Biodiversity, Trade, And The Fishing Sector Case Study: West Africa
de Fontaubert, A.C.
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In 1997, IUCN-The World Conservation Union, with the financial support of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Co-operation and Development, initiated a project to examine the relationship between the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the rules of international trade–those administered by the World Trade Organisation (WTO), in particular. The project was motivated by a widely shared concern that the aims of the CBD, which are essentially to conserve and equitably distribute the benefits of the environment, might be undermined by the WTO, which aims at the liberalisation of trade. Liberalised trade has the potential to integrate economies, regionally and globally, in mutually beneficial ways. But some observers are concerned that it may do so at a cost of impairing the environment and amplifying disparities in wealth, much of which, in poorer nations, is disproportionately represented in endowments of natural resources. Other commentators have claimed to locate synergistic potential, suggesting, for example, that trade law’s anti-subsidy disciplines might be conscripted into the campaign against environmental abuses such as overfishing.