The WTO decision to allow observers to attend environmental negotiations on an ad-hoc basis was positively received by the EU as a first step towards granting them a permanent observer status.
On 20 February, EU Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy welcomed the decision of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to allow officials from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and secretariats from Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) to attend negotiations on the environment on an ad hoc basis.
At the special negotiating session of the Committee on Trade and Environment (CTE) on 12-13 February, WTO members agreed to allow UNEP, as well as the secretariats of six MEAs to attend the next meeting of the Committee on Trade and Environment. The six MEAs are the
- Basel Convention on Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Waste,
- Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES),
- Convention on Biodiversity (CBD),
- Montreal Protocol on Ozone-depleting Substances,
- International Tropical Timber Organisation (ITTO),
- UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
The participation by these bodies is provisional and will be reviewed at each session. The presence of MEA secretariats at CTE meetings should ensure better coherence at the international level.
"We are now encouraged in our efforts and hope that 'ad hoc' turns into 'permanent' status by the time the WTO ministerial meeting in Cancun takes place in September," said Mr. Lamy reacting to the recent WTO decision.
- RAPID:Trade and Environment: EU welcomes WTO move to allow UN Environment Programme and Multilateral Environment Agreements to attend negotiations(20 February 2003)
- Commission / DG Trade:Trade and the environment: support sustainable development
- Commission / DG Trade:Towards sustainable trade
- Commission / DG Environment:European Union Strategy for Sustainable Development
- World Trade Organisation (WTO):Trade and environment
- WTO:Doha WTO Ministerial 2001: Ministerial Declaration / Trade and environment(20 November 2001)