One of the biggest threat to birds - and biodiversity more widely - is habitat loss. The loss of habitats all over the world is being driven by a wide range of factors, many of which are inextricably linked with national and international economic policies. International trade and the rules that govern it thus have an important bearing on BirdLife's core concerns.
Further, BirdLife takes a keen interest in wider policy areas concerning sustainable development. Biodiversity conservation is a key aspect of sustainability, and international trade has a significant impact on biodiversity and a central role to play in pursuing sustainable development.
World trade has significant implications for birds, biodiversity and the environment, as well as for people and their livelihoods. The trade in agricultural products, such as palm oil, maize and wheat, has a particularly profound impact, as it helps determine how land is managed across the world. This can either contribute to sustainable development, through encouraging high standards and providing livelihoods, or further environmental degradation and the loss of key habitats and species.
The rules within which world trade operates are made through the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Governments at the WTO are currently negotiating new rules on trade, including agricultural trade, as part of the Doha Development Round. BirdLife International is working to put sustainability at the heart of these negotiations to ensure that trade becomes part of the solution to the many problems we face globally, from poverty to biodiversity decline, instead of being part of the problem.
You can find out more by reading the publications below.
- Thought for food: Agricultural trade rules for a sustainable future (PDF, 565 KB)
- BirdLife briefing on agricultural trade (PDF, 87 KB)
- G6 trade statement - don't trade away the planet! (PDF, 216 KB)
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The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB)