International Food Governance and Trade in Agriculture
Introduction and overview
For more than two decades, the concept of sustainable development has surrounded international decision and law making. Since the initial appearance of the concept in the late 1980s – claiming the integration of the social, economic, environmental and future dimension of development – international public law has been recognized as fragmented. As a result, the discourse of multilateral treaties has gradually evolved to include the following imperatives: the treaties should, henceforth, be legally coherent, mutually supportive and provide for an enabling environment. Two decades later, these imperatives have yet to be put into action. The outcome document of the Rio+20 conferences, The Future We Want, rightly reiterates the still prevalent ‘need for an enabling environment at the national and international level’. While this document indeedincludes a list of necessary measures for each dimension of development and even contains innovative proposals for the alternative measuring of progress, it does not provide guidance on how to interrelate the various dimensions systematically and on how to approach ‘legal coherence’ in a structured way.