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Good morning, Michelle here covering for Kasmira this week. Today we keep our eyes on the World Trade Organization where chief Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has warned that rising trade barriers are hindering countries’ pandemic response.

Also at the WTO, formal talks to improve access to Covid vaccines, tests and treatment are set to kick off at the end of the month, with several wealthy nations continuing to oppose an intellectual property waiver. Plus, we hear why investors should prepare for the impact of climate stress tests on banks.

photo journaliste

Michelle Langrand


Sustainable business & finance news

Photo article

Pfizer's vaccines arrive at the Yongsan ward office in Seoul, South Korea, 13 May 2021. (Keystone/EPA/YONHAP)

🛑‘The wrong direction’. Trade barriers hindering countries’ access to medical supplies for Covid are rising again, the head of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala warned last Monday. At the beginning of the pandemic, WTO members had reported 109 barriers, which later dropped to 51 but are now up to 53. “This trend is going in the wrong direction,” said Okonjo-Iweala last week, urging countries to bring those barriers down to speed up the delivery of medical goods and supplies.

Reuters (EN)

💉 A divisive proposal. South Africa and India’s proposal to temporarily waver intellectual property rights for Covid vaccines, tests and treatments has been causing a rift between nations. The measure seeks to improve countries' access to Covid-related medical products, but opponents argue that it would stifle innovation. The EU has submitted a counter-proposal that many say is insufficient. Others, such as the US, have expressed support for patent wavering for vaccines but not for other products. With formal talks about the scope of the proposal to kick off 30 June and continue throughout July, reaching a consensus won’t be easy.

Health Policy Watch (EN)

Image of the day

Photo article

Central banks are under pressure to address climate change. This makeshift globe was burnt during a protest outside the European Central Bank in Germany, October 2020. (Keystone/AP Photo/Michael Probst)

Why investors should prepare for the impact of green stress tests on banks. The world’s top central bankers are now acknowledging their role in tackling climate change, and leading the charge towards their industry going green. But which measures will have the most effect? Climate stress tests are the best way to find out, and a dozen central banks are set to run them next year, according to Huw van Steenis, senior adviser to the CEO of UBS.

Financial Times (EN)

Next on the agenda

📌 22 June | Sustainable post-Covid-19 recovery. This online webinar will assess the challenges of a sustainable post-Covid recovery, and the role of trade policy in the transition towards a more circular global economy.


📌 22 June | Private investment for restoration: addressing the pipeline bottleneck. As the world enters the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, this UNEP online event looks into ways to scale up private investment in restoration efforts.


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