A Sustainability Toolkit for Trade Negotiators:

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

6.4 Review and Reporting

Best practice with any policy involves regular review against objectives to assess effectiveness, and public reporting of the findings. It was noted in Section 6.2 that ex post assessments of the impacts of trade and investment agreements would be ideal. This section discusses review and reporting of trade and investment agreements’ environmental provisions and institutions. These sorts of ex post reviews are not often done.

The scope of the review might be the entire chapter or side agreement, or it might be some aspect of that broader mandate. A review of cooperative activities at least is recommended, given the fact that they are seldom spelled out in detail at the time of the conclusion of the agreement.

Option 1:Mandated review and reporting focused on the entire environmental chapter or side agreement

This broader review is ideal, since it allows the parties to consider where there may be a need to change the fundamental mandate, structures and operation of the agreement.


NAFTA’s CEC commissioned an independent 10-year review of the environmental side agreement in 2004. It involved a significant expenditure of resources and pulled in prominent independent experts to assess all aspects of the NAAEC’s function as well as assessing the effectiveness of the CEC’s activities. Ideally, such a review would be mandated within the text of the agreement.

How Commonly Used


“The purpose of the Committee is to oversee the implementation of this Chapter [environment chapter] and its functions shall be to … provide periodic reports to the Commission regarding the implementation of this Chapter …” (NAAEC Article 20.19(3))

How Commonly Used

Option 2:Mandated review and reporting focused on a specific aspect of the environmental provisions

A narrow review is suited to specific provisions with which the parties are perhaps uncomfortable, or where fundamental consensus was not possible. It allows a review of how certain provisions function in practice, and the possibility to reform in the light of experience.


“No later than three years after the date of entry into force of this Agreement, and thereafter as decided by the Parties, the Committee shall prepare a written report for the Commission on the implementation of this Article [on a public submission process]. For the purposes of preparing this report, each Party shall provide a written summary regarding its implementation activities under this Article.” (TPP Article 20.9 (public submissions))

How Commonly Used

Such reviews will be most effective if:

  • They are carried out by institutions with mandates to oversee the implementation of the relevant environmental provisions, or by a designated group of independent experts.
  • They are explicitly mandated to occur on a regular basis.
  • They are submitted to a senior body of the parties and made publicly available.

The parties commit to using the results of the review to feed into new work planning and potential revisions to the functioning of the environmental provisions

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