Promoting food security provisions in world trade agreements

The adoption of Agenda 21 and the [Rio Declaration] during the [United Nations Conference on Environment and Development] (UNCED) in 1992 by all United Nations member states has confirmed global concerns for the natural environment and its peoples. In most regions, in the future, avenues must be found to increase food production for the food-insecure other than the large- scale conversion of fragile natural habitats into farmland. As conventions based on Agenda 21 principles (e.g. relating to biological diversity, climate change and desertification) come into force, nations are agreeing to legally binding frameworks for sustainable development. Joint adherence to these conventions in order to ensure a stable and predictable environment for agricultural production is essential to the determination to meet the global food security challenge and to meet the growing demand from global food consumers.

A significant development of the post-[General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade] (GATT) global economy is the emergence of two scenarios: (1) In this scenario, continued growth in world trade will allow food- deficit countries in the South to produce and export industrial goods and services that should enable them to purchase significant quantities of food from the food-surplus countries of the North. Many of these rich developed countries have considerable unused production potential, given their technological expertise and their marketing infrastructures. These intensive production methods are being adapted to meet modern requirements of sustainable development. For this food to reach the food-insecure in poor countries, the development of effective national food security policies will be required. These must ensure higher food entitlements for both the rural and urban poor through wider access to food made possible by income generation and employment. (2) The second scenario, thought by many analysts to be more realistic, suggests that poor countries of the South must increase their own food production significantly and in such a way that it specifically alleviates food insecurity. Towards this end, a number of mechanisms may be invoked: (i) increased agricultural research and development efforts aimed at increasing productivity per hectare of land and unit of labour; improved extension services, through governmental and non-governmental channels, that will enable all farmers to use the results of research and reap the benefits from technological advances; and (ii) improved infrastructural and socio-economic arrangements, including enabling policies (e.g. fiscal policies, land tenure policies, good governance, popular participation, suitable credit schemes and institution-building) that will allow all sections of the community to sustain the increased production.

More focused financial and technical assistance should be provided to address effectively the problem of food security in net food-importing developing countries. In particular, concrete measures should be taken to ensure the implementation of the Marrakech Ministerial Decision on [Measures Concerning Possible Negative Effects of the Reform Programme on Least Developed and Net Food-Importing Developing Countries]. Food security should be taken into account in any negotiations on agriculture, as well as non-trade concerns referred to in the [Agreement on Agriculture].
1. There is ample evidence now to show that farmers' are willing to increase food production in many developing countries if this is closely linked to the existence of markets for their produce. Similarly, the adoption by smallholders of improved management techniques on their farms seem to occur when there is ready access to input supplies and assured markets with fair and predictable prices for the produce.

2. The experiences accumulated through general development studies and observations of the older green revolution strongly suggest that more general market forces and government market actions override technological packages. Technology alone cannot secure the production of food or access to it, nor can policies alone achieve this. The adoption of available technology largely depends on the incentives farmers perceive from them, and incentives are closely linked to markets.

Counter Claim:
1. While North-South trade may improve national food security in developing countries, it does not directly follow that it will influence household food security for the poor in these countries as a group, or secure greater access to food in remote localities.
Type Classification:
E: Emanations of other strategies
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 2: Zero HungerGOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong Institutions