World Environment Day, 5 June 2014
World Environment Day is an opportunity to reflect on the importance of conserving and protecting the planet for future generations. The environment is the ultimate global public good and requires global solutions to address sustainable development challenges.
Developing countries increasingly face environment-related challenges such as climate change and loss of biodiversity. Although trade is an important growth and employment creator, and generates revenue and improves food security in developing countries, it can place pressure on the sustainable use of natural resources.
On World Environment Day, the International Trade Centre (ITC) celebrates the achievements of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that are thriving in green economies while strengthening climate resilience and sustainable sourcing.
Today ITC is launching its Strategy on Mainstreaming Environmental Sustainability. The strategy outlines a set of actions to integrate environmental sustainability into ITC’s projects, thus supporting our partners in mitigating environmental impacts associated with trade. The aim is to build environmental resilience and capitalise on emerging market opportunities for green products and services. The ITC will now integrate environmental concerns as a cross-cutting component of its projects at the design, implementation and evaluation stages, and further embed ITC’s commitment to inclusive and sustainable trade.
In the past year, ITC has helped thousands of businesses to enter and thrive in export markets many of which are now demanding products and services that are sourced and processed in an environmentally sustainable way. ITC helps SMEs exploit these market opportunities through the provision of trade intelligence and training on market requirements (e.g. environment-related non-tariff measures).
ITC works directly with companies and communities to improve practices for the sourcing of food, fibre and wildlife products. This results in value chains that support rather than deplete biodiversity and are more resilient to the impacts of climate change. As ITC celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2014, the organisation remains determined to respond effectively to the growing challenges of climate change adaptation and sustainable sourcing in value chains. ITC is scaling up its current work on climate change mitigation and adaptation in the agri-food sector. In East Africa, we are building the capacity of smallholder producing tea, coffee, cocoa, fruits and flowers, to increase their climate resilience while decreasing emissions from production and processing.
World Environment Day also places the spotlight on small island developing states (SIDS) and the challenges they face from climate change. ITC will be participating in the SIDS Conference in Samoa in September 2014, bringing its expertise and support to address the specific vulnerabilities of SIDs.