The Challenge of Food Security. International Policy and Regulatory Frameworks
Book chapter by Christian Häberli in The Challenge of Food Security. International Policy and Regulatory Frameworks, (eds.) Rosemary Rayfuse and Nicole Weisfelt, Edward Elgar Publishing, 2012, pp.149-167.
Former WTO DG Pascal Lamy said that "trade is part of the package of solutions to achieve food security’; the question is whether WTO rules and allowed flexibilities are compatible with efforts to bolster food security.” Whereas Olivier de Schutter, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, argued that WTO rules can conflict with food security. This chapter argues that de Schutter is right – but for other reasons than those he invokes. It starts by recalling a few facts which are often ignored in this debate. We then examine de Schutter’s claims in the light of present WTO rules and disciplines and under the modifications contemplated since the ‘Doha Development Round’ was launched in November 2001. We find that food security in its global, national and household dimensions calls not only for tariff reductions and subsidy disciplines but also for the effective implementation of a number of commitments which the international community has entered into in various international human rights treaties but which even the Doha Round negotiations have not been able to bring into binding trade rules.