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Adapting Trade to Mitigate Climate Change Gets Major International Support

On Jan 19, 2023, during the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland, the Coalition of Trade Ministers on Climate was launched. The Climate Coalition is open to all interested countries, and is comprised of ministerial level officials from the European Commission, EU member states, and 26 partner countries -- equaling more than 50 ministers from 27 jurisdictions, including the U.S. 

The coalition concept was broached during informal discussions on how trade and trade policies can support the Paris climate goals at a breakfast meeting of a diverse group of trade ministers in June 2022 in Geneva. The joint commitment that grew out of that casual gathering is reflected by the emphasis in the coalition’s launch statement on the need for climate change mitigation and adaptation in line with United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Paris Agreement, and the Sustainable Development Goals, while supporting ongoing efforts in this area by the World Trade Organization (WTO). 

The coalition is dedicated to trade, climate and sustainable development issues, building partnerships between trade and climate communities, and promoting trade and investment in goods, services and technologies that help mitigate and adapt to climate change. According to the four ministers from Ecuador, the EU, Kenya, and New Zealand that are leading the coalition:

“The Coalition aims to drive inclusive cooperation among trade ministers in the global response to climate change, including by engaging nationally and internationally with fellow ministers working on climate, environment, finance and development, among others. Connecting the dots is vital to find coherent global solutions.” 

The next formal coalition meeting is scheduled for early 2024 during the next WTO Ministerial Conference.

These international efforts to adapt trade to mitigate climate change and further sustainability will proceed in parallel with two new international initiatives by U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres. The first was his call for a Climate Solidarity Pact at COP27 in November 2022 “in which all big emitters make an extra effort to reduce emissions this decade in line with the 1.5-degree goal and ensure support for those who need it.” 

The second was a plan Guterres announced in December 2022 for a “no-nonsense” Climate Ambition Summit in September 2023 to develop “non-negotiable credible, serious and new climate action and nature-based solutions that will move the needle forward and respond to the urgency of the climate crisis.” That summit will coincide with a planned U.N. summit at the halfway point of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).



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