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Green Economy and Trade

United Nations via Independent

Overview

World trade patterns show that while many developing countries are now playing an increasing role in trade, many other—and particularly least developed countries who account for less than 1% of all global trade—remain stranded on the margins. Still heavily reliant on natural resource-based products and raw materials for their exports, these countries are highly vulnerable to economic and environmental shocks.

The transition to an inclusive green economy represents many significant opportunities. By harnessing the increasing global demand for environmental goods and services, as well as consumer demand for more sustainable products, countries can diversify their economies, reduce their commodity dependence and boost their competitiveness. Thus, societies promote long-term, sustainable development while also strengthening their capacity to tackle the manifold environmental challenges lying ahead.

Trade can also power a green economic recovery from COVID-19. Global demand for environmental goods and services is expected to rise as countries roll out economic stimuli with larger earmarks for climate-friendly solutions. While this course was developed prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, its contents therefore remain relevant to current policy discussions.

One practical challenge lies in ensuring that countries are both aware of these opportunities and that they possess the knowledge and skills to take advantage of them. To address this challenge, the course sets out to provide interested participants from government, business, and civil society with an introduction to the various approaches that may be taken to harness green trade opportunities.

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