Trade, Environmental Services and Sustainable Development in Central America: The Cases of Costa Rica and El Salvador - Summary

By PRISMA on January 8, 2003
This study looks at two cases. The first is about the export of shaded coffee from El Salvador. Shaded coffee provides striking environmental benefits, including biodiversity conservation and soil erosion control. But the rules of international trade do not allow importing countries to discriminate against the more damaging traditionally cultivated coffee. The second case is about the potential for trade in environmental services, particularly in the context of the Kyoto Protocol of the Framework Convention on Climate Change. Countries like Costa Rica and others in Central America are exploring whether they can benefit from maintaining considerable land under forest—or restoring land to forest cover—and be rewarded for the environmental services thus provided. The Kyoto Protocol provides for a market reward for carbon fixation, but may not prove acceptable under the current interpretation of WTO agreements.

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IISD, 2003