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Subsidies

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With over 10 years of experience, the IISD Global Subsidies Initiative (GSI) is widely recognized as world-class leader in the quantification, evaluation and reform of subsidies.

Governments around the world spend at least a trillion dollars a year on subsidies to exploit the world's natural resources. But faced with increasing fiscal constraints, and concerned about making their economies cleaner, more inclusive and stable, governments are under increasing pressure to change course.

GSI works closely with governments to help them move away from subsidies that hinder sustainability. The goal is to encourage individual governments to undertake unilateral reforms on subsidy policy where these would deliver clear economic, environmental and social benefits. GSI also aims to generate a consensus in the World Trade Organization and in other forums on the need to take resolute, ongoing and systematic action to reduce or eliminate subsidies that are trade-distorting and undermine sustainable development.

  • Blog
    Making the International Trade System Work for Climate Change:  Five Ways to Address Fossil Fuel Subsidies through the WTO and International Trade Agreements

    Making the International Trade System Work for Climate Change: Five Ways to Address Fossil Fuel Subsidies through the WTO and International Trade Agreements

    Can the international trade system be a catalyst for reforming fossil fuel subsidies (FFSs) to help relieve the burden on the public purse, reduce local and global air pollution, improve energy security and tackle climate change? 

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  • Report
    Exploring the Trade Impacts of Fossil Fuel Subsidies

    Exploring the Trade Impacts of Fossil Fuel Subsidies

    How do fossil fuel subsidies affect competitiveness and trade in various markets, and what is the likely scale of such impacts? This paper sheds light on the relevance of fossil fuel subsidies from an international trade policy perspective, in particular for the WTO.

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  • Report
    Achieving Low Solar Energy Price in Indonesia: Lessons learned from the Gulf Cooperation Council region and India

    Achieving Low Solar Energy Price in Indonesia: Lessons learned from the Gulf Cooperation Council region and India

    While solar energy has exploded in India and the Gulf Cooperation Council region, it has lagged significantly in Indonesia. This report examines why this has been the case and what Indonesia can do to catch up to others in growing the renewable energy sector in the country.

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  • Report
    Canada's Federal Fossil Fuel Subsidies in 2020

    Canada's Federal Fossil Fuel Subsidies in 2020

    Federal fossil fuel subsidies in Canada reached at least CAD 600 million in 2019, but more transparency is needed from government to understand the full picture.

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  • Report
    Reflections on the WTO Negotiations on IUU Fishing Subsidies

    Reflections on the WTO Negotiations on IUU Fishing Subsidies

    This policy brief discusses some of the legal issues that have emerged in the negotiation of a new rule on subsidies to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing in the context of the World Trade Organization negotiations on fisheries subsidies. 

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  • Report
    Gender and Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform in Nigeria: Findings and recommendations

    Gender and Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform in Nigeria: Findings and recommendations

    The report examines from a gender perspective the impact of kerosene subsidies and their reform in Nigeria, finding that kerosene subsidies did not work for poor women.

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  • Paper
    Gender and Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform in Bangladesh: Findings and recommendations

    Gender and Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform in Bangladesh: Findings and recommendations

    The report examines from a gender perspective the impact of kerosene subsidies and their reform in Bangladesh. The report advocates that kerosene subsidy reform needs to be handled with care.

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  • Report
    Health Co-Benefits from NDC Implementation in China

    Health Co-Benefits from NDC Implementation in China

    This report summarizes the policy efforts that the country is undertaking to meet its NDC targets and the related expected health co-benefits, based on recent scientific literature. It compares public budget allocations to health, climate change-related measures and subsidies to fossil fuels.

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  • Blog
    Deep Dive Into Fisheries Subsidies, Part 2: Cheap gas and free nets causing problems for shrimp

    Deep Dive Into Fisheries Subsidies, Part 2: Cheap gas and free nets causing problems for shrimp

    Stories of success in Latin American fishing communities have nothing to do with the price of gas or getting cheap equipment. Instead, there must be a system that protects their business from illegal fishing.

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  • Discussion Paper
    Addressing the Development Dimension of an Overcapacity and Overfishing Subsidy Discipline in the WTO Fisheries Subsidies Negotiations

    Addressing the Development Dimension of an Overcapacity and Overfishing Subsidy Discipline in the WTO Fisheries Subsidies Negotiations

    This discussion paper analyzes approaches to new WTO rules on subsidies that contribute to overcapacity and overfishing in the context of development priorities.

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