How can voluntary sustainability standards (VSSs) contribute to poverty reduction for smallholder farmers?

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

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.

Read more here.

European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) reviews the EC’s 15-point action plan on Trade and Sustainable Development (TSD) chapters

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:

https://www.eesc.europa.eu/en/our-work/opinions-information-reports/opinions/next-generation-trade-and-sustainable-development-reviewing-15-point-action-plan-own-initiative-opinion

https://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/press/index.cfm?id=1803

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/IDAN/2018/603877/EXPO_IDA(2018)603877_EN.pdf

https://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2018/february/tradoc_156618.pdf

MATS Kick-off Meeting

MATS Kick-off Meeting – 8th of July 2021

MATS, a research and innovation action project, funded by Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grand agreement no 101000751 has officially kicked-off on 8th of July 2021. The days was used to discuss the project concept and set-up the plan for the next six months. The consortium comprises comprises 14 partners with a wide spectrum of expertise and competences, substantial and longstanding experiences, and wide geographical spread in Europe and Africa.