Model WTO 2020

Topic 2020: Environmental Sustainability and the WTO (cancelled)

Unfortunately, Model WTO 2020 had to be cancelled abruptly due to the Coronavirus pandemic that reached Switzerland a few weeks before the conference was scheduled to take place. Below is a short introduction to what would have been the topic of the conference:

The optimal use of natural resources while also preserving the environment is one of the fundamental objectives of the WTO. These goals, enshrined in the Preamble of the Marrakesh Agreement, go hand in hand with the WTO’s objective to reduce trade barriers and eliminate discriminatory treatment in international trade relations. For WTO members, the aims of upholding and safeguarding an open and non-discriminatory multilateral trading system, on the one hand, and acting for the protection of the environment and the promotion of sustainable development, on the other, can and must be mutually supportive. In 2018, the WTO collaborated with the UN Environment Programme and published a report entitled “Making trade work for the environment, prosperity and resilience” in which they develop on the opportunities international trade may have to safeguard the environment (cf. WTO & UNEP, 2018). The focus of the different committees would have lied on two different levels: reflecting on how trade interacts with the environment, both positively and negatively, and on the normative and positive outcomes of environmental policies. The delegates of the Model WTO 2020 conference would have been challenged to adopt environmentally friendly provisions that do not represent any economic discrimination that cannot be explained by efforts of environmental protection.

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