Skip to main content

UN-ESCWA Promotes Trade and Environment Issues


The Ministry of Regional Planning and Environment of Algeria hosted the 18th Session of the Council of Arab Ministers Responsible for the Environment (CAMRE) in Algiers last month. Ms. Anhar Hegazi, Director of the UN-ESCWA Sustainable Development and Productivity Division, and Ms. Carol Chouchani Cherfane, Acting Leader of the Technology and Enterprise Development Team, represented the Commission. 


During this Session, CAMRE seized the topic of environmental considerations affecting trade in the Arab region as one of its thematic focus areas. In this context, UN-ESCWA gave a presentation on key trade and environment issues facing Arab countries based on a background paper it had prepared at the request of the CAMRE Secretariat. Among the decisions of the CAMRE Session was a resolution requesting additional UN-ESCWA assistance in this area.  These activities are conducted as part of the Commission’s on-going support to the Program on Trade and Environment Capacity Building in the Arab Region, which it has been implementing since 2003 in cooperation with the League of Arab States and United Nations Environment Program / Regional Office for Western Asia (UNEP/ROWA).


The CAMRE Session was preceded by the Arab Civil Society Consultation on the Follow-up of the Arab Initiative for Sustainable Development organized by the Arab Network for Environment and Development (RAED) under the auspices of the League of Arab States, Ministry of Regional Planning and Environment of Algeria, Conservatoire National des Formations à l’Environnement (Algeria), UN-ESCWA and a number of other organizations. The consultation meeting resulted in the Algiers Declaration, which was presented to the CAMRE Session and recommended the ministers to take into consideration the findings of the sustainability impact assessment of the Euro-Mediterranean Free Trade Area (SIA/EMFTA), particularly the anticipated effects on the competitiveness of small and medium enterprises and rural livelihoods. It also recommended facilitation of technology transfer, market access and capacity building arrangements in these enterprises. The Declaration also raised concerns about the implications of trade liberalization for trade in hazardous waste and products derived from genetically modified organisms, and the need to better involve civil society in national deliberations on trade and environment.