impacts économiques, sociaux et environnementaux de la libéralisation du commerce sur le secteur des pêches mauritaniens. Les résultats obtenus soulignent le besoin urgent d'approches stratégiques intégrées au niveau de l'élaboration des politiques, de la planification et de la gestion du secteur halieutique mauritanien. Cela requiert de veiller à concilier les exigences relatives au régime commercial international, à l'environnement, à l'éthique et à la démocratie dans la poursuite de la réalisation des objectifs nationaux de réduction de la pauvreté et de croissance économique.
Environment and Trade: A Handbook, 2nd edition

Spanish Russian French
Book cover of the Environment and Trade Handbook

Economics and Trade Branch (ETB) and the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)
Year of publication: 2005
Paperback 142 pages
ISBN: 1-895536-85-5

The Handbook was developed to highlight the relationship between environment and trade. The primary aim is to foster a broader understanding of these interlinkages to enable governments to develop practical approaches to integrating these policies. The Handbook is aimed mainly at those with some knowledge about trade, environment or development, but not expert on the intersection of the three. It is also a practical reference tool for policy-makers and practitioners.

The report researches the trade and environmental effects of ecolabels through a literature review and includes five case studies of specific labels. It reveals data limitation of identifying these effects and sets out further research and multistakeholder exchange that is required to support design and application of ecolables which support sustainable development. The interaction between trade and environmental policies, and public policies and market forces are examined in some depth.
The Government of Lebanon has introduced or is in the process of developing various policies and measures to reduce the impact of trade on the environment. Among these policies is the phasing out the use of methyl bromide on selected agricultural crops in light of Lebanon’s trade liberalization efforts and commitments under the Montreal Protocol. This study determines the environmental impacts of Lebanon’s trade in greenhouse agricultural products using methyl bromide and assesses the potential impacts (environmental, economic, health and social) that would result from phasing it out. Results indicate that while no single method will adequately replace use of methyl bromide, farmers were generally pleased with the results obtained with the various alternatives and are adjusting their production accordingly. A two-phase policy for a total phasing out of methyl bromide is proposed as well as recommendations to conduct further studies to analyse the effects of trade liberalization on agriculture in Lebanon.
The Indonesian government is currently trying to internalise environmental implications of trade liberalization and export growth in the industrial sector by promoting incentive measures for efficient and sustainable use of natural resources for private sector growth. However, the relative lack of data and analysis on real life situations has been hampering the design of policy responses to encourage sustainable use of natural resources. This study therefore identifies and reviews existing environmental policies in the Indonesian pulp and paper industry. It offers a detailed assessment of existing market-based incentives, and proposes an effluent charge to abate pollution in the pulp and paper industry. The aim of this publication is to promote the use of economic instruments for environmental protection, by providing in-depth analysis, a comprehensive assessment, and a best practice for the utilization of economic instruments for others wishing to introduce economic instruments.
The Kenyan government is currently trying to reduce the negative environmental impacts associated with the production and disposal of solid waste, by introducing a policy package to reflect the “real costs” of littering and disposal. This study therefore identifies and reviews existing environmental policies in the waste sector in order to introduce economic incentives to reduce littering and emissions stemming from production, collection, transportation, and disposal of polythene bags. It offers a strategic assessment of existing market-based incentives, and proposes a combination of economic instruments and command and control policies including; banning, national code of practice, plastic bag levy, and consumer awareness and anti-littering campaigns to discourage excessive consumption. Further, it discusses the implications of implementing the selected instruments. The aim of this publication is to (i), promote the production and consumption of cleaner packaging alternatives in Kenya, (ii), formulate a best practice in collection, transport, disposal and re-use of polythene bags, (iii), raise awareness of the problems relating to polythene bags (iv), and support the development of environmentally friendly bags, as well as to assist other policymakers wishing to successfully implement sustainable policy packages in the waste sector.
These studies illustrate the application of techniques for Integrated Assessment (IA) of trade and trade-related policies based on empirical evidence. They provide a basis for formulating appropriate measures to ensure the rice sector in these countries supports sustainable development objectives.
This document provides a synthesis of the integrated assessment studies conducted in the third, most recent, round of country projects commissioned by UNEP, which focused on the rice sector. Over the past two years, UNEP has worked closely with national institutions in China, Colombia, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Senegal and Viet Nam to identify the environmental, social and economic implications of trade liberalization in the rice sector.
This Handbook has been developed in parallel with UNEP’s Round III series of country studies on rice production. It builds on UNEP’s past work on Integrated Assessment (IA) presented in its Reference Manual for the Integrated Assessment of Trade-Related Policies and incorporates lessons learned from UNEP’s Round I and Round II country studies, a number of which focus on agricultural commodities.

This publication builds on earlier UNEP work that developed a matrix as an analytical framework for assessing the impact of subsidies. Using this framework, the study offers a detailed assessment of the impact of eight categories of subsidies taking into account the specific characteristics of a fishery, including its level of exploitation and its management regime.

This discussion paper considers the potential implications of the conclusions drawn in the “Matrix Paper” for an international reform of subsidies. With the aim of stimulating dialogue, it offers one view of several possible options for incorporating the impact on resources into existing and new WTO disciplines on fisheries subsidies.