ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Unfulfilled Promise at Buenos Aires

Food Sovereignty under WTO

The interim solution to the problem of whether to allow public stockholding of food stocks for food security purposes in the World Trade Organization was arrived at during the Bali Ministerial Conference held in 2013 and subsequently by the General Council of the WTO in November 2014. However, the commitment to agree to a permanent solution by the 11th Ministerial Conference did not materialise. The United States and some other members reneged on their commitment to finding a permanent solution, effectively undermining the WTO itself. Developing country members have to persist for a permanent solution.

At the 11th Ministerial Conference (MC11) of the World Trade Organization (WTO), many developing country members expected a permanent solution to the issue of public stockholding for food security purposes. Regrettably, MC11 failed to deliver on this issue due to the divergent views of member countries on it as reflected in various proposals submitted to the WTO. Further, the strong opposition of the United States (US) extinguished all chances of a permanent solution.

The need for a permanent solution arises out of a lack of policy space for many developing and least developed countries (LDCs) under the existing rules of the Agreement on Agriculture (AoA) to implement agricultural and food security policies. These provisions threaten the food security for millions of poor people and hinder the achievement of Goal 2 of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) of the United Nation: zero hunger by 2030. It is an irony that developed countries provide huge support to the farmers as well as spend billions of dollars for food security, whereas illogical and biased provisions of the WTO come in the way of developing countries to provide food security to their poor who are vulnerable to hunger and malnutrition.

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Updated On : 29th Dec, 2017

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