Switzerland supports WTO initiatives to intensify work on trade and environmental sustainability

On December 15, 2021, Switzerland participated in the adoption of three ministerial declarations on trade and environmental sustainability at the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva. The three ministerial declarations urge the WTO to step up its work on trade and environmental sustainability, plastics pollution and fossil fuel subsidy reform.

The ministerial declarations build on the momentum of the positive work already undertaken at the WTO under these three initiatives, two of which were launched in November 2020, to position trade as part of the solution to environmental challenges. The joint event recognised the important objectives supported by a wide range of WTO members and provided an opportunity to publicly launch the three ministerial declarations.

The initiative on Trade and Environmental Sustainability Structured Discussions (TESSD) is intended to advance the work on trade and environmental sustainability at the WTO and to highlight the role of trade policy in addressing climate change and other environmental challenges. Currently 71 members participate in this initiative, including China, the United States and the European Union.

The Informal Dialogue on Plastics Pollution and Environmentally Sustainable Plastics Trade (IDP) is joined by 67 members and seeks to strengthen the WTO’s contribution to efforts to reduce plastic waste and move towards environmentally sustainable plastics trade.

Lastly, the Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform (FFSR) initiative works to build political consensus within the WTO on reforming environmentally damaging fossil fuel subsidies. This initiative currently involves 45 WTO members.

The adoption event was attended by official representatives of WTO members, leaders of international organisations and representatives of civil society, who spoke publicly on these three major initiatives.

The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) is committed to making international trade policy work towards tackling climate and environmental challenges and achieving sustainable development in all countries.