Don't buy the spin: The WTO talks in Nairobi ended badly and India will pay a price

Originally published by on 12/24/2015 Noor Khamis/Reuters It didn’t take long for the spin masters to begin working their magic on the latest dismal World Trade Organisation summit in Nairobi. WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo waxed eloquent about the “historic” agreement, stating in a post-meeting press conference that the agreement “will improve the lives of those who most need to benefit from trade, especially those in Africa”. But what really happened in Nairobi and what does it mean for future trade negotiations? We've had the Financial Times declaring the Doha Development Agenda dead, if not buried. For those unfamiliar with the Doha Round, it has been the only negotia

Defending the Right to Food at the World Trade Organization

Originally published by Food Tank on 12/18/2015 Trade ministers from around the world are concluding a contentious week of negotiations in Nairobi, Kenya under the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Doha Development Round. Thus far, there is no indication that Pope Francis, when he was in Nairobi three weeks earlier, blessed the Kenyatta International Convention Center where the summit will take place. Given the intransigent tone of the U.S. and other developed country representatives, a papal blessing may be the only thing that can produce an outcome worthy of the WTO’s current mandate to promote development. The United States is demanding nothing less than the ending of the Doha Round. A wel

U.S. Cynical Positions Designed to Produce Dealock

Originally published in print by The Standard (Nairobi, Kenya) on 12/18/2015 Yesterday, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman delivered his plenary statement to the trade ministers gathered in Nairobi for the World Trade Organization’s tenth ministerial conference. His statement, which calls for the abandonment of the Doha Development Round in favor of negotiations on new issues of more strategic interest to the United States, deserve a response from a countryman. Mr. Froman calls on trade representatives “to move beyond the cynical repetition of positions designed to produce deadlock.” Yet this is precisely what Mr. Froman has come to Nairobi to repeat: U.S. positions designed to produce

Dumping Responsibility on Third World Farmers Yet Again

Originally published by The Wire on 12/14/2015 Women working in their rice paddy fields in Odisha. Credit: Justin Kernoghan/Flickr On December 15, the world’s trade ministers will gather in Nairobi, Kenya, for the tenth attempt to craft a new set of trade rules under the World Trade Organisation (WTO). The so-called Doha Development Round (DDR), launched in Doha, Qatar, in 2001, promised to right the imbalance in previous trade negotiations that had favoured the United States, European countries, and other developed nations. Reforming unfair agricultural practices were at the centre of the Doha agenda. On the eve of the Nairobi ministerial, that agenda itself is under threat. The US, EU, and

Dinner and Climate Change: Global Poll Shows Eaters Connecting the Dots

Originally published by Civil Eats on 12/15/2014 In 2010, when I was on tour promoting my book Diet for a Hot Planet: The Climate Crisis at the End of Your Fork and What You Can Do About It, I felt lonely. Not because no one was showing up for my book talks, they were. And not because I was alone; with my nine-month-old daughter in tow, I was never by myself. I felt lonely because, back then, there were very few of us talking about the connections between food and climate change, despite the fact that the global food system—from field to plate to landfill—is responsible for as much as one third of all greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). In just a few years that has changed. Somewhat. Today, man

India’s time to lead at the WTO

Originally published by Down to Earth on 12/12/2015 Photo: Thinkstock As we approach the World Trade Organization (WTO) ministerial on December 15-18 in Nairobi, India is leading a group of developing countries insisting that the development goals promised in Doha in 2001 be achieved. On the other hand, the US, European Union (EU) and Japan have called for a “recalibration” of that agenda, one that leaves agriculture largely off the table. India is right to lead the fight for reforms in developed countries’ agricultural policies. Cotton should be at the centre of those reforms. A recent study suggests that US subsidies under the 2014 Farm Bill will continue to suppress global cotton prices.

In Climate Talks, Learn From the Real Climate Change Heroes

World leaders in Paris are in the midst of critical climate negotiations toward the first enforceable agreement in two decades. We hope that two giant questions—too often missed or downplayed—will be a focus: Can our food system—now speeding climate change while leaving a quarter of humanity suffering nutritional deprivation—reverse course? Instead of a climate curse, can our food system become part of the climate cure, while at the same time producing nutritious food that’s accessible to the world’s poorest people? Big changes! But evidence of their possibility mounts. First, however, the big obstacles. Our industrializing food system—from land to landfill—has become a big climate troublema


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