Report from meeting on 20/21 March 2006

Thomas Ruddy sought a clarification of the relationship between the Sustainability Impact Assessment (SIA) process and the Commission-wide Impact Assessment process for a paper he is writing. Such a clarification is to be found in the Commission's brand-new Handbook for Trade Sustainability Impact Assessment on page 11, of which hardcopies were presented at the meeting. Furthermore University of Manchester contractor Colin Fitzgerald explained the criteria by which he "assesses the impact" of an impact assessment: outputs/outcomes and impacts. They were similar to the criteria upon which for Thomas Ruddy's study will be based: Mandelson recommended a new study by the Carnegie Endowment entitled "Winners and Losers: Impact of the Doha Round on Developing Countries" by Sandra Polaski.

French trade minister Christine Lagarde went to the European Parliament to defend her stance on the slow reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) that she has imposed on Mandelson, as reported on EU Politix.

University of Manchester co-contractor Clive George made the provocative suggestion that rather than an environment chapter in a trade agreement, we need a trade chapter in a sustainable development agreement. Thomas Ruddy suggested further in the discussion that conference participants might investigate the link between the SIA and the EU Sustainable Development Strategy (SDS) being debated next door at the European Economic and Social Committee ESC before the Spring Council Meeting to begin tomorrow.

In the Commission's Handbook for Trade Sustainability Impact Assessment, Rupert Schlegelmilch had suggested establishing a "framework" or toolkit, but "not a one-size-fits-all methodology", between the Commission and multilateral organizations working on IA (page 40). Rupert Schlegelmilch reported that the Chinese representative to the event, Hu Tao from SEPA, confirmed that China too is beginning to apply SIA to its trade policy-making.

The idea of an international framework apparently enjoys support from UNEP, as UNEP officials Husein Abaza (Geneva) and Charles Arden-Clarke (Paris) described in a  final synthesis panel, and as documented in this UNEP note mentioning these Websites, and

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