21 Oct 2015

WTI researcher addresses climate change and agriculture in Africa

WTI senior researcher Christian Häberli presented his NCCR Trade research on the shortcomings of the present trade and investment regulatory framework at a joint seminar at the School of Law and Business of the University of Addis Ababa this week.

He argued that almost any climate change mitigation measure entails either a subsidy for domestic producers, or a border measure discriminating “like products” with a larger footprint – or both.

Both measures raise fundamental WTO compatibility issues which are not being addressed by the trade regulatory body in Geneva. Trade implications are not expected to be addressed by the COP21 Climate Summit in Paris this December either, thereby exacerbating the potential conflict between climate mitigation and (agricultural) trade liberalisation.

In addition to the WTI and Addis Ababa University, the joint seminar involved the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).

Participants, especially Dr Adama Coulibaly, an agricultural economist with UNECA, shared Dr Häberli’s view that any successful collective action for the global commons which the climate represents for the whole world will have to specifically address the crucial issues of small farmers in poor nations.

Dr Häberli is in Ethiopia for a four-day site visit conducted by the Swiss Programme for Research on Global Issues for Development (r4d) Employment Project. More details on the site visit can be found here: http://www.wti.org/news-archive/r4d-researchers-pay-site-visit-to-ethiopia/