Africa is one of the most biodiverse regions on earth. Yet commitments negotiated so far under the landmark African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement barely mention the environment.
This represents a missed opportunity to achieve sustainable development through trade integration in Africa, as stipulated under the Africa 2063 Agenda, says a new UNCTAD study entitled “Implications of the African Continental Free Trade Area for Trade and Biodiversity: Policy and Regulatory Recommendations.”
The study developed in partnership with the ABS Initiative investigates the link between trade and biodiversity and the existing parties’ commitments under the AfCFTA.
It recommends ways of transforming the agreement into an enabler of sustainable trade in biodiversity and a key driver of post-COVID-19 recovery and development in Africa.
“BioTrade could play a pivotal role in establishing a green development pathway for African countries and thus ensure an environmentally friendly recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said David Vivas, an UNCTAD legal officer working on trade and environmental issues, including the BioTrade Initiative.
BioTrade refers to the activities related to the collection, production, transformation and trade of goods and services derived from biodiversity under a set of environmental, social and economic sustainability criteria, known as the BioTrade Principles and Criteria.