Dispute resolution and "environmental" provisions in the WTO: promising developments for environmental matters

Natalia Rodríguez-Uribe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


International politics are moving towards an economical and cultural unification (globalisation), in which all nations are related by trade interactions. If environmental protection commitments are to be honoured,environmental law has to cease to be considered a separate discipline and find synergies that allow it to become an important stakeholder in trade relations. In this paper it is argued that international commerce and environmental law have coevolved in the last three decades to reach a balance embodied in the concept of sustainable development. The essay explores this coevolution, and proposes that the World Trade Organization (WTO) can play an important role in environmental protection goals if its 'green provisions' and dispute resolution mechanism are to be used to promote them, as is already happening. In order to illustrate this point, a brief overview of commercial and environmental treaties signed since the seventies is presented, followed by an explanation of the WTO's treaty suite provisions that can be considered as 'green', in the hopes of finding convergence points that can be used by the member parties in order not only to justify the passing of environmental protection domestic legislations, but also to compel other countries to comply with their obligations in this area.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-193
Number of pages33
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • World Trade Organization (WTO)
  • dispute resolution mechanisms
  • international environmental law
  • GATT
  • sustainable development


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