A Sustainability Toolkit for Trade Negotiators:

Trade and investment as vehicles for achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda

3. Environmental Provisions

There are two ways in which a RTIA can address and impact environmental objectives. The first is through dedicated provisions designed to do so, and the second is through the environmental effects of provisions that are not principally designed to relate to environmental matters. This latter category is dealt with in the next section, which covers intellectual property rights, services and investment.

The first category is dealt with in this section. Existing RTIAs vary in the extent to which they include such provisions, from agreements that do not contain the word “environment” to agreements with detailed chapters with multiple articles specifically devoted to environmental matters.

There are a number of environmental provisions that should feature in any RTIA that seeks to do little harm to the environment or, more ambitiously, to do some good:

  • Mention of environmental preservation as an objective in preambular materials
  • Commitments on domestic environmental laws, regulations and standards
  • Specified relationship to MEAs
  • Environmental cooperation provisions
  • Environment-related exceptions
  • Various other environmental commitments
  • Consultation, conciliation and dispute settlement for environmental provisions

Each of these is examined below in turn. But first this section turns to a brief cross-cutting discussion of the options for text in any of the above.

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