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Sustainable Trade and VSS Dialogue: Understanding the role of VSS for advancing the sustainability agenda through the forthcoming UNFSS 5th Flagship Report

The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres recently warned that the world is on brink of a “perfect storm” of crises. The global food, energy, and financial crisis has hit countries that were already reeling from the pandemic and the climate crisis and has pushed back what had been a growing convergence between developed and developing countries. The role of trade for sustainable development has gained greater momentum in addressing these challenges. Today, the concept of sustainable development through trade, standards,

The Tools of Trade: Exploring challenges and opportunities of Voluntary Sustainability Standards in the forthcoming UNFSS 5th Flagship Report

The recently approved UNCTAD XV Bridgetown Covenant recalls that “today, many Sustainable Development Goals are behind schedule, and, despite remarkable efforts and progress, many people and places have not managed to enjoy the benefits of progress. The tools of trade, investment, technology, and finance can do more to change this reality and foster a more inclusive, sustainable, equitable and resilient world.” Voluntary Sustainability Standards are one such tools of trade that leverage sustainability criteria as a means

Triple Vulnerabilities: The Role of Sustainable Trade and Value Chains

In a world grappling with converging disruptions: effects of the pandemic, supply chain strains, and climate change; the conflict in Ukraine further risks pushing the world into a global crisis. UNCTAD’s analysis indicates a worsening outlook for the world’s economy, underpinned by rising food, fuel and fertilizer prices, heightened financial volatility, sustainable development divestment, complex global supply chain reconfigurations and mounting trade costs. “Soaring food and fuel prices will affect the most vulnerable in developing countries, putting

UNFSS National Platforms

Local Solutions for Global Challenges: The Role of UNFSS National Platforms’ Network in maximising benefits of Voluntary Sustainability Standards (VSS)

Everyday life has been struck by climate change effects, deepening poverty and hunger, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the crisis in Ukraine. As a result, the world is witnessing accelerating existing vulnerabilities and widening inequalities. The value of multilateralism and trade cannot be undermined in providing a sustainable recovery path, especially for the most vulnerable groups. In light of the above, the UNFSS National Platform and Initiative Cooperation Network (NPICN) met on 24th May

No Poverty among Smallholder Farmers: Can access to Voluntary Sustainability Standards (VSS)-compliant markets help?

Ever since the adoption of the 2015 Sustainable Development Agenda, the global development community has worked towards achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, set forth by the United Nations. However, progress has been cut short, or even worse, reversed, due to multiple external shocks, like the COVID-19 pandemic and the Ukraine-Russia crisis. This has further alarmed the world on issues like extreme poverty, food insecurity, and an ever-widening gap between the rich and the poor. Despite multiple

Africa prepares to mainstream Voluntary Sustainability Standards: Launch of the African Continental platform on Voluntary Sustainability Standards

On 6th April 2022, the African Organisation for standardization (ARSO), in collaboration with UNFSS, launched the African Continental platform on Voluntary Sustainability Standards. The platform will promote the development and implementation of sustainability standards, assist Small and Mid-size Enterprises (SMEs) in their implementation, and encourage the establishment of national platforms in ARSO member countries. The launch was conducted virtually and discussed the importance of an established multi-stakeholder platform for collectively assessing VSS’s impact on Africa’s sustained trade growth and sustainable development.

Empowering Women is Smart Economics and Pathway Towards the SDGs

Improving gender equality has many positive impacts on individuals and also on society at large. Empowering women in the economy and closing gender gaps are key to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. When more women work, economies grow! Empowering women to become full economic citizens has grown importance in the work of the United Nations Forum on Sustainability Standards (UNFSS). The underlying point of reference as Mr. Santiago Fernandez de Cordoba, Senior Economist andUNFSS Coordinator, UNCTAD prescribed as a

Voluntary Sustainability Standards for People, Planet, and Prosperity: Focus on G20

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed systemic fragilities across the globe. The pandemic has not only been a global health crisis but also has severely impacted the global economy and financial markets. The pandemic has affected people’s livelihoods, health and disrupted food systems. Significant reductions in income, rise in unemployment, and disruption in services have been common aftermath, especially in the developing countries. Fig.1 International trade plunged as the virus spread (Source:

The Circular Economy: Can Voluntary Sustainability Standards play a role in bidding adieu to the ‘take, make, waste’ model?

The last three decades have witnessed a worsening of the world’s environmental problems. The global use of natural resources has more than tripled since 1970 and continues to grow, pushing climate stability and ecosystems worldwide to the limits of their resilience. This reflects a pertinent need to shift towards sustainable consumption and production pathways. But how can we achieve that? A circular economy might provide some solutions. While there is no singular definition of a circular economy, it most

UNFSS 2021 Activity Highlights

Another eventful year has come to an end. None of the successes we achieved during the year happened by chance. The UNFSS Secretariat thank you for all your support for making things happen, despite a difficult year due to the pandemic. As we look forward to welcoming 2022 with you, allow us to take this opportunity to highlight some of our key activities in 2021. Academic Advisory Council (AAC) Annual Meeting In November 2021, the UNFSS co-organized the Academic Advisory Council (AAC)