Outcome Report of the Expert Meeting on VSS, Market Access and Trade-Led Sustainable Development

This meeting was convened under the umbrella of the first UNCTAD’s NTMs week from 25 to 27 September 2017, with the support of the UNFSS and the German Development Institute (DIE). The NTMs week had two parts: the first part examined mandatory trade regulations relating to NTMs (25-26 September) and the second part discussed voluntary sustainability standards (VSS), including private ones, market access and trade-led sustainable development (27 September). There was a private meeting on September 28 organized by DIE that UNFSS members participated on VSS and the work of the national platforms.

The VSS discussions on September 27 had a twofold objective viz., to, firstly, have a policy discussion on the need for global governance in dealing with the multiplicity of VSS and harnessing them as tools to achieve sustainable growth through trade in producing countries; and, secondly, the emergence of multi-stakeholder approach at the national level in the form of national VSS platforms in several emerging countries and sharing the lessons learn in holistically discussing strategic approaches to VSS.

Organizers and participants highly appreciate the support of the German Development Institute, in particular the Managing Global Governance program, in particular mobilizing attention for the event and financing a large group of participants from around the world. DIE has been a fundamental partner in developing and supporting the VSS National Platforms.

Report VSS expert meeting

Agenda VSS September 27

Presentations of Panel:

Brazil VSS National Platform INMETRO

China VSS National Platform CAS

Indonesia VSS BSN

Mexico VSS



The United Nations Forum on Sustainability Standards (UNFSS) is a joint initiative of 5 UN Agencies (FAO, ITC, UNCTAD, UN Environment and UNIDO) that seeks to address these challenges. It is a demand-driven forum for intergovernmental actors to communicate among each other and engage with key target groups (producers, traders, consumers, standard-setters, certification-bodies, trade diplomats, relevant NGOs and researchers) to address their information needs and influence concerned stakeholders. It aims to provide impartial information, analysis, and discussions on VSS and their potential contribution to facilitate market access, strengthen public goods and achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Most importantly, the UNFSS focuses on potential trade or development obstacles VSS may create, with particular emphasis on their impact on SMEs and less developed countries.

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