Global Trade Threatens Species; UNCTAD

Global Trade threatened Species; UNCTAD

About one million plant and animal species are now threatened with extinction in the world, and some estimates point out that global trade threatened nearly one-third of the species, noted the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

It said that Coffee, chocolate and beef are just a few examples of products consumed daily across the globe linked to biodiversity loss.

Stating that trade’s share of GDP steadily increased from 36 per cent in 1979 to 60 per cent in 2020, the UNCTAD said that most of the products that one buys and consume came from another country. This meant that the biodiversity footprint may be larger abroad than at home, the UNCTAD said.


UNCTAD’s acting secretary general Isabelle Durant pointed out; “we must be mindful of the link between biodiversity and trade when examining the causes of biodiversity loss and discussing the possible solutions.”

“For trade to play a leading role in the battle against biodiversity loss, it must be sustainable throughout the value chain,” she said.

In a recent online meeting of trade and biodiversity experts organised by UNCTAD and the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the participants clearly sent out a message that international trade and commerce, when done sustainably, could protect the planet’s precious resources.

More than 180 activists, negotiators, researchers, business representatives, international organizations and officials of governments participated in the meet. They discussed the role trade should have in the post 2020 global biodiversity framework. The new framework is expected to be adopted at the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15), slated for 11-24 October in Kunming, China.

Conservation alone is not the solution In the meeting, the participants said implementing the framework successfully will require countries to address the underlying economic drivers of biodiversity loss. In a final report to be submitted as an input to the negotiations, thyey said that conservation alone was not the solution to solve the biodiversity challenges. The report called for negotiations to give more attention to trade. It also proposes on how to include international commerce in the new biodiversity agreement, such as the inclusion of trade related indicators in the monitoring framework.

Throughout the value chain

The UNCTAD said that trade can play a leading role in the battle against biodiversity loss only if it is sustainable throughout the value chain, from the farm or factory to the store. For this to happen, they said that certification and improved traceability are required. In the report, the UNCTAD mentioned that the consumers are more interested in understanding the supply chain better. Better informed consumers can help drive sustainable practices, they added.


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