By Whitney Akinyi

In a first-of-its-kind event at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP), international organizations will spotlight policy options for developing countries to capture emerging trade opportunities.

The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), in collaboration with the International Chamber of Commerce, the International Trade Centre, and the World Trade Organization, is set to host the “Trade House Pavilion” at COP28 scheduled to take place in Dubai from November 30 to December 12.

The pavilion aims to facilitate discussions and consensus-building on trade-related measures that can drive both climate action and sustainable development. This historic event will bring trade and climate policymakers and experts together for the first time at a UN climate conference.

The “Trade House Pavilion” will serve as a platform for knowledge exchange and co-creation of pro-development solutions, involving stakeholders from across the globe. It will feature expert panel discussions on various crucial topics, including ensuring a just energy transition, South-South trade in environmentally preferable goods and services, and trade-related measures to advance the implementation of nationally determined contributions.

Trade-related emissions, accounting for approximately a quarter of all global carbon dioxide emissions, underscore the urgent need for greater cooperation to meet the Paris Agreement’s climate goals. Trade can also play a pivotal role in accelerating the energy transition and supporting low-emission development pathways. It can facilitate access to environmentally friendly goods, services, and technologies critical to boosting innovation and building capabilities for mitigation and adaptation efforts worldwide.

However, climate-related measures, including industrial policies, carbon pricing, and border adjustments, are increasingly affecting trade and investment, potentially impacting development. A balanced understanding of the co-benefits and trade-offs between climate and trade policies is essential to ensure policy coherence and a just transition.

Developing countries face unique challenges in their efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change while transitioning to low-carbon economies. These challenges include financial constraints, inadequate infrastructure, and limited access to necessary technologies and knowledge. A just transition must provide development opportunities, including technological advancements, job creation, and trade diversification.

Chantal Line Carpentier, head of UNCTAD’s trade, environment, climate change, and sustainable development branch, stressed the importance of coherent pro-development climate and trade measures, partnerships, and policies, and invited all relevant stakeholders to join the COP28 Trade House in exploring innovative solutions that leverage trade as a force for good.

UN Secretary-General, Rebeca Grynspan emphasized that “Climate and trade policies need to work together. As the world is coping with the devastating effects of global warming, it’s time for trade to play its role in shaping climate action that fosters inclusive and sustainable development.”

With COP28 just around the corner, the Trade House Pavilion promises to be a landmark event, fostering collaboration and innovation in the pursuit of a more sustainable and climate-resilient future.