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Launch: Environment mainstreaming at ITC

Katarina Nossal
October 15, 2014

ITC is developing a new environment strategy to integrate environmental considerations more fully into its trade support projects. The ITC strategy will introduce new solutions that enable project partners to manage environmental challenges, build environmental resilience and benefit from environmental and development opportunities associated with trade.

The strategy is a core part of ITC’s Environment Mainstreaming initiative, launched this month. As defined by the International Institute for Environment and Development in 2009, Environmental Mainstreaming is “the informed inclusion of environmental concerns into the decisions and institutions that drive development policy, rules, plans, investment and action”.

Mainstreaming environment
Image: Marcarrera, Flickr
While ITC already has safeguards in place to ensure their projects do not cause environmental damage, there are several reasons to embed environmental considerations further in trade-related assistance. 

  • If not well-managed, trade expansion has the potential to exacerbate environmental challenges, compromising economic development outcomes. Developing countries are faced with multiple environmental challenges including climate change, biodiversity loss, land and water degradation and how to appropriately manage waste and pollutants. Early recognition and mitigation of environmental challenges can build longer term competitiveness and resilience and is integral to sustainable development.
  •  In contrast, underestimating the environmental benefits associated with trade can see countries miss out on significant growth and development opportunities. Developing countries are well-placed to benefit from increased demand for green goods and services and increased incentives for resource and energy efficiency improvements arising from global trade. UNEP’s recent report on Green economy and trade - Trends, challenges and opportunities highlights some of the rapidly expanding opportunities associated with greening trade.

ITC’s Environment Mainstreaming initiative will focus on pursuing environmental priorities in coordination with, and as a complement to, trade and international business development.
Launching the Environment Mainstreaming initiative this month, the key question posed to staff is “How can ITC better recognise, evaluate and address the environmental issues, synergies and opportunities in delivering trade-related assistance?”

What do you think should be part of the ITC Environment Strategy?

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