Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala leads WTO to a green revolution: Trade and environmental sustainability go hand in hand

The new Director-General of the World Trade Organization Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is making green revolution one of her top priorities.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala takes over as new WTO Director-General, 1 March 2021. Photo: WTO/Bryan Lehmann 
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala takes over as new WTO Director-General, 1 March 2021. Photo: WTO/Bryan Lehmann

At the first virtual meeting of WTO members on a new initiative aimed at advancing work on trade and environmental sustainability on March 5, Okonjo-Iweala made clear trade and environmental sustainability go hand in hand.

She told participants the initiative is in line with the WTO’s founding principle of promoting sustainable development.

“I have said that to remain relevant, the WTO needs to deliver results,” she declared. “And looking to the future, we have to see how we can harness the power of trade to help us have a healthy environment.”

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala takes over as new WTO Director-General, 1 March 2021 Photos from this photo gallery may be reproduced provided attribution is given to the WTO and the WTO is informed. Photos: ©WTO/Bryan Lehmann 
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala takes over as new WTO Director-General, 1 March 2021. Photo: WTO/Bryan Lehmann

The Nigerian economist added that “trade policies can help unlock the green investment and innovation needed to decarbonize our economies and create the jobs of the future.”

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala takes over as new WTO Director-General, 1 March 2021 Photos from this photo gallery may be reproduced provided attribution is given to the WTO and the WTO is informed. Photos: ©WTO/Bryan Lehmann 
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala takes over as new WTO Director-General, 1 March 2021. Photo: WTO/Bryan Lehmann

Launched last November by 53 WTO members, the Trade And Environmental Sustainability Structured Discussions (TESSD) are intended to complement the existing work of the Committee on Trade and Environment and other relevant WTO committees and bodies. 

The initiative is open to all WTO members and will also involve outreach to representatives from the business community, civil society, international organizations, and academic institutions.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala takes over as new WTO Director-General, 1 March 2021. Photo: WTO/Bryan Lehmann 
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala takes over as new WTO Director-General, 1 March 2021 Photos from this photo gallery may be Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala takes over as new WTO Director-General, 1 March 2021. Photo: WTO/Bryan Lehmann

The Participants outlined their views on what the priority issues for discussion should be and what concrete outcomes could be delivered at the WTO’s 12th Ministerial Conference and beyond.

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