The green economy within the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication is one of the themes of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), held in Brazil in 2012. The trade dimension of sustainable development and the green economy have so far attracted a more limited attention despite the importance of the issues and concerns related to green protectionism, technology transfer and the existing framework of multilateral rules within which any sustainable development policy is set.
Chapter 2 of Agenda 21 stipulates that trade, environment and development policies should be mutually supportive. The green economy has emerged as a potential new paradigm and an enabling tool to advance sustainable development. In that sense, it may have the potential to provide new trade and investment impetus to developing country economies. The green economy, through trade-led growth, could become a pro-development income-generating instrument that will directly contribute to achieving sustainable development, as set out at the 1992 Rio Summit. However, there are key conditions for a green economy to become a vehicle for sustainable development and areas where international action could promote an inclusive, broad-based and equitable transition towards a green economy. The Rio outcome should play an important role in advancing this agenda.