UNCTAD: UN Conference on Trade & Development

Topic A: The Oceans Economy and Fisheries

Whether through trade routes, coastal tourism, or fisheries, every country on Earth has an economy at least somehow connected to or dependent on the ocean. The oceans economy, also known as the “blue economy,” is defined as the elements of these economies that encourage and benefit from more sustainable economic practices in dealing with the sea. All marine environments, organisms, and objects that inhabit the oceans are the resources associated with the blue economy, and the subject of accompanying conservation efforts. Because of the strong presence of the ocean in so many aspects of the global economy, sustainability in these practices is universally important for the global economy. In the realm of maritime trade, shipping traffic has greatly increased due to globalization, and thus, the global economy is heavily reliant on trade routes that are efficient in the present and sustainable for the future. Global output of fish and seafood from fisheries has increased tenfold in the past fifteen years. Thus, practices that prevent habitat depletion and promote the intelligent usage of natural resources is of extreme importance, especially considering the heavy reliance some countries have on fisheries for economic means. Additionally, climate change poses a particular threat to the blue economy, with issues like ocean acidification and waste threatening the entire economy. UNCTAD must find a way to introduce more sustainable practices or the health of the oceans economy will be in jeopardy around the world.

Topic B: Biotrade in the Global Economy

Biotrade refers to activities of collection, production, transformation, and commercialization of goods and services derived from native biodiversity under the criteria of environmental, social, and economic sustainability. While biodiversity has the potential to become a profitable resource for countries, a lack of regulation and misuse of biodiversity will result in the endangerment of biological resources in the long run. UNCTAD has committed to creating sustainable biotrade frameworks worldwide. Since 1996, UNCTAD has made biotrade a priority through the implementation of the BioTrade Initiative and the BioTrade Facilitation Programme (BTFP). Together, both projects were designed to promote sustainable biotrade within and across member states by enhancing management practices of relevant biotrade resources, product development processes, value adding processing, and marketing capabilities. However, additional guidance and action from UNCTAD is required; otherwise, biotrade will not be able to play a major role in the global community.