Coherent Identifier About this item: 20.500.12592/5f82d7

A capabilities approach to trade and sustainable development




The other papers in the series are: Implications of the Cotonou Agreement for Sustainable Development in the ACP Countries and Beyond; A Model International Investment Agreement for the Promotion of Sustainable Development; and Bilateral Investment Treaties and Development Policy-Making. [...] The full definition, seldom quoted, continues: “It contains within it two key concepts: the concept of ‘needs,’ in particular the essential needs of the world’s poor, to which overriding priority should be given; and the idea of limitations imposed by the state of technology and social organization on the environment’s ability to meet present and future needs.” 1 A Capabilities Approach to Trade a [...] The third lesson of the analysis is the need for action at the international level, and specifically in the context of the trade negotiations (we focus on the WTO, but the lessons are broadly applicable). [...] A working definition of sustainable development is given by the landmark 1987 report of the UN Commission on Environment and Development (the Brundtland Report): “development that meets the needs of the present, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”7 Brundtland argued, in particular, the overwhelming need for growth in developing countries, but at the sam [...] Widening the focus of the debates from trade and environment to trade and sus- tainable development is useful in at least three ways: 1. Politically, it is useful in that by combining the objectives of economic growth and environmental integrity, it allows a dialogue among the communities that was impossible within the framework of trade and environment.



economic development sustainable development health agriculture environment government politics democracy economy water infrastructure water supply foreign direct investment international trade natural resources competition law competition policy ecology free trade intellectual property international relations labour non-tariff barriers trade liberalization nafta sustainable fair and equitable treatment foreign investors capability approach capabilities approach