Trade, Climate Change and Sustainable Development

Key Issues for Small States, Least Developed Countries and Vulnerable Economies

image of Trade, Climate Change and Sustainable Development
Responding to climate change is a global challenge with significant implications for small developing countries. Debate on how trade policy can mitigate the effects of climate change has so far centred on developed countries and the large emerging economies, especially China, Brazil and India, but what are the implications for small and vulnerable economies (SVEs), least developed countries (LDCs) and small island developing states (SIDS)?

These countries are the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change but they are least equipped to deal with changes in trade policy. Trade, Climate Change and Sustainable Development examines the opportunities and multiple large-scale challenges they face in adapting key trade sectors to the impact of climate change, addressing climate change measures, and furthering their own trade capacity and competitiveness in the global market.

This book is the result of a joint project between the Commonwealth Secretariat and the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development, Geneva. It will be of interest to policy-makers and anyone who wants to gain a clear understanding of the implications of climate change on the economies of smaller developing states.



Introduction: key issues for smaller developing countries

This chapter is intended primarily as an introductory guide to the debate on trade, climate change and sustainable development – a bird’s eye view of the linkages between climate change, on the one hand, and trade and sustainable development on the other, with some guideposts as to what might constitute an effective response. It provides in a non-technical and over-arching manner, a summary of the likely impacts of climate change on development in least developed countries (LDCs), small and vulnerable economies (SVEs) and small island developing states (SIDS) – that is, smaller developing countries (SDCs) – and how some of the impacts might affect the trade of these countries. This discussion is of vital importance to these smaller developing countries because as Paul Roberts has noted, ‘Worse, climate change is not an equalopportunity disaster. Whereas the northern, and richer countries might suffer relatively minor detriment or might even benefit in certain ways from global warming, the severest effects will be felt disproportionately in Africa, in parts of Asia and among some of the tiny island states’.


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