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Transition to a Circular Economy: Examples from Africa and the Caribbean

By Chibole Wakoli

August 2023

Transitioning to a circular economy can contribute to addressing climate change, biodiversity loss, land degradation and the impact of water stress, and pollution. Africa and the Caribbean, being two of the world’s regions that are most vulnerable to the negative effects of climate change, stand to benefit from adopting circular economy principles. This economic model also has the potential to create new jobs in these two regions. However, the formal adoption of circular economy approaches in the African and Caribbean contexts is still lacking. This policy brief makes the case for a transition by African and Caribbean countries to a circular economy and the role that international trade may play in this regard. The brief also offers examples of initiatives taking place in both regions that illustrate the ambition to transition to a circular economy. At the same time, the brief highlights that significant barriers remain for Africa and the Caribbean, impeding their transition to a circular economy.

Caribbean and African SIDS’ International Investment Agreements and Climate Action

By Alicia Nicholls

June 2023

Scholarly and policy discourse about the negative impact of investment treaty-based litigation on governments’ sovereign climate adaptation and mitigation efforts has intensified in recent years. It is part of a wider on-going international investment law reform conversation which recognises that this regime is heavily skewed towards the protection of foreign investors even where a host State’s development interests might be harmed. There is, therefore, the need to ensure that treaty-based investor protections do not constrain host States’ ability to regulate in the public interest, particularly in environmental, public health and human rights matters.


Unlike other international law regimes, the international investment law regime principally comprises the network of international investment agreements (IIAs) countries have negotiated among themselves since the
1950s and increasing in the 1980s-2000s.

An Overview of the Trading Arrangements Between the United States and Africa and the United States and the Caribbean Community

By Chibole Wakoli and Jan Yves Remy

March 2023

The year 2022 was an important one for the United States’ engagement with the regions of Africa and the Caribbean: in June, the Biden Administration met with leaders of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM)1 separately and as part of the Summit of the Americas held in Los Angeles; in December, the Biden Administration invited leaders of African States to a series of meetings in Washington D.C. to discuss, among other things, the renewal of the trading relations under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).


It is against this background that this SRC Policy Brief seeks to initiate a discussion about the trading arrangements that define the United States’ engagement with Africa and with CARICOM, with a view to identifying what lessons might usefully be drawn across those different configurations of relationships.

Trade-Related Climate Priorities for CARICOM at the World Trade Organization

By Dr. Jan Yves Remy prepared with TESS

January 2023

The Caribbean region throws up unique challenges for both the climate change and trade communities. Being among the most vulnerable regions in the world to the impacts of rising global temperatures, the small island developing states (SIDS) of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) stand to face severe environmental, economic, and infrastructural losses in the coming years. On the trade front, the region still accounts for a very small share of global trade, has registered overall declines in terms of global competitiveness and participation in global value chains, and is a relatively small player in negotiating and dispute settlement fora at the World Trade Organization (WTO).

The Trade and Climate Change Interface

By Dr. Jan Yves Remy, Rueanna Haynes and Kaycia Ellis-Bourne

November 2021

The phenomenon of “climate change” is linked to direct or indirect human activity which alters the composition of the global atmosphere over and above natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods. It results from a gradual increase in average global temperatures caused by the accumulation of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the atmosphere. The principal GHGs are carbon dioxide (CO2), methane, nitrous oxide, and fluorinated gases. CO2 comprises 64.3% of GHGs and enters the atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels, solid waste, trees and wood products, and certain chemical reactions. The adverse impacts of global warming and the resulting changes in the climatic conditions are formidable stumbling blocks to sustainable development, in particular, for small island developing states (SIDS) of which most Caribbean states are a sub-set.

An Overview of Food Security and Trade Across CARICOM

By Chelcee Brathwaite

July 2021

Food security is a global challenge. Some like FAO (2016) and Breene (2016) believe that a 60% increase in global agricultural production (and nearly double in developing countries) will be required to feed a 9 billion-plus world population by 2050. Others like Mandyck and Schultz (2015) postulate that existing production can feed the world’s growing population, but food waste and unequal distribution obstruct this reality. However, more than simply feeding people, food security is a broad concept. Across the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), major challenges still hinder progress under the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) – Zero Hunger (Sachs et al. 2020). Failure to reach these targets has wider socioeconomic implications which negatively impacts the achievement of other SDGs, further underscoring the importance of improving and achieving food security.

Investment Promotion and Facilitation for Financing Achievement of the SDGs in the Caribbean

By Alicia Nicholls

June 2021

What are the SDGs?

The SDGs comprise 17 goals and their 169 targets announced as the outcome of the UN summit for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda in a resolution by the General Assembly on September 25, 2015. They build on the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), but, unlike the MDGs which focused on developing countries, the SDGs are universal – applying to all countries. The SDGs are not just integrated, but indivisible. They comprise and balance the three pillars of sustainable development which are: economic, social and environmental (UN 2015a).