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Nigeria, others need time to build sustainability, says Okonjo-Iweala

The Director-General of the World Trade Organisation, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has pleaded for time for developing nations to build environmental sustainability.

This was disclosed in a statement from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

At the second edition of the UN Trade Forum which was held on 14 June, Okonjo-Iweala said trade policy needed to embrace a sustainability dimension but give developing nations space.

She said: “Whatever measures are taken in trade (policy) should not be seen as protectionism or used as a barrier to trade against developing countries.

“I really think there can be green and inclusive growth. But we need a transition period. We need to think about how we handle the transition of resource-rich countries that are dependent on fossil fuels, like mine Nigeria.

“It’s not overnight that you can transform everything.”

The European Commission Executive Vice-President and Commissioner for Trade, Valdis Dombrovskis, promised the European Union’s support for such a transition.

He said: “The EU remains very attentive to the needs of developing countries. The EU has an ambitious domestic agenda, a green deal, but we are also strongly committed to supporting the green transition of developing countries in parallel with their integration into the world economy.

“This includes financial support and promoting climate project capacity building.”

He added that the global climate ambition was a shared endeavour for both developed and developing countries, saying, “We need the world fully onboard.”

The forum emphasised the need for policy coherence, a holistic government approach, standard carbon pricing, support for women in trade, and more help for developing countries to reach their sustainable development ambitions.

It precedes a series of major global, multilateral negotiation moments geared towards striking a balance between economic recovery and environmental protection.

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