Nature-positive trade for sustainable development: Identifying opportunities for the sustainable use of marine resources, including sustainable fisheries

Target 10 of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, adopted at the COP 15 of the Convention on Biological Diversity, calls for areas under agriculture, aquaculture, fisheries and forestry to be managed sustainably through the sustainable use of biodiversity and ecosystems, building on the application of biodiversity friendly practices such as sustainable intensification, agroecological and other innovative approaches. These biodiversity friendly approaches are also foreseen to support food security, improve resilience and long-term efficiency and productivity, and help to maintain ecosystem functions and services that are vital for wellbeing.

Trade-related policies and measures can play an important role in supporting the delivery of Target 10 objective, either by discouraging unsustainable or encouraging sustainable practices and trade. Trade is a key driver underpinning the management of ecosystems, with about 30% of the global biodiversity footprint embedded in commodity trade (e.g., fish, food and timber)[1]. The influence of trade is significant and links clearly to some of the biggest agents of change, including agriculture, pollution and climate change.

In the context of fisheries, illegal fisheries, lack of effective stock management and subsidies play a significant role in enabling the continuation of unsustainable levels and means of fishing, with negative impacts on marine ecosystems and biodiversity. It has been estimated that illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing generates losses of about $10-25 billion a year. At the same time, governments pay about 20 billion USD / year in damaging types of fisheries subsidies, primarily to industrial fishers, to offset costs such as fuel, gear and vessel construction.[2] These subsidies contribute to the global fishing overcapacity, with 35% of fish stocks worldwide exploited beyond sustainable levels.[3]

The aim of this webinar is to identify and discuss some key trade-related policies and measures that could contribute to the uptake and mainstreaming of sustainable practices for managing marine resources (e.g. fisheries) supporting the delivery of Target 10 objectives for both biodiversity and people.

The webinar is part of the “Nature-positive trade for sustainable development” webinar series (2023 – 2024) that is a cooperation between UKRI GCRF TRADE Hub, UNEP, WTO, CBD, UNCTAD / BioTrade Initiative and ITC (see below). It follows a webinar discussing Target 10 through the lens of trade and sustainable agriculture, organised as part of the WTO Trade and Environment week in June.

[1] Lanzen et al. (2012), Irwin et al. (2022)

[2] Sumaila et al. (2013)

[3] FAO (2022)