APEC Environmental Goods and Services Information Exchange
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
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Prepared by the United States, Canada and New Zealand
An information-sharing community dedicated to the facilitation and promotion of trade and commerce in environmental goods and services in the APEC region.
This document summarizes the benefits and potential features of an APEC Environmental Goods and Services Information Exchange (EGSIE) website. It provides a framework for evaluating the sample working website at http://egs.apec.org/, which we hope that delegates will have a chance to visit prior to the MAG 2 meeting. The sample working website, along with this paper, are intended to help explain how information could be accessed and cross-referenced across different sources and configurations. The content of the website is purely illustrative, and not all of the links work. It is designed to give delegates a more tangible feel for our proposal, and to provide a basis for inviting input. Finally, this paper provides some basic information of the likely resource requirements to build and maintain EGSIE, if endorsed. We welcome comments from delegates on how we can make this the most effective information sharing tool, and hereby propose that that this project be endorsed by MAG2 and added to the EGS work program.
At the MAG 2 in May 2008, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States tabled a "Preliminary Thoughts" paper on a potential APEC environmental goods and services (EGS) database. Helpful feedback was received from economies, and further thought was given to the development of an appropriate tool for exchanging information and promoting the liberalization of trade in environmental goods and services amongst APEC economies. In an attempt to address delegations' comments and concerns, and provide a more concrete platform for future discussion, we committed to develop a mock-up version of the information exchange tool for discussion at MAG 2.
If endorsed, the EGSIE has the potential to be a critical project in APEC's EGS work programme. It overlaps, informs, highlights and is designed to incorporate the outcomes of other APEC projects currently proposed, such as the proposals (if endorsed) to study barriers and impediments to trade in EGS, the study on developing good regulatory practice for EGS, and workshops which promote engagement with business. It should be viewed as a living, evolving tool, reflective of the nature and environment of EGS. This tool can help build an information sharing community around these issues and the EGS work program more generally, and promote APEC's transparency goals.
Purpose of the EGSIE
The purpose of an APEC EGS Information Exchange would be to provide public and private stakeholders in APEC economies with a means to access and share the latest information, studies, projects and commitments on EGS and voluntarily exchange information on specific environmental goods and services. While no universally agreed definition for what constitutes an environmental good or service currently exists, a great deal of information and research is available that could potentially assist APEC economies in determining their own interests and policies, as well as developing their own EGS industries. This APEC project is intended to be collaborative and pragmatic, consistent with APEC's own approach.
Such an information exchange tool would create the "go to" source of information on EGS and render numerous trade and sustainable development-related benefits, including:
- Enhancing public and private sector knowledge and dissemination of the various EGS that are regionally available.
- Keeping APEC economies abreast of the latest EGS developments.
- Assisting APEC economies in participating in ongoing WTO initiatives.
- Identifying areas of potential regional cooperation.
- Helping APEC economies in identifying and targeting those EGS that are of export interest and/or can best assist them in their domestic sustainable development efforts.
The information included in EGSIE would draw from all relevant sources, with a primary focus on sources relevant to or generated within APEC economies. It is not intended to be a typical compartmentalized system for information collection, but rather, an entire system that is built with cross-referencing capability (depending on keyword searches).