Issues motivated for choosing the studyAs Anne Stevenson, famousAmerican- British poet and writer rightly said, “The Sea is as near as we cometo another world”, the sea is where the origin of life took place millions ofyear ago and led to our presence, the human beings, on this planet.
Almost allforms of life are said to initially evolve in marine habitats and around 99percent of living spaces are provided by oceans on this planet. Despite being the ‘lifegiver’, human beings, for their own greed have exponentially destroyed themarine ecosystem, especially during the last few decades thereby contributingimmensely towards environmental degradation. Anthropogenic factors have been themost prominent cause of deteriorating condition of the planet and the risingpopulation has made it worse, consequently leading to much talked aboutphenomenon like global warming, climate change among others. All these concernshave severely put the survival of human life at stake. But it’s not surprisingto expect such a result as we all are familiar with the great, old saying, “Asyou sow, so shall you reap”. As concerned as I amabout the future of this planet and the current scenario, this line of studylies in my interest area as I am specializing in Business and EnvironmentalManagement and I am looking forward to pursue this subject for my furtherstudies too.
Hence, the selection of this topic. Origin and Nature The World Tradeorganization (WTO) was officially commenced on January 1, 1995 and is anintergovernmental organization which helps in regulating international tradebetween its member countries. It came into existence under the MarrakeshAgreement which was signed on April 15, 1994 by 123 nations. It replaced theGeneral Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) which had commenced in 1948. Coming to the links oftrade and environment, the importance of the interdependencies of these bothaspects on each other was realized in the 1970s. This included both, the influenceof environmental policies on trade and the effect of trade practices onenvironment. With the growing economic efforts across the world, concerns wereraised internationally as to its impact on the social development andenvironment. This gave rise to the need for an International conference inorder to manage and resolve the issues related to human environment.
Hence theStockholm Conference occurred in 1972 as a response to dealing with the abovementioned concerns. The GATT Council of Representatives acceded to setting up agroup on Environmental Measures and International Trade (EMIT Group) in November1971which was open to all GATT signatories. It was decided that the group wouldmeet or convene only at the request of GATT members. This occasion came onlyafter 20 years, in 1991, when the European Free Trade Association members askedto convene the EMIT group. They requested GATT to contribute in the upcoming UnitedNations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in 1992. As of the years during 1971-1991,economies developed, trade flows between the countries and across the globeincreased substantially and hence the resultant impact on environment as wellas that of environmental policies on trade was also widespread. Severaldiscussions relating to environment and trade policies took place during variousmeetings and rounds Tokyo round (1973-79), Uruguay Round (1986-94) of GATTmember nations.
Many important developments in several environmental forumsalso took place during this period and the relationship between economic growthof the nations and its effect on the social development and environmentcontinued to grow as a result of the Stockholm Conference. This could besubstantiated by the introduction of the very important term ‘SustainableDevelopment’ in the report titled “Our Common Future” (also, Brundtland Report)which was produced by the World Commission on Environment and Development in 1987.In 1992, the very famous Earth Summit (UNCED Conference) in Rio De Janeiro tookplace which quite influenced the efforts, discussions and activities of theEMIT group member nations, especially developing countries in application ofthe concept of sustainable development to overall economic development. Finally, in 1994, underthe Marrakesh Agreement, WTO was setup. More importantly, due to the efforts ofGATT towards environment protection, the Preamble of Marrakesh Agreementclearly mentioned the importance of contributing towards sustainabledevelopment, stating that members recognize “thattheir relations in the field of trade and economic endeavor should be conductedwith a view to raising standards of living..
. , while allowing for the optimaluse of the world’s resources in accordance with the objective of sustainabledevelopment, seeking both to protect and preserve the environment and toenhance the means for doing so in a manner consistent with their respectiveneeds and concerns at different levels of economic development.” (https://www.wto.org/english/docs_e/legal_e/04-wto.
pdf)Henceforth, in April, 1994 in Marrakesh, ministers also signed a pact ‘Decisionon Trade and Environment’ which led to the creation of Committee on Trade andEnvironment.