25 Sep 2013
Legal Bases for Food Security in Switzerland
by Christian Häberli (WTI)
The Right to Food, as enshrined in international law, has found its way into national constitutions and practices. What matters from a national and international legal point of view is how this policy objective is implemented. In Switzerland, a number of policies and their instruments are relevant here, namely agricultural, supply/stockpile, trade and development policies. This paper (in German) asks whether the policy instruments are coherent and how implementation conflicts and negative spill-over effects could be minimised. It finds that the four policy objectives enshrined in the Federal Constitution are not in themselves incoherent. However, certain Swiss agricultural policy instruments, even where they are compatible with relevant rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO), do have an avoidable negative impact on the Right to Food of developing country producers, because Swiss Food Security is overwhelmingly and increasingly defined by agricultural (self-reliance) policies (“Food Sovereignty”). This implies higher domestic food prices, commercial displacement and food dumping. The conclusions suggest a number of optimisations as a contribution to the presently on-going reform process for 1983 National Economic Supply Act 1983 (NESA), such as virtual stockpiles and taxpayer-financed stockpile costs.