The Technology-Trade Nexus: A Key Enabling Force for Achieving the SDGs.


When: 16 September 2016  

Where: Ground floor meeting room
             UNEP, 1 Rue Miollis, Building VII
             75015, Paris, France


In the context of the newly-minted 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its SDGs, the intersection of trade and technology serves as a key means of implementation to tackle several global issues. In recent years, the multilateral trading system has witnessed an amplified volume of trade in technology, notwithstanding vast environmental implications. In light of a changing climate and increased environmental degradation, an imperative arises to change the portfolio of technologies traded from conventional to environmentally sound technologies (ESTs) through a range of regulatory means and incentives. A host of environmental regulations paired with market forces have encouraged industry to reduce its ecological footprint, signalling growth in the trade of “green” technologies or ESTs. This has elevated global trade in environmental goods, of which EST are a sub-set, to USD 1 trillion annually. With international measures like the Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA), global trade in environmental goods is projected to further grow to USD 3 billion by 2020.

Developing countries increasingly outpace industrialized economies in terms of renewable energy investment, and can harness benefits from increased trade in EST. Particularly, increasing the trade and uptake of ESTs can result in several benefits for development and the environment, ranging from reduced air and water pollution to improved energy efficiency. Yet tariff and non-tariff barriers widely hamper trade in technology, and thus its diffusion. In order to identify ways to enhance trade in ESTs and to augment access to technologies, it is crucial to address trade related barriers. In order to further the dissemination of ESTs, especially in the context of developing countries, it is critical to provide policy advice and capacity building at this important nexus in order to more effectively deliver upon the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.


This workshop, constituting a part of a series of Technology Dialogues organised by UNEP and linking to the newly established Environment and Trade Hub, will aim to achieve the following objectives:

  • To discuss issues related to the connection between technology and trade, and their role in achieving SDGs;
  • To facilitate the exchange of knowledge, experience and lessons learned surrounding the nexus of technology-trade;
  • To identify challenges and opportunities and thereby determine how to make trade and technology a key enabler for achieving the SDGs;
  • To propose “next steps” and discuss the way forward in translating the technology-trade agenda into a concrete trajectory for action

WORKSHOP MATERIALS (agenda, papers, presentations)


Welcome address and opening remarks

Anja von Moltke, Head of the Environment and Trade Unit, UN Environment and Zitouni Ould-Dada, Head of the Technology Unit, UN Environment

Session 1: Technology and Trade in the 2030 Agenda

This session provided an overview of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and show how technology and trade are reflected in it as means of implementation of the SDGs.

Ambassador Syed Tauqir Shah, Ambassador, Mission of Pakistan to the WTO
Henry de Cazotte, Senior Advisor for Sustainable Development, French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development
Ambassador Cedeno Molinari Speaking Notes

Session 2: Challenges and Opportunities at the technology-trade nexus

This session focused on the evolution of patterns of trade in Environmentally Sound Technologies, identifying dynamic sectors and technologies, and providing an outlook. It will outline the main challenges faced by countries, especially developing countries, and opportunities arising from reducing tariff and non-tariff barriers for clean technologies including through South-South trade flows. The session also looked at how strengthening of Intellectual Property Rights protection could increase the diffusion of technologies.

Jehan Sauvage, Policy Analyst, Trade and Agriculture Directorate of the OECD
Norine Kennedy, Vice President of Strategic International Engagement, Energy and Environment, United States Council for International Business (USCIB)
Yesim Baykal, Senior Program Officer, WIPO
Alessia Volpe, Project Coordinator European Patent Office

Session 3: Multi- and Plurilateral Approaches to Enhance Trade in ESTs

This session presented examples of some multilateral / plurilateral initiatives aimed at enhancing trade in Environmentally Sound Technologies (ESTs), such as the Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA), and discuss private sector experience.

Meseret Zemedkun, Programme Officer, Energy, Climate, and Technology Branch, Economy Division, UN Environment
Claudia Weiss,First Secretary European Union Mission to WTWO
Aik Hoe Lim, Director of Trade and Environment Division, WTO

Session 4: Making the technology-trade nexus a key enabling force for achieving SDGs

This open session will explore practical ways for making the technology-trade nexus a key enabling force for achieving the SDGs. The discussion will also focus on how objectives could be best achieved through some of the existing initiatives such as the Technology Mechanism under the UNFCCC, Technology Facilitation Mechanism for SDGs and the UNEP Environment and Trade Hub.