Consultative Task Force on Environmental Requirements and Market Access for Developing Countries.
The Consultative Task Force (CTF) is an open-ended multi-stakeholder forum of government, private sector and NGO representatives that assists developing countries in analyzing key trends of environmental requirements (ERs) in export markets and to exchange national experience on pro-active approaches to meeting these ERs with a view to maintaining market access, harnessing developmental gains and safeguarding social welfare. CTF activities are not intended to “second-guess” the legitimacy and objectives of environmental requirements, nor to develop guidelines for good regulatory practice. Rather, CTF activities will analyze and discuss ways of overcoming specific developing country challenges regarding the development and implementation of, as well as adjustment to ERs. The added value of the CTF is that it
(i) links policy and capacity-constraints issues aimed at developing a more holistic and development-oriented approach on environmental requirements and market access;
(ii) interfaces discussions in the WTO, notably on paragraph 32(i) of the Doha Ministerial Declaration, with other debates at international and national level;
(iii) includes in the analysis and discussion voluntary environmental requirements of the private sector and NGOs and thus provides a formal exchange mechanism between these stakeholders and governments;
(iv) draws into the discussion stakeholders normally not involved in WTO debates; and
(v) allows a regular exchange of information among agencies and initiatives that provide technical and capacity-building assistance in fields relevant to CTF discussions.

As countries seek to enhance environmental protection and promote sustainable development, ERs are expected to become more frequent, including in sectors of key export interest to developing countries. While recognizing that governmental and non-governmental requirements need to be differentiated, many voluntary requirements developed by the private sector or NGOs are de facto mandatory and tend to be globalized through international supply chains. They are largely outside WTO disciplines on TBT measures, yet some of them may be the precursor of future regulation. This contrasts with the lack of capacity in many developing countries to raise awareness on new ERs in key export markets, gather and disseminate much-needed information on them, and encourage effective public-private partnerships to adjust to the new requirements in a developmentally beneficial way. Also, there is not enough consistent and credible information on the types of problems that exist in developing countries and the interplay between policy and capacity-constraints issues is not well understood. Furthermore, there is an insufficient exchange of information among international organizations and other initiatives on their activities on ERs and market access although a strategic partnership among them would be required.
Background note on environmental requirements and market access for developing countries (TDTD/(XI)/BP/1)

Following an Expert Meeting on Environmental Requirements and International Trade on 2-4 October 2002, the UNCTAD Commission on Trade in Goods and Services, and Commodities, at its seventh session in February 2003, recommended exploring “the possibility of creating a consultative group on environmental requirements and international trade, which should closely coordinate and collaborate with relevant work and initiatives in other bodies and involve the private sector, as a project-based activity” (document TD/B/COM.1/L.26).

Thrust of activities
and modalities of CTF:
The CTF will provide a forum for well-structured and focused dialogue and networking on relevant issues at the interface of ERs and market access for developing countries (this will include analysis, policy dialogue, information exchange and supportive activities). Under its umbrella, the CTF may consider launching some specific, well-defined and time-limited project activities, whose results will aid the substantive debate in the CTF. Initially, this would include work on (a) sector-specific experience in the preparation, adoption and implementation of regulations and standards and the related examination of possible trade implications for developing countries; (b) the development of holistic, proactive strategies in developing countries that effectively respond to ERs in key export markets; (c) improved access to and dissemination of information on ERs, including private-sector requirements.
For more detail, see: Report of the Rio workshop

CTF meetings:

3-4 July 2006, Geneva, Switzerland Meeting
Wrap-up Workshop of the UK-DFID-funded UNCTAD Project "Building Capacity for Improved Policy Making and Negotiation on Key Trade and Environment Issues" and Annual Session of UNCTAD's Consultative Task Force on Environmental Requirements and Market Access for Developing Countries

8-10 Dec 2005, Rio de Janiero, Brazil Meeting
UNCTAD/ INMETRO Sub-regional Stakeholder Meeting on EurepGAP: Opportunities and Challenges for Central and Southern America

29-30 Nov 2005, Manila, Philippines
EurepGAP Asia 05: Potential and challenges of EurepGAP in Asia

25-26 Nov 2005, Bangkok, Thailand.
UNCTAD/ ITD National Workshop on Good Agricultural Practice and Benchmarking to EurepGAP

25-27 May 2005, Bangkok, Thailand.
UNCTAD-UNESCAP Workshop, Exchanging National Experiences among the Principal Exporting Developing Countries - Environmental Requirements and Market Access for Electrical and Electronic Goods, CTF

5-6 November 2004, Geneva. First meeting
(back-to-back with the session of the WTO TBT Committee)

7-8 June 2004, Rio de Janeiro. Inaugural meeting
UNCTAD/Inmetro workshop on environmental requirements and market access for developing countries

Document download:

Report of the Rio workshop
Background note on environmental requirements and market access for developing countries
Report of the First Substantive Meeting of the Consultative Task Force on Environmental Requirements and Market Access for Developing Countries Geneva, 5-6 November 2004. UNCTAD/DITC/TED/2005/2

Sector-focused project activities:

Sector-focused project activities

Related activities:

Asian cluster of UK-DFID II project

Donor support:

Dutch government

CTF co-ordination:
Ulrich Hoffmann,
tel +41 (0)22 917 5780
, fax +41 (0)22 917 0247