The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has drawn up a list of ten international environmental agreements that it claims could be undermined by global free trade rules unless the relationship between such agreements and the World Trade Organisation (WTO) is properly defined. The environmental group is concerned that the environment will not get adequate attention at trade talks due to begin in Seattle next month and claims it is not included on a draft declaration, prepared by the WTO secretariat, that has recently been circulated to national delegations. The WWF says environmental agreements such as the UN Environment Programme protocol on persistent organic pollutants (ENDS Daily 13 September) and the biosafety protocol must be allowed to use justifiable trade restrictions to protect the environment. This principle should be enshrined in the WTO rules during the coming round, the NGO says. The other multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) highlighted by the group as "at risk" are: the "PIC" protocol on prior informed consent for trade in hazardous chemicals, the climate change convention and Kyoto climate protocol, the biodiversity convention, the Bamako convention on hazardous waste movements in Africa, the Lomé IV agreement between the EU and certain African, Caribbean and Pacific countries, and the Basel convention on trade in hazardous waste.
WWF, tel: +32 2 743 8806. References: "Sustainable Trade for a Living Planet."
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