Third UNEP Working Group Meeting on Economic Instruments

18 February 2003: Approximately 35 participants from government, academic and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations gathered on 17-18 February 2003 in Geneva, Switzerland for the Third UNEP Working Group Meeting on Economic Instruments.

The Working Group provides a platform to help define modalities for the use of economic instruments for environmental management and sustainable development. A key aim of the Group is to enhance policy coordination at the national level related to the design and use of economic instruments, including maximizing the net development gains from trade liberalization.

Participants discussed two papers: “Opportunities, Prospects and Challenges for the Use of Economic Instruments in Environmental Policy Making” and “The Use of Economic Instruments to Implement Selected Multilateral Environmental Agreements.” The “Opportunities” paper provides practical guidance on when economic instruments may be appropriate and effective, how to introduce them and how to assess and respond to their economic, social and environmental effects. Using the framework presented in the paper, a number of country projects on economic instruments that UNEP has commissioned were reviewed to provide insights into the potential country-level use of the methodology proposed.

The second paper was prepared in close collaboration between UNEP and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and Ramsar Convention Secretariats. It analyzes existing provisions in these Conventions and decisions of the Conferences of the Parties for the use of economic instruments, their implementation and relevant environment and trade implications. The meeting website contains links to the papers and to presentations made during the meeting, as well as a list of participants. For more information contact: UNEP DTIE Economics and Trade Branch; tel: +41-22-917-8243; e-mail:; Internet: