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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: September 2020

3 - Natural Resources Management in the Sustainable Development Goals Era

from Part I - Penetration and Diffusion of the Sustainable Development Goals

Summary

This chapter assesses whether the law and practice of the WTO have been sufficiently aligning with the international law principle of sustainable use of natural resources as enshrined in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and recognized in the International Law Association New Delhi Declaration. Focusing on how relevant WTO rules and exceptions have been interpreted in recent WTO cases revolving around the notion of conservation under Article XX(g) General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and Article 2 Technical Barriers to Trade, it finds that such provisions have been interpreted in a way that preserves sufficient flexibility for members to pursue sustainable natural resources management goals through trade-related policy instruments (even when they are unilateral measures with extraterritorial reach). Interestingly enough from a sustainable natural resources management standpoint, the chapter stresses that WTO dispute settlement bodies have not only consistently broadened the reach of the GATT conservation exception in line with the principle of sustainable use of natural resources, but also significantly preserved the ‘environmental’ (i.e. conservation-related) connotation of sustainable natural resources management.

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