Rich countries force WTO climate agenda: Justice missing for developing countries

DCJ-OWINFS online media briefing, 22 February 2024

Global Campaign to Demand Climate Justice (DCJ) and Our World Is Not For Sale (OWINFS) hosted this online media briefing on the climate agenda at the WTO's 13th Ministerial next week in Abu Dhabi.

Twenty-five years after street protesters shut down – then developing countries rejected – a World Trade Organization (WTO) deal at the 1999 “Battle in Seattle,“ civil society is once again sounding alarms as 164 trade ministers prepare for WTO’s 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) from February 26-29 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Climate justice and trade justice networks globally are concerned by wealthy countries, with the strong support of WTO’s Director General, once again driving an ideological “free trade” agenda that threatens poor people and our warming planet amid converging economic, ecological and geopolitical crises. Despite 40% of global greenhouse gases emitted since establishing WTO in 1995, and a surging backlash to corporate globalization worldwide, Abu Dhabi will see free traders attempting to greenwash WTO’s image with dubious climate credentials.

Speakers from the Global Campaign the Demand Climate Justice (DCJ) and Our World Is Not for Sale (OWINFS) unpack the clash of paradigms between WTO and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the two global regimes’ opposing principles and protections for developing countries. Climate and trade justice experts will also highlight ways in which the climate and environment proposals being tabled at WTO are neither in line with what is needed nor the agreed principles in UNFCCC, while restricting the ability to deal with climate change when what is really needed are intellectual property flexibilities to facilitate technology transfer. WTO’s old wine in new bottles still centers wider market access for developed country exports and does not address climate change equitably.


  • Abhijit Das, (Former Head) Centre for WTO Studies (New Delhi)
  • Prerna Bomzan, Third World Network (Kathmandu)
  • Deborah James, Our World Is Not for Sale (Washington, D.C.)
  • Victor Menotti, Global Campaign to Demand Climate Justice (Bratislava)