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The Relationship between MEAs and WTO Rules

10 May 2004, Szentendre, Hungary

Summary [pdf, 48 KB, en]

Policy Brief [pdf, 138 KB, en]

 Policy Brief Hungarian Version [pdf, 77 KB, hu]


Raising civil society’s awareness of and expertise in trade issues is fundamental to making trade and sustainable development mutually supportive. A sufficient knowledge base within civil society is an essential component not only for effective and efficient public participation, but also for successful policy implementation. Given the broad, complex agenda of the WTO negotiations and their expected impacts on a wide range of other policy areas, it is crucial for civil society to deepen its knowledge in specific areas.

About 35 participants from civil society groups in Central and Eastern Europe, including environmental and development NGOs, consumer groups and trade unions, are expected to attend the event, which was financially supported by the European Commission DG Trade. Topics to be covered include the general relationship between multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) and the WTO, as well as trade measures in specific MEAs, such as the Biosafety Protocol in the Convention on Biodiversity, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and the Kyoto Protocol.

The seminar will also address a number of other policy areas affected by the negotiations on trade related measures pursuant to MEAs and WTO rules, such as consumer protection, labelling issues and technology transfer. In addition, the seminar advises on how to effectively participate in European trade policy making, addressing issues such as types of the negotiation, institutions involved, possibilities for participation and transparency.

The aim of the seminar is to provide civil society groups in Central and Eastern Europe with a better understanding of the purpose, costs and benefits of trade measures on the one hand, while indicating the implications with respect to MEAs on the other. Moreover, it illustrates to civil society the importance of taking into account other interests within the relationship between MEAs and WTO, such as technology transfer, labelling, the precautionary principle and sustainable development.

Yet another objective is to raise awareness of how to participate in and influence trade negotiations at the European level and to contribute to closer co-operation and networking among civil society groups in the new Member States.

The seminar is recognised as a Bellagio Forum for Sustainable Development (BFSD) project.


This seminar is organised by Ecologic in co-operation with the Royal Institute of International Affairs (RIIA) and the Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe (REC). The seminar is part of the programme to raise awareness of trade issues in civil society, EU DG Trade. Ecologic is member of CAT+E and SUSTRA networks.

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