Presentation of 3rd UNFSS Flagship at NTMs Week 2018, October 11, Geneva

Non-Tariff Measures (NTMs) Week
Trade Regulations and Voluntary Sustainability Standards

Date: 9-11 October 2018
Venue: Room XXV, Palais des Nations, Geneva

Hosted by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the NTM week will provide a platform for policymakers, practitioners and researchers to discuss cutting-edge issues surrounding the impact of Non-Tariff Measures (NTMs), including voluntary sustainability standards (VSS), on international trade and sustainable development. Together, they will consider ways of “shaping sustainable trade amid protectionism”.

Regulatory and non-regulatory measures have become more salient in international trade. Non-regulatory measures like Voluntary Sustainability Standards (VSS) have become a market reality in recent years. VSS are international standards that relates directly to a wide range of sustainability metrics in which it addresses and identifies the potentiality to generate significant environmental, social and economic advantages.

VSS have been advanced by UNFSS, particularly in developing countries through regular exchange of information and forward plans on VSS-related policy activities. With strong support from the Steering Committee (ITC, UNIDO, FAO, UN Environment and UNCTAD), UNFSS aims to promote better trade with sustainable development.

The launch of UNFSS 3rd Flagship Report

On the 3rd day of the NTMs week, UNFSS will be featuring its official launch of its 3rd Flagship Report on ‘Voluntary Sustainability Standards, Trade and Sustainable Development’.

The 3rd UNFSS Flagship is set to impart an agenda surrounding VSS and its relation to trade issues, in particular the impact of VSS on market access. Together with National Platform representatives from India, South Africa, Mexico etc, this panel also focuses on the National VSS Multi-Stakeholder approaches, which predominantly sees the evolution of VSS taking shape in developing and emerging countries.

To register for the NTMs Week, visit

Alternatively, you may download the agenda here.

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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