Research Handbook on the WTO Agriculture Agreement New and Emerging Issues in International Agricultural Trade Law
New and Emerging Issues in International Agricultural Trade Law
- Research Handbooks on the WTO series
Edited by Joseph A. McMahon and Melaku Geboye Desta
Chapter 3: Do WTO Rules Improve or Impair the Right to Food?
3 Do WTO rules improve or impair the right to food? Christian Ha¨berli I. INTRODUCTION The global food crisis of 2007–08 seems to have been forgotten. Media attention at the time focused on food riots in Haiti and Mozambique, while world leaders and more than a dozen international organizations gathered for several food summits, calling for immediate relief measures. All in all, however, the governmental and inter-governmental response was sadly limited to a few high-proﬁle conferences and action plans with no follow-up at the regulatory and institutional level. The attention of the mighty and wealthy focused on the subsequent ﬁnancial and economic crises. What is really alarming, however, is that apparently no lessons were learned when for the ﬁrst time in history the number of hungry people exceeded 1 billion (FAO Press Release, 2009a). Interestingly this ominous record was reached in mid-2009 – at a time when food prices had already dropped by 40 per cent. By 2010 ‘only’ 925 million people were still undernourished – yet this number was still higher than before the food crisis (FAO, 2010). In November 2010 the World Food Programme (WFP) warned that prices could rise again in 2011 (WFP, 2010). And so they did.1 Moreover, the IMF expected this rise to continue with non-oil commodity prices expected to increase by 11 per cent in 2011 (IMF, 2011: 6). Again, this seemed to matter only where the angry poor rioted in the Middle East and elsewhere. But not a single government seems to...
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