The Challenge of Food Security
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The Challenge of Food Security

International Policy and Regulatory Frameworks

Edited by Rosemary Rayfuse and Nicole Weisfelt

This timely study addresses the pressing issue of food security through a range of interdisciplinary contributions, providing both scholarly and policy-making perspectives. It sets the discussion on food security within the little-studied context of its international legal and regulatory framework. The expert contributors explore the key issues from a development perspective and through the lens of existing governance and policy systems with a view to articulating how these systems can be made more effective in dealing with the roots of food insecurity.
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Chapter 8: The WTO and food security: what’s wrong with the rules?

Christian Häberli


On the eve of the 8th World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference, Pascal Lamy had had enough. The WTO Director General circulated a letter he had sent on 14 December 2011 to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Olivier de Schutter, rebuking him for his claim that WTO rules can conflict with food security. 1 On the contrary, Lamy argued, these rules, and possible outcomes from the Doha Development Agenda (DDA), were good and necessary because it was recognised that ‘[p]olicies that distort production and trade in agricultural commodities potentially impede the achievement of long run food security’. 2 He added that the current rules allowed for the policy space and flexibility to ‘encourage and strengthen investment in agriculture, and ensure appropriate safety nets for urban and rural poor’. For good measure he attached to his letter the comments which the WTO Secretariat had offered, to little avail, on a draft submitted by de Schutter.

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