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Trade, Societies and Sustainable Development (SUSTRA)

Trade, Societies and Sustainable Development (SUSTRA)

Trade, Societies and Sustainable Development (SUSTRA)

Research Program

In cooperation with the European SUSTRA-Network Ecologic analyses the relationship between trade, environment and sustainable development. As a part of the project, Ecologic convened an international workshop on the architecture of global governance of trade and sustainable development which focussed on the global institutional set-up, the relationship between multilateral environmental agreements and WTO rules as well as the role of non-State actors in the international fora. The results of the workshop were summarised and published in a policy brief.

The Seattle failure marked a turn in the way international trade negotiations can be conducted and has forced negotiating parties to re-examine their actions and their strategies in the various multinational negotiation processes. If the European Union wants to take the helm in the gradual building-up of a sustainable trade project, it must take many crucial issues in consideration, including greater consistency, reinforced credibility and improved legitimacy. These are all policy concerns which mobilise policy-makers at the European Union level but which need to be answered collectively through a continuous dialogue process between decision-makers, stakeholders and the scientific community. The SUSTRA project is carried out by a network of European scientists, stakeholders and policy-makers financed by the European Union's 5th Framework Programme under the Key Action "Improving the socio-economic knowledge base". Its aim is to develop a theoretical framework to analyse the complementary interactions or conversely the trade-offs between trade rules and social and environmental protection objectives. In addition, the SUSTRA Project will analyse and interpret the needs of the civil society, the underlying motives of collective preferences and the gradual building up of international collective action. However, the overarching objective of the project is to build a network of European social scientists working together with policy-makers and stakeholders in order to identify collectively the main research gaps and develop collaborative research to form partnerships for European research projects. During its three years, the SUSTRA project will evolve around a series of workshops, addressing issues such as the concept of global public goods, sustainable impact assessment procedures and the political acceptability of trade reforms. As one of these events Ecologic organised the Workshop "Architecture of the Global System of Governance of Trade and Sustainable Development", which took place on 9-10 December 2002 in Berlin. Topics addressed at the workshop included the institutional set-up of the international trade and environmental regimes, the relationship between multilateral environmental agreements and WTO rules and the role of non-State actors in the international fora. The proceedings of the workshop were summarised, and the results published in the Ecologic Brief The Architecture of the Global System of Governance.


More content from this project

Richard Tarasofsky, LLM, LLB
Gary Knapp
Caroline Nuffort
Project ID
International Environmental Policy, Trade and Environment, Multilateral Environmental Agreements, Globalisation, World Trade Organisation, non-state-actors