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Developing countries: Be proactive on environment

Developing countries must be proactive toward environmental trade regulations

A proactive, holistic approach is needed for developing countries to effectively deal with trade regulations on environmental health-related concerns, according to a report released today by a United Nations agency.

“The lack of institutional, technical, infrastructural and managerial capacity in developing countries presents a dual problem,” says Supachai Panitchpakdi, Secretary-General of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), in his introduction to the Trade and Environment Review 2006.

“On the one hand, it leads them to adopt a mere reactive, fire-fighting approach to address new environmental requirements; on the other hand, the adjustment process is very onerous and costly, often harming export competitiveness and, in some urgent cases, obliging governments in exporting developing countries to siphon away resources from other areas,” he explains.

A proactive approach, the report says, requires involvement of developing countries in all stages of the creation of regulations and standards, among other regular, institutional activities.

Such an approach is particularly important in order for those countries to take advantage of new trade opportunities presented by expanding markets for organic products, which are defined by evolving regulations.

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