International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development

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The International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) is an independent think-and-do-tank, engaged in the provision of information, research and analysis, and policy and multistakeholder dialogue, as a not-for-profit organisation based in Geneva, Switzerland.[1] Established in 1996, ICTSD’s mission is to ensure that trade and investment policy and frameworks advance sustainable development[2] in the global economy. Since 1997, ICTSD is the publisher of BRIDGES and a suite of regional periodicals in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Russian and Chinese, including BioRes, BRIDGES AFRICA, Puentes, Passerelles, Pontes, мосты Mosti and 桥 Ciao. Since 1996, and since 2003 in a major Trade and Development Symposium format, ICTSD organises coalitions of knowledge organisations working on trade policy and global issues to offer the most comprehensive platform and opportunity for dialogue alongside WTO biannual ministerial conferences. Since Bali in 2013, it also convenes a biannual WTO Business Forum, cosponsored by major business associations including the International Chamber of Commerce, ICC. In 2011, ICTSD launched the E15 Initiative, now jointly implemented with the World Economic Forum, convening 400 of the world's top experts to look into the issues confronting the global economy and the international trade and investment systems. Among its initiatives for policy reform on several fronts, ICTSD formed the SETI Alliance as a public-private consortium to complement its campaign for robust, efficient markets that support massive scale-up of the diffusion and use of clean energy technologies, to address climate change, energy access and poverty, and energy security. It has also formed a consortium with the Inter-American Development Bank and the Asian Development Bank to establish the RTA Exchange, a major double platform on knowledge (interactive databases, research and information on a virtual facility) and systematic policy dialogues to review the rapidly changing world of trade and investment agreements and promote coherence in the global trade and investment architecture.

ICTSD was co-founded by Ricardo Meléndez-Ortiz, who has since served as the organisation's director. Founding institutions were the World Conservation Union (IUCN), International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), Consumer Union and Trust Society of India (CUTS), Fundación Futuro Latinoamericano and the Swiss Coalition of Development Organisations [1], together with thirty-four other think tanks, NGOs and advocacy groups, and the heads of the WTO, UNCTAD, UNEP and prominent individuals.[2] ICTSD is governed by a group of independent directors successively chaired through the years by Mark Halle, Nadine Keim, Tariq Banuri and David Runnalls.


ICTSD is accredited by the United Nations and enjoys Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC); Observer Status at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the Codex Alimentarius Commission, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

Since 1996, the Centre has also been granted accreditation by the World Trade Organization (WTO) to participate in all its Ministerial Conferences and other ad hoc activities. ICTSD is further accredited to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Since July 2005, ICTSD has been an accredited member of the Governing Council of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).


ICTSD offers a wide range of free periodicals on trade and sustainable development, each with a specific focus. The most widely read is Bridges, that weekly reviews information, analysis, and views on trade and sustainable development. Through partnerships with other non-governmental organisations, ICTSD also offers regional periodicals including BioRes, BRIDGES AFRICA, Puentes, Passerelles, Pontes, мосты Mosti and 桥 Ciao. . ICTSD’s periodicals are published both online and in print, with frequency varying from weekly to quarterly.

In addition, ICTSD thematic programmes and initiatives issue ever year over 100 peer-viewed documents, papers and books. The latter published by major commercial, university and institutional print houses including: Cambridge University Press; Edward Elgar; Palgrave-McMillian; Editions Charles Léopold-Mayer; Earthscan; United Nations University; and the World Economic Forum.