WTO Public Forum Discusses Eco-Innovation, Carbon Accounting and Green Growth

21 September 2011: The World Trade Organization (WTO) Public Forum 2011 highlighted the relevance of food security for the trade and development agenda, as well as the need for eco-innovation and support for green growth.

The Forum, which took place in Geneva, Switzerland, from 19-21 September 2011, opened with keynote speeches by WTO Director General Pascal Lami and Laura Chinchilla Miranda, President of Costa Rica. Different panel sessions addressed topics such as: a WTO framework agreement on sustainable energy; the advancement of trade and environment in the absence of negotiations; the promotion of innovation and the deployment of environmental technologies; international carbon flows; and strategies for promoting green innovation and disseminating environmentally-friendly technologies. In addition, a special session on preparing for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20) focused on trade opportunities and challenges in a green economy.

On eco-innovation, the panel discussed efforts by governments and policymakers to support green technologies. Questions from the floor addressed the role of markets in, and market scope for, eco-innovations, and the relationship between green economy, eco-innovation and job creation.

A session on international carbon flows discussed the pros, cons and challenges of adopting a consumption-based carbon emission accounting model instead of the prevalent production-based view.

Panellists in a session on the economic and trade prospects, challenges, and opportunities presented by Rio+20 concurred that the ‘Green Economy' is an elusive concept that implies vast potential benefits as well as “detriments.” They noted that political support to the concept still remains a challenge due to trade concerns, such as: increased implementation cost and compliance complexity of ‘green' norms, standards, and technical regulations; investment challenges; and trade competitiveness concerns. [WTO Public Forum Programme] [WTO Press Release]