Trade and Sustainable Development
For more information about CIEL's Trade & Sustainable Development Program, contact Baskut Tuncak.
Trade & Sustainable Development Program Accomplishments
Some of our past accomplishments include theses areas:
- Trade & Sustainable Development Program Research & Publications
- Dispute Resolution
- World Trade Organization (WTO)
- Free Trade of the Americas (FTAA)
- Conservation and Trade
- Eco-labeling and Genetically Modified Organisms
The International Center for Settlement of Dispute Resolutions Hearing Webcast for First Time
On May 31 and June 1, 2010, the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), for the first time, webcast its hearing in real-time to the public in the Pac Rim Cayman LLC v. Republic of El Salvador case (ICSID Case No. ARB/09/12). ICSID's decision is a major step towards transparency in investor-State arbitrations, as it meant that the public around the world had the opportunity to access the hearings. This allowed citizens in El Salvador the opportunity to be informed of issues of important public interest, in this particular case of the efforts to halt harmful metals mining in their country not only in the outcome of the arbitration, but also in the arguments to be exchanged during the process.
The Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) has long advocated for more transparent mechanisms for dispute settlement generally, including webcasting international dispute settlement proceedings.
For more information:
- ICSID Website Press Release
- Webcasting as a Tool to Increase Transparency in Dispute Settlement Proceedings
CIEL & the World Trade Organization
CIEL has been involved with WTO trade resolutions and public participation. Learn more about CIEL and the World Trade Organization (WTO)
Free Trade of the Americas (FTAA)
Negotiations to form a Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) began in December 1994 in Miami at the Summit of the Americas. The FTAA is a trade agreement that would include every country in North America, Central America, South America and the Caribbean (except Cuba).
Negotiations were scheduled to conclude in 2005, but stalled for a variety of reasons, including widespread opposition from environmental organizations, labor groups, peace activists and human rights organizations. In the absence of a FTAA, many countries moved ahead with various bilateral or regional initiatives.
For more information:
- FTAA: Background of the process
- The FTAA Ministerial in Miami, Florida, November 16 - 21, 2003
- Announcement of CIEL's concerns regarding the Ministerial
- Civil society organizations call for Additional Public Participation in FTAA Negotiations: Existing forums are inadequate and exclude many/Organizaciones de la sociedad civil llaman a una Mayor Participación en las Negociaciones del ALCA: los Foros existentes son insuficientes y excluyen a muchos
- CIEL and partners share their concerns regarding Intellectual Property in the FTAA with the Committee of Government Representatives on the occasion of the Third Issue Meeting in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
Conservation and Trade
For more information on how trade impacts biodiversity including the effects of tariff liberalization in the forest product sector, please visit our Biodiversity and Wildlife Program page or view the CIEL/WRI report, "Tree Trade".
For information on CIEL's submission to the Commission on Environmental Cooperation (established under the NAFTA environmental side agreement) complaining of the US government's failure to enforce migratory bird laws, see our November 1999 press release or the actual complaint.
Eco-labeling and Genetically Modified Organisms
CIEL is working to educate governmental officials on the importance of ecolabeling and the impact of trade rules on such labeling schemes. CIEL also advises citizens' groups, such as the International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movements (IFOAM) on the potential impact of trade rules on ecolabeling.
In preparation for the WTO Ministerial in Seattle, CIEL attorneys wrote a paper entitled, "Should the WTO Negotiate New Trade Rules in Genetically Modified Organisms." Prior to the Biosafety Protocol meetings in February of 1999 and the WTO Ministerial, CIEL prepared An Activist's Handbook on Genetically Modified Organisms and the WTO, which was published by the Consumer's Choice Council.
CIEL has also conducted numerous briefings on ecolabeling and trade issues, including a workshop for national policy makers, businesses and NGOs at the May 1998 WTO Ministerial. In 1997, CIEL published Applying Trade Rules to Timber Ecolabeling.
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