Trade and investment in a post-2015 era

18 September 2015

The world is entering a “new era,” declared UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the start of the month. The international community has spent the last five years working towards a new vision to set the course for future sustainable development progress, nominally for the next 15 years, but with repercussions for generations to come. UN members will adopt the fruit of these efforts – dubbed “Transforming our world: The 2030 agenda for sustainable development” – during a high-level summit attended by more than 150 world leaders, scheduled to be held in New York from 25-27 September.

The post-2015 development agenda, as it has been commonly referred to, is intended to help governments commit to shared development principles, tackle both persistent and emerging global challenges – thereby replacing the current Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – identify the means to do so, and review the process along the way. Through its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the agenda presents a breathtaking and complex to-do list ranging from ending poverty and hunger, to securing healthy lives, water access, and quality education, promoting inclusive growth, building resilient infrastructure, reducing inequality, protecting oceans, animals, and ecosystems, as well as tackling climate change.

Trade and investment flows, policies, and rules oriented toward sustainable development outcomes can play an important role in the post-2015 era and, indeed, are slated as a key means of implementation to achieve both the SDGs and aims outlined in the Third International Conference on Financing for Development. Around US$53 trillion worth of investments in clean energy supply and energy efficiency will be needed to shift energy systems towards a low carbon pathway while a variety of trade tools can help boost sustainable development.

In this issue’s lead article Ricardo Meléndez-Ortiz, ICTSD’s Chief Executive, looks at the shifting landscape of global governance over the past two decades and the importance of getting the trade and investment systems right for sustainable development. [Editor's note, ICTSD is the publisher of Bridges Trade BioRes]. Other articles also focus on various opportunities for trade and investment to support sustainable development, including boosting climate finance and action, meeting the demands of a new climate economy, as well as how to better facilitate sustainable investment.

Social, economic, and environmental challenges continue to abound in a world where some 836 million people still live in extreme poverty, water scarcity affects 40 percent of the global population, climate change impacts are felt, and around 16,000 children die each day before celebrating their fifth birthday often as a result of preventable causes. A comprehensive response to global challenges at hand, including from the trade and investment communities, will be needed to ensure no one is left behind.

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The BioRes Team

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