SECO Roundtable on trade, climate change, and the SDGs, CDE/WTI summary report

Musselli, Irene; Cottier, Thomas; Bürgi Bonanomi, Elisabeth (2021). SECO Roundtable on trade, climate change, and the SDGs, CDE/WTI summary report Bern: SECO

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10 Strategic Research Centers > Centre for Development and Environment (CDE)
02 Faculty of Law > Department of Economic Law > World Trade Institute
10 Strategic Research Centers > World Trade Institute

UniBE Contributor:

Musselli, Irene, Cottier, Thomas, Bürgi, Elisabeth




[632] Policy coherence for sustainable development (PCSD); to be developed in partnership with other organizations in Switzerland
[1479] Sustainable Trade Relations for Diversified Food Systems
[805] Sustainability Governance




Melchior Peter Nussbaumer

Date Deposited:

01 Feb 2022 10:10

Last Modified:

02 Mar 2023 23:35

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Additional Information:

A Roundtable on trade, climate change, and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was held in Bern, Switzerland, on 23 June 2021. It was convened by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), the World Trade Institute (WTI), and the Centre for Development and Environment (CDE) of the University of Bern, after being postponed several times due to Covid-19 restrictions. It brought together just over fifty stakeholders from science, civil society, business, and the federal administration in order to discuss how trade policy can contribute to tackling climate change and achieving the 2030 Agenda. The Roundtable reached out to trade experts and climate/SDG experts from outside the trade community in an effort to break down silos and find ways to integrate knowledge from different communities. It was the first event of its kind in several years. State Secretary Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch welcomed participants on behalf of SECO; Professor Peter van den Bossche as well as Professor Thomas Breu spoke on behalf of WTI and CDE of the University of Bern.
The objective of the Roundtable was to open new windows of reflection and to build bridges between different stakeholder groups. The Roundtable began with remarks on the concept of Sustainability Governance by Dr Elisabeth Bürgi Bonanomi (CDE) as well as two overview talks on climate change and trade, focussing on WTO law by Professor Thomas Cottier (WTI) and the framework of bilateral trade agreements by Ambassador Markus Schlagenhof (SECO), respectively. It then addressed three topics that were central to the debate: Technical cooperation and transfer of technology to developing countries, as introduced by Professor Zakar Ahmad (University of Chittagong, Bangladesh and WTI); a session on carbon tariffs, border tax adjustment, and related issues, as introduced by Professor Thomas Cottier (WTI); and, finally, a session on fossil fuel subsidies and how they could be addressed in international negotiations, as introduced by Professor Ilaria Espa (Universita de la Svizzera Italiana and WTI). The sessions were followed by contributions from discussants as well as questions, answers, and floor discussions (see the programme enclosed). They contributed insights into the interdependence of issues and the need to develop mutually supportive policies in trade and other fora.
This brief report provides a summary of the presentations and discussions held. The Roundtable was conducted under Chatham House rules. The report therefore does not identify personal views expressed and is essentially limited to issues and findings.




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