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Christian Häberli

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Christian Häberli

Agriculture is more affected by climate change, it contributes more to GHG emissions, but it also offers more development opportunities in a climate change perspective than other sectors. This chapter asks whether the food value chain is climate change resilient under the present international regulatory framework. The research hypothesis is that a legal analysis of the issues at stake has to include the specific situation of weak states, small farmers and poor consumers. This is a still under-researched issue of policy space and tools coherence both at national and international levels. Climate change affects poverty, hunger and malnutrition. Hence mitigation and adaptation strategies need to consider other issues including production subsidies, productivity, non-food uses of agricultural land such as biofuels for local production and for exports, biotechnology, standards and labelling, carbon taxation and emission trading, water and fish, risk insurance and export restrictions, food stockpiles, mitigation of various vulnerabilities, gender, local and international migration and violence. From a regulatory perspective the relevant question is whether the present policies and tools promoting food production, investment and trade are good enough to cope with the additional challenge of global warming. This overview shows that today’s regulatory deficits are anything but climate change-resilient. The presently non-negotiable deficiencies of several WTO rules, and the lack of stringent disciplines for trade-distorting farm and fish subsidies, jeopardize climate action for agriculture. There is a need to review regional trade agreements and sectorial agreements including on energy, aviation, water management, shipping, fishing and migration – even the preferential treatment of climate-friendly products and processing methods from developing countries. Changes are also required for international investment treaties. Foreign direct investment in agriculture is under-regulated and over-protected. However, required first and foremost are multilaterally agreed climate-smart best farming and processing practices. These standards would then need to be enshrined in a credible multilateral environmental agreement, and protected against legal challenges in the WTO, similarly to internationally agreed food safety standards. This exercise quite possibly implies some new and climate-specific trade and investment rules for agriculture, water and aquaculture. Absent such new or modified rules, climate change – if it continues according to scientific forecasts – might marginalize some of the net food-importing developing countries even more, and drive poor smallholders out of business even faster. Key Words: climate change, agriculture, trade, investment, development, WTO

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Christian Häberli

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Christian Häberli

You do not have access to this content

Christian Häberli

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Christian Häberli