At the 25 February meeting of the Coalition of Trade Ministers on Climate, WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala welcomed high-level officials’ efforts and leadership to boost their actions to address climate change.

The meeting of the coalition, which counts Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Morocco as the newest members, was held at the margins of the WTO’s 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) taking place in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

“Nearly two years ago, at MC12, you all agreed that trade should play an important role in responding to global environmental challenges including climate change and natural disasters, biodiversity loss, and pollution,” DG Okonjo-Iweala said in her remarks at the second ministerial meeting of the Coalition since it was launched in January 2023.

“The pathways you have sketched have important synergies with work ongoing at the WTO,” DG Okonjo-Iweala said, noting the efforts of the WTO Committee on Trade and Environment to improve deliberations and those of the three environmental initiatives of WTO members – the Dialogue on Plastics Pollution and Environmentally Sustainable Plastics Trade (DPP), the Trade and Environmental Sustainability Structured Discussions (TESSD), and Fossil Fuel Subsidies Reform (FFSR).

“Many of you are already actively engaging in all of these processes. Acting through the WTO can amplify the impact of this Coalition’s work,” DG Okonjo-Iweala said, adding that members can look to the WTO Secretariat’s report “Trade Policy Tools for Climate Action” for ideas on how to leverage trade to keep the rise in global temperature in check.

“Now is the time to work together and build bridges with those WTO members not yet in the Coalition. You can strengthen the WTO as a hub for transparency, knowledge, discussion and negotiation, trade policy reviews, and actions on trade in support of the climate.”

During the meeting, the coalition’s co-leads Ecuador, the European Union, Kenya and New Zealand reported on the group’s activities over its first year. Ministers then engaged in a discussion to assess progress and share opportunities for future cooperation in the area of trade and sustainability and climate change. The coalition issued a communiqué.

The Coalition of Trade Ministers on Climate has among its objectives the fostering of international cooperation and collective action around climate action across relevant initiatives.