The main purpose of collaboration between SEI and UNCTAD is to:

  • Enable the full utilization of our respective comparative advantages and initiatives in promoting sustainable development, and
  • Ensure a more equitable distribution of benefits and risks among the various actors in the global circular economy arena.

“SEI is looking forward to collaborating around high-level, relevant issues, including commodity trade, international finance flows and pollution,” said Måns Nilsson, SEI Executive Director. ”Our joint project to map pollution hotspots in Africa and Asia is already mobilizing research expertise from across SEI. We look forward to working more closely with UNCTAD to provide relevant knowledge and actionable tools, and as the convener of change makers that we have in common.”

UNCTAD is the focal point within the United Nations for the integrated treatment of trade and development and the interrelated issues in the areas of international trade, commodities, technology, investment and sustainable development.

SEI and UNCTAD signing the MoU. Photo: Henrique Silva Pacini Costa / UNCTAD.

Lucas Assunção, Head of the Trade and Environment Branch at UNCTAD said: “This agreement with Stockholm Environment Institute is already off to a flying start with a breakthrough research programme to better understand pollution from manufacturing processes in Africa and Asia. The programme is supported by UK-DFID and the initial research is being led by SEI at the University of York. We’re looking forward to the results, which will be discussed at UNCTAD and inform the decision-making process on trade and development.”

“SEI and the University of York are excited to be starting this project on the impact of small and medium scale industry and manufacturing processes in sub-Saharan African and South Asia. We will assess the extent of pollution, environmental degradation and the impacts on human health, with the aim of reducing such impacts in the future,” said Lisa Emberson, Centre Director, SEI York.

UNCTAD is part of the core UN secretariat and its deliberations feed into the UN General Assembly. Based on rigorous research, technical cooperation and consensus building, UNCTAD has strong contacts with most governments in Africa and Asia.

“We are the trade department of the United Nations, which focuses on enabling a fairer and just integration of developing countries in the global economy. We’re a think tank and a platform where issues can be discussed before they enter the decision-making process, drawing on experiences of developing and developed countries,” said Lucas Assunção.

Georgia Savvidou and Lucas Assunção. Photo: Henrique Silva Pacini Costa / UNCTAD.

Among possible areas for future collaboration, SEI’s work on supply chain transparencyinternational financebioeconomy, and transnational climate impact  is of particular relevance for UNCTAD.

”Transnational climate impact rest on four pillars; trade, people, finance and biophysical aspects. Understanding relationships of these flows among countries is very important, especially in the increasingly interconnected world we are living,” said Georgia Savvidou, a researcher at SEI.