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The Winnipeg Principles, WTO and Sustainable Development; Proposed Principles for Reconciling Trade and the Environment

By Clement A. Tisdell


There is a widespread belief that the WTO has made virtually no concessions to environmentalists about their concerns arising from free trade and the process of globalisation. There are concerns that these processes may undermine prospects for sustainable development. Following the United Nations conference on Environment and Development held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, the International Institute for Sustainable Development was established to advocate policies to support sustainable development within Canada and globally. In 1994, it proposed the Winnipeg Principles as a means for reconciling international trade and development so as to achieve sustainable development. These seven principles are outlined in this article and assessed. Although the International Institute for Sustainable Development had hoped through these principles to influence the work program of the Environment and Trade Committee of WTO, it seems to have little effect. Probably if these principles had been seriously considered by WTO, the serious social conflicts which emerged globally at the beginning of this century would have been avoided, and we would be in a better position to understand the complex links between trade, environment and sustainable development and adopt relevant policies.WTO, Sustainable Development, Winnipeg Principles, China, Environmental Economics and Policy, International Relations/Trade,

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