Developing New Methodologies to Assess the Sustainability Impacts of Trade Policies [SIAMethod]

Funded by: Commission of the European Communities - Research Directorate-General


April 2005 to September 2006

PSI researchers:

Robin Vanner

Background, summary and aims

The objective of the study is to forecast and develop innovative trade policies for sustainability.

Most assessments of the links between trade, environment and policies have focused on trade in goods or on unilateral domestic liberalization measures. Regional or bilateral agreements have received much less attention. So have the issues of trade in services, investment, and intellectual property rights. Commodity trade also presents significant challenges for sustainable development. Each of these areas presents distinctive methodological challenges.

This project will explore methodologies for the full range of trade issues. There are theoretical reasons for the failure to successfully integrate economic modelling with sustainability assessments. These reasons revolve around the lack of consensus around the appropriateness of expressing environmental values in monetary terms, a consensus of which there is little prospect in the foreseeable future. The project will explore the limits and potential for enlarging the use of models for sustainability assessment and will cover methodologies for product chain assessment; assessment of specific service sectors; assessment of investment; assessment of IPR; assessment of commodity markets; techniques for stakeholder consultation. The project will explore the potential and limits of integration of methodologies.

PSI is one of five partners working on the project (Iddri, Ecologic, IÖW, RIDES and PSI). PSI has been given the lead responsibility for :work on -Sustainable Development Assessment Methodologies for Commodity Markets', and will also contribute to a -Comparative Review of Trade Sustainability Assessment Methodologies', -Assessment of Modelling Tools for Trade Policy and Sustainable Development', and -Integration of Methodologies and Development of Policies'.


SIAs and negotiating 'contextual realities' (SIAMETHOD): New SIA approaches for Traded Commodities, PSI working paper, December 2006

Read the paper [pdf]

See also:

SIAMETHOD's other outputs