Enhancing sustainability in EU Free Trade Agreements: The case for a holistic approach
This new report produced by Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP) takes stock of the current status of the EU trade policy and proposes a set of recommendations for EU bilateral trade to make a positive contribution to sustainability globally. The authors of the report aim to contribute to the debate on the review of the European Commission’s 15-points action plan to implement FTA TSD Chapters. Download: here
Food and energy shortages: Are trade and investment deals the solution?
The war on Ukraine, the ongoing climate crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic led to a meltdown of global supply chains and exposed millions of people to food shortages. Today’s hyperglobalised world is highly fragile! The war and the climate crisis also point to the need to accelerate the renewable energy transition by breaking free from fossil fuels.
What is the role of trade policy in this context? Is signing new trade and investment agreements part of the solution? Or can it make things worse?
Round table discussion, 27 April 2022, 16.00–18.00 CET. Watch live here
Seminar: Mexico’s transition from ag biotech to agroecology and challenges from U.S. trade policy
The Mexican government plans to eliminate the use of glyphosate and imports of GMO corn and cotton by 2024 as part of its broader program for food self-sufficiency. U.S. agribusinesses are pushing back, falsely asserting that the new rules violate provisions in USMCA.
This assertion of national sovereignty could enhance biodiversity and human health. Depending on how it is implemented, it could also be an important step in a transition to agroecology. Agroecology encourages systems of food production that look at production, processing, distribution and consumption and consider environmental, socioeconomic, cultural and political contexts. Fundamental to principles of agroecology is respect for basic human rights and the importance of respect for the agency of people.
What does the Mexican experience tell us about how public policy and citizen action can support a transition to agroecology? What policy space is needed to enable those changes, whether in Mexico or the U.S.?
Organized by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) and Asociación Nacional de Empresas Comercializadoras de Productores del Campo (ANEC).
Geopolitics of Food EU Response Post 23/3 Communication
Following the EU Commission’s 23 March 2022 communication on food security and food system sustainability transition questions arising from the Ukraine war impacts, Dr. Leonard Mizzi, Head of Unit Sustainable Food Systems & Fisheries, European Commission, will update participants on how the EU is proposing to respond, factoring in also the unfolding developments in G7 (DE Presidency) and in Multilatera Fora. Read more here
This Trade and poverty has absorbed a large body of research over the last two decades but it has failed to provide a definitive general answer to the question ‘does increased trade reduce poverty?’ This seminar provides an overview of what we know about the relationship between increases in trade and poverty, highlighting policy implications towards ‘inclusive trade’. Institute of Development Studies, Seminar recording, 17-Mar-2022, 64min. Read more here
Webinar: Unpacking South Africa’s Road to Building Back Better, Fairer and Greener The EU’s Green New Deal and its implications for South Africa
Wednesday 6 April 2022: 10:00-12:00 (GMT+2) RSVP: Register in advance for this webinar here
Background The The European Green Deal (EGD) is a is a set of policy initiatives by the European Commission with the overarching aim of making Europe climate neutral by 2050. These policy initiatives aim to make all sectors of the European Union’s economy fit to contribute to the European Union reaching its climate targets by 2030 in a fair, cost-effective and competitive way. The EGD proposes several action plans and initiatives in priority areas, which include energy, land, biodiversity, clean air, sustainable foods and buildings, among others. South African exporters to the European Union will need to adapt to this change, to assure their long-term competitiveness in a changing market. This webinar will look at the EGD and its potential implications for South African trade with the European Union. The particular proposed headline initiative of the EGD in the form of a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism will be covered, while an analysis of potential opportunities to expand trade associated with “environmental goods” products will be discussed.
EDG overview, Ariane Labat, EU Delegation to South Africa.
CBAM implications, Lerato Monaisa, TIPS
Opportunities and risks for South African exporters, Martin Cameron, Trade Advisory
10:40-11:10 Panel Discussion: EDG Trade Impacts for South Africa
Trudi Hartzenberg, Tralac
Karen Bosman, Wesgro
Melisizwe Tyiso, NALEDI
tbc – Agbiz
11:10-11:40 Open discussion (Q&A)
11:40-12:00 Wrap up
About the speakers
Ariane Labat is currently counsellor for climate action, environment and agriculture at the EU Delegation to South Africa, after four years as head of cooperation for the EU Delegation to the Kingdom of Eswatini. Ariane was previously cluster lead mitigation for the EU international negotiation team at the UNFCCC from Cancun to the Paris Agreement; she had further previous assignments as an economist working to unlock sustainable and inclusive growth opportunities in Europe, Latin America and China.
Lerato Valentia Monaisa is an Economist and works in the Sustainable Growth pillar at TIPS. She has a Bachelor of Economics (with a distinction in economics) and Bachelor of Economics Honours (with distinction) from Rhodes University. She has MPhil in Industrial Policy at the University of Johannesburg.
Trudi Hartzenberg is the Executive Director of tralac. She has a special interest in trade-relatedcapacity building. Her research areas include trade policy issues, regional integration, investment,industrial and competition policy.
Martin Cameron is a quantitative economist specialising in quantitative executive decision support modelling, economic impact analysis and engineering management decision support. He has extensive experience in international trade and energy economics.
