Key Takeaway From the International Convention on Sustainable Trade and Standards (ICSTS), New Delhi India

With around 500 participants, the International Convention on Sustainable Trade and Standards (ICSTS) welcomed over 20 nationalities from diverse sectors along the supply chain. The convention in itself

  • addresses 12 key topics through panel discussions, from the challenges of multiplicity to the challenges of global value chains connected to social accountability.
  • discusses thematic sessions on ways to strengthen multi-stakeholder initiatives and responsible sourcing decisions in agri-food, fisheries, textiles and forestry, each of which were chaired by the UNFSS Steering Committee members.
  • raises dialogues towards converging the best practices of sustainability standards and innovative ideas that addresses the needs and priorities of every single participant within the value chains, notably those in the most vulnerable position- SMEs and small-scale producers.

The positive outcome of the convention was also in recognition of the well-esteemed key partners which includes Team Sweden, the Ministry of Commerce & Industry Government of India, Network for Certification and Conservation of Forests (NCCF), Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), GIZ, Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety Germany, WWF, German Development Institute and UN in India, as well as a considerable list of panel experts from established organizations, namely EU Commission, ILO, ISEAL, IISD, FairTrade, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy Netherlands, Walmart, and other government agencies of emerging economies, NGOs and the civil societies.

Watch video messages by Ms. Isabelle Durant, Deputy Secretary-General of UNCTAD and Mr. Suresh Prabhu, Minister of Commerce and Industry India.

UNFSS Highlight

The launch of the 3rd UNFSS Flagship came about as a breakthrough opportunity in bringing a vast multi-stakeholder network into a multilateral policy dialogue. In light of this approach, the convention in itself is an epitome of collaboration between several parties which includes the private sectors and SMEs, NGOs, public actors, economic development corporations, think-tanks and international organizations, in a collective effort to reach a common sustainability goal.

This has been achieved through a ‘Declaration of Cooperation on Sustainability Standards between the National Platforms’ which was signed by Ms. Sofia Pacheco from the Ministerio de Economia Mexico, Mr. Rogerio de Oliveira Corrêa from the National Institute of Metrology, Quality and Technology- InMetro and Dr. Manish Pande from the Quality Council of India, under the witness of the UNFSS Steering Committee, namely Mr. Santiago Fernandez de Cordoba as the representative of UNFSS, Mr. Bonapas Onguglo for UNCTAD, Mr. Joseph Wozniak for ITC and Mr. Rene Van Berkel for UNIDO.

The declaration enjoins cooperation in sustainability standards ecosystem among the National Platforms by linking the National Platforms on Voluntary Sustainability Standards with nine action points to take into account in order to help implement the 2030 SDGs.

The convention was concluded with the Launch of the Good Practices Handbook, an initiative by QCI that speaks about the Good Practices towards Sustainable Value Chains highlighting 10 key areas where sustainability measures could be learned and practiced, each of which were contributions by several stakeholders of the value chain.

Download The Summary of Proceedings

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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.