WTO Public Forum Discusses Eco-Innovation, Carbon Accounting and Green Growth
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The World Trade Organization's (WTO) Public Forum gathered stakeholders, international organizations, government representatives and WTO officials to engage in debates on issues of interest to civil society, including climate change, eco-innovation and green growth.

21 September 2011: The World Trade Organization (WTO) Public Forum 2011 highlighted the relevance of food security for the trade and development agenda, as well as the need for eco-innovation and support for green growth.

The Forum, which took place in Geneva, Switzerland, from 19-21 September 2011, opened with keynote speeches by WTO Director General Pascal Lami and Laura Chinchilla Miranda, President of Costa Rica. Different panel sessions addressed topics such as: a WTO framework agreement on sustainable energy; the advancement of trade and environment in the absence of negotiations; the promotion of innovation and the deployment of environmental technologies; international carbon flows; and strategies for promoting green innovation and disseminating environmentally-friendly technologies. In addition, a special session on preparing for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20) focused on trade opportunities and challenges in a green economy.

On eco-innovation, the panel discussed efforts by governments and policymakers to support green technologies. Questions from the floor addressed the role of markets in, and market scope for, eco-innovations, and the relationship between green economy, eco-innovation and job creation.

A session on international carbon flows discussed the pros, cons and challenges of adopting a consumption-based carbon emission accounting model instead of the prevalent production-based view.

Panellists in a session on the economic and trade prospects, challenges, and opportunities presented by Rio+20 concurred that the ‘Green Economy’ is an elusive concept that implies vast potential benefits as well as “detriments.” They noted that political support to the concept still remains a challenge due to trade concerns, such as: increased implementation cost and compliance complexity of ‘green’ norms, standards, and technical regulations; investment challenges; and trade competitiveness concerns. [WTO Public Forum Programme] [WTO Press Release]