Wandile Sihlobo is the Chief Economist of the Agricultural Business Chamber of South Africa (Agbiz) and the author of Finding Common Ground: Land, Equity, and Agriculture. Sihlobo is Senior Lecturer Extraordinary at the Department of Agricultural Economics at Stellenbosch University.
Karen Bosman works as a Strategic Research and Public Affairs Officer at Wesgro. Areas o fexperience include international trade and investment law; policy advocacy; export development and international investment promotion and facilitation; strategic communication; legislative and constitutional processes; legislative analysis; regulation of international services trade; regional economic harmonisation; commercial law and litigation. She has a Master’s Degree in International Business and Economic Law from Georgetown University.
Melisizwe Tyiso works as a Researcher at the National Labour and Economic Institute (NALEDI).
About the facilitator
Elize Hattingh is a Sustainable Growth researcher at TIPS. She has been actively involved in promoting the sustainable development agenda for more than 15 years.
Date: Wednesday 6 April 2022 Time: 10h00 – 12h00 (GMT+2) RSVP: Register in advance for this webinar here After registering, you will receive a confirmation email with details about joining the webinar.
The Green Recovery Dialogues comprises four webinars
Next Event 6 April – Session 2: The EU’s Green New Deal and its implications for South Africa Past Event: Launch 15 February – Session 1: South Africa’s recovery and stimulus package by global standards – Launch event of the Green Economy Tracker, see details including video of the session here Future Events: Save the dates! 1 June – Session 3: Just transition and South Africa’s recovery and stimulus package 3 August – Session 4: Building Back Better Greener, SMME`s road to recovery
MATS Interactive Online Workshop on the 28th of March 2022
In this interactive online workshop, we discussed with project-external and internal stakeholders key results of the status-quo analyses and jointly identified key questions and issues for further analyses.
The workshop recording is available here. Below you can see the starting and ending times of each presenter
How can voluntary sustainability standards (VSSs) contribute to poverty reduction for smallholder farmers?
IISD’s State of Sustainability Initiatives (SSI) Review: Standards and Poverty Reduction presents how 13 widely adopted voluntary sustainability standards (VSSs) contribute to the three dimensions of poverty reduction: access to resources; opportunities and choice; and power and voice.
The findings suggest that VSS compliance can contribute to poverty alleviation through supporting better practices among farmers, enhancing producer knowledge, and fostering farmers’ capacity to grow higher-quality and more sustainable products. In turn, this can bring farmers better product prices and incomes, and increase social capital through stronger producer organizations. Importantly, key conditions need to be in place to enable smallholder farmers to access markets for VSS-compliant products.
The related recommendations include:
• Establishing a living income reference for farmers • Supporting smallholder access to productive and sustainable land • Improving farmers’ VSS knowledge and implementation • Stimulating demand for sustainable products. • Enhancing support for business and market diversification • Improving assurance, monitoring, and learning systems • Systematically including farmers in VSS decision making • Adopting a gender-equality approach.
In case you want to read the full report on IISD website click here.
EU promotes World Trade Organization initiatives on Trade and Environment
The European Union signed up to three new initiatives to step up joint action in the World Trade Organization, sending a strong political signal on pursuing a strong environmental and climate change agenda for trade. The first of these three initiatives focusses on policies that can best contribute to climate and environmental goals. Focus is on facilitating trade in environmental goods and services. The second initiative is concerned with fossil fuel subsidy reform, and the third is to reinforce the fight against plastic pollution.
The European Union is proud to co-sponsor these initiatives at the WTO. We believe trade policy has a role to play in tackling climate change and environmental degradation, which is why our new EU trade strategy is our greenest ever. WTO must also play its part, and we are now taking important steps in this regard. Countries from around the globe, including developed and developing WTO Members, are joining forces to send this strong political signal – and I trust that more will join in the future. Climate and environment issues must be tackled in a holistic way, not in silos: this is why the EU recently initiated the idea of a Trade Ministers Climate Coalition. This could make a big difference in building political momentum, helping to support the work we launch today.
Executive Vice-President and Commissioner for Trade, Valdis Dombrovskis
The research carried out in MATS will support the first initiative through its set of 15 in-depth country, regional and product case studies which are to provide a deeper understanding of the conditions for sustainable trade between the EU and its trading partners in Africa, Asia and America. Each case study comprises an assessment of given trade regimes, of their environmental (including climate change) and social impacts, of factors affecting the resilience of food systems, and an analysis of institutional, regulatory, and legal frameworks.
Achieving environmental and climate change goals are key priorities under the EU’s new trade strategy published in February 2021.
European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) reviews the EC’s 15-point action plan on Trade and Sustainable Development (TSD) chapters – 20th of OCTOBER 2021
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) represents the major civil society organizations in Europe. Members include employers, trade unionists and representatives of social, occupational, economic and cultural organizations. It assists the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission in an advisory capacity (1957, Treaty on EU, Art. 13). The European Commission brought forward the 15-point action plan on Trade and Sustainable Development (TSD) chapters. Seizing this momentum, the EESC calls for stronger civil society monitoring, using innovative instruments and enhancing the leverage for TSD. Related links: