Resources for:

Agricultural Trade and Investment

December 2014

Trade Liberalization and Food Security: Examining the Linkages

The paper is released as part of our project working towards a New Framework for Trade & Investment in Agriculture, in which we are exploring some of the questions at the heart of defining the purpose, structure and direction of governance of trade and investment in agriculture, in order to place livelihoods, dignity, sustainability, resilience and food security at the heart of the rules governing these areas.

The analysis presented in the paper highlights three points:

  • First, it shows that the dominant neoclassical economic arguments for agricultural trade have many caveats that need to be put out in the open and examined in light of food security concerns.
  • Second, it shows that current trade theory tends to utilize an outdated notion of food security, and could benefit from a more nuanced understanding of the concept.
  • Third, it shows that trade theory and policy tends to prioritize efficiency (in a narrow sense) over other social goals, including ensuring the right to food, the need to preserve livelihoods and to protect the environment.

Given the political importance of these social goals, the paper suggests that we are only likely to see advancement of the dialogue on trade policy and food security once these broader goals are put on equal footing with trade and efficiency concerns.

Author: 

  • Jennifer Clapp

Languages: 

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December 2014

Informal Report and Understandings Emerging from the Second Expert Consultation on QUNO's New Framework for Trade and Investment in Agriculture (NFTIA), 22-23 May 2014

The current multilateral framework governing international agricultural trade was designed a quarter of a century ago, as part of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Since 2007, however, the situation on world markets for agricultural goods has changed dramatically. The general consensus is that the new features of the global agricultural situation are not adequately reflected in the proposals for the reform of international rules relating to trade and investment in agriculture

QUNO therefore established this programme, working collaboratively towards a New Framework for Trade and Investment in Agriculture (NFTIA) so that trade policies and rules do not trump food security measures and trade is seen as a tool that can support food security in appropriate situations. Following a successful small expert consultation in January 2014, QUNO convened a second such consultation in Geneva on 22-23 May 2014 to advance the work on NFTIA. Present were representatives of State trade delegations, farmers organizations from different parts of the world, and trade and food security experts, academics and researchers.

The following informal report summarizes the discussion and understandings emerging from this consultation, which will inform our NFTIA work going forward.

Author: 

  • Susan Bragdon
  • Claire Rodgerson

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October 2014

Geneva Reporter, July - September 2014

In this issue:

  • A New Framework for Trade and Investment in Agriculture
  • Update from the UN Human Rights Council
  • QUNO and the UN Climate Summit
  • Highlights from QUNO New York
  • Peace and Disarmament
  • News in Brief
  • Briefing Paper: The Aarhus Convention

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August 2014

QUNO and Minute 36

Minute 36 (the Canterbury Commitment) challenges Quakers to seek a sustainable, equitable and peaceful life on Earth. Britain Yearly Meeting is responding to this challenge by focusing on how to become a low-carbon sustainable community. The Quaker United Nations Office responds to the same challenge at the international level in our work on climate change, natural resource management, food and sustainability, and human rights.

This briefing paper connects the work of QUNO to the concerns and the spirit of Minute 36, describing the linkages between local, national and international levels of engagement.

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March 2014

The right to food and its relation to trade and investment rules, written statement to the 25th session of the Human Rights Council

In this written statement by Friends World Committee for Consultation to the 25th session of the Human Rights Council (HRC), Quakers ask that the Right to Food be considered in the development of new policy frameworks for trade and investment in agriculture. It calls on the HRC to encourage the design of alternative approaches to trade and investment rules with people, sustainability and food at the centre and the creation of an enabling international legal environment that supports domestic efforts towards the realization of the right to food.

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March 2014

International Finance and Investment in Agriculture: Trends and Prospects

Presentation shared during an off the record expert consultation convened by QUNO on a New Framework on Trade and Investment in Agriculture. Participants were invited to review of changes in food systems since the conclusion of the WTO's Agreement on Agriculture and other trade agreements, to better understand the current climate, need and potential for change so that trade and investment rules support all people's food security. 

Author: 

  • Jennifer Clapp

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March 2014

Shifts and emerging trends in commodity production and trade flows

Presentation shared during an off the record expert consultation convened by QUNO on a New Framework on Trade and Investment in Agriculture. Participants were invited to review of changes in food systems since the conclusion of the WTO's Agreement on Agriculture and other trade agreements, to better understand the current climate, need and potential for change so that trade and investment rules support all people's food security. 

Author: 

  • Mathilde Douillet

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March 2014

'Stateless State' and self-organization as a policy resource

Presentation shared during an off the record expert consultation convened by QUNO on a New Framework on Trade and Investment in Agriculture. Participants were invited to review of changes in food systems since the conclusion of the WTO's Agreement on Agriculture and other trade agreements, to better understand the current climate, need and potential for change so that trade and investment rules support all people's food security. 
 

 

Author: 

  • Stephen Sherwood
March 2014

Opinions on the multilateral framework for trade and investment in agriculture: Analysis of an online survey

Presentation shared during an off the record expert consultation convened by QUNO on a New Framework on Trade and Investment in Agriculture. This presentation shared the results of a survey carried out by QUNO in 2013 to gather opinions of the adequacy of the current international rules which govern trade and investment in agriculture.

97.5% of survey respondents felt that the current rules are not adequate to address food security and environmental challenges.

Responses were gathered from individuals from within NGOs, States, Farmers` movements and secretariats of international institutions such as FAO and the WTO. Participants shared important issues to be addressed by the international system, also ideas for how changes can be made to achieve a system which adequately addresses food security and environmental challenges.

Author: 

  • Claire Rodgerson

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January 2014

Background note: A guide for planning and strategy development in the face of complexity

How can policy makers, managers and practitioners best plan in the face of complexity? Does complexity make planning an irrelevant exercise? This background note is a guide, elaborating how planning and strategy development can be carried out despite complexity.

Author: 

  • Richard Hummelbrunner and Harry Jones

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November 2013

A New Framework for Trade and Investment in Agriculture – QUNO`s vision

The Quaker United Nations Office (QUNO) is working with others to explore the purpose, structure and direction of the governance of trade and investment in agriculture. To do this, we are stepping back from international negotiations relating to trade and investment in agriculture and asking questions about what an ideal framework to govern trade and investment in agriculture should look like. This document outlines QUNO's NFTIA vision.

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October 2013

Definition of 'Breeder' under UPOV

A briefing paper on food, biological diversity and intellectual property for the October 2013 UPOV sessions. It urges delegates to carefully consider their countries' objectives and realities in the area of agriculture when discussing the draft Explanatory Note on the definition of 'breeder' in the UPOV Council and Committee, particularly in relation to the role that smallholder farmers play in plant breeding.

Author: 

  • Caroline Dommen

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August 2013

NFTIA Draft Mapping of Alternative Proposals

QUNO believes that by placing people’s livelihoods and dignity alongside sustainability and food security as the central objectives of agriculture trade, it is possible to envision a new framework of agricultural trade and investment rules that would better enable countries to meet peoples’ long-term food security needs and objectives. This document is a draft mapping of some of the alternatives already proposed.
 

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May 2013

QUNO Review May 2013

Review of the activities of QUNO in 2012, including:

  • Peace and disarmament 
  • Peacebuilding and prevention of violent conflict
  • Food and sustainability
  • Human impacts of climate change
  • Natural resources, conflict and cooperation
  • Human rights and refugees
  • Palestine and Statehood at the UN
  • Peace, development and the Millenium Development Goals

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February 2011

Food, Biological Diversity and Intellectual Property

The International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) influences global policy relating to agricultural research, as it is the only international organisation with responsibility for plant variety protection.

This report seeks to raise awareness about UPOV’s role and way of working. It aims to provide a point of reference around which key actors – both supportive and critical of current approaches to intellectual property (IP) protection of plants – can engage in discussions and exchange of ideas.

The report also discussion the history of Plant Variety Protection (PVP) and Plant Breeders' Rights (PBRs) as well as UPOV's relationship with the World Trade Organization (WTO), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the FAO's Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA). It also refers to discussions on disclosure of origin of genetic resources, farmers' rights and the WIPO Development Agenda.

Author: 

  • Graham Dutfield

Languages: 

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September 2010

Agricultural Trade and Investment Rules for the 21st Century

The world of agriculture policy has changed fundamentally since the WTO’s Agreement on Agriculture was adopted. This is a report of a panel discussion held during the WTO Public Forum, September 2010, that aimed to present some of the challenges facing world agriculture today, and how these could be addressed.

In particular, the session focused on the need for agriculture to provide food for the world’s population in a sustainable way. Presenters raised some issues in the Doha Round, the potential for sustainable agriculture to feed the world, and the role that food reserves can play in ensuring food security.

Author: 

  • QUNO
  • Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy

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January 2009

Geneva Reporter

QUNO Geneva's newsletter from November 2008 to January 2009. Featured stories:

  • The Future of Armed Violence and Development
  • Universal Periodic Review
  • Fisheries Subsidies Negotiations at the WTO
  • Arms Control and the Art of Putting People First
  • Caroline Dommen joins QUNO Staff Team and other staff news

Author: 

  • QUNO

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December 2008

The Protection of Geographical Indications and the Doha Round: Strategic and Policy Considerations for Africa

Aims to inform the position of the African Group in the WTO Geographical Indication (GI) negotiations. In particular it aims to generate objective evidence regarding issues such as the availability of legal means to protect GIs in African countries, the costs and benefits of GI protection, African products that could benefit from GI protection, and technical assistance needs relating to GI protection.

Author: 

  • Sisule F. Musungu

Countries / Regions: 

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