Food security and trade: reconciling discourses in the Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Trade Organization
- 1.4k Downloads
A contested issue in the international debate on food security is the role of trade in safeguarding food security at the global and national level. This paper explores how the issue of food security and trade has been discursively framed in two international organizations, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs World Trade Organization (GATT/WTO), from 1945 to 2014. We argue that there are identifiable shifts in FAO’s positions on food security and trade in the 1980s and 1990s towards trade liberalization as advocated by the WTO. The official view of the WTO secretariat and many of its member states (proponents of trade liberalization in agriculture) is that trade liberalization is both necessary and conducive for food security. The FAO has adopted this discourse. Although this is the dominant discursive framing, counter-framings of the food security - trade problem has played an important role in the deadlock of the Doha Round negotiations. We consider how this may influence the global food trading regime.
KeywordsDiscourses analysis Trade Food security WTO FAO Food sovereignty
An earlier version was presented at the IPSA World Congress, Montreal, 19–24 July 2014. We thank Frode Veggeland and the two anonymous reviewers of this journal for constructive and helpful comments. This article forms part of the research project ‘Food Security and Trade Policy Making’. Funding from the Norwegian Research Council’s BIONÆR program is gratefully acknowledged.
This paper was part of a workshop sponsored by the OECD Co-operative Research Programme on Biological Resource Management for Sustainable Agricultural Systems.
- Bernal, L. E. (2004). South-South Cooperation in the Multilateral Trading System: Cancun and Beyond, South Centre: Working Papers. Trade-Related Agenda, Development, and Equity (T.R.A.D.E.).Google Scholar
- Dryzek, J. (1997). The politics of the earth: Environmental discourses. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- FAO (1996). Rome Declaration on World Food Security. 13–17 November, Rome.Google Scholar
- FAO (2002). Declaration of the World Food Summit: Five Years Later. 10–13 June, Rome.Google Scholar
- FAO. (2003). Trade reforms and food security: Conceptualizing the linkages. Rome: FAO.Google Scholar
- FAO. (2008). The State of food and agriculture: Biofuels: prospects, risk and opportunity. Rome: FAO.Google Scholar
- FAO (2009). Declaration of the World Food Summit on Food Security. 16–18 November, Rome.Google Scholar
- FAO/ICTSD (2013). G-33 proposal: early agreement on elements of the draft Doha accord to address food security, Information note, September 2013.Google Scholar
- GATT (1986). Punta del Este Declaration. http://www.sice.oas.org/trade/Punta_e.asp. Accessed 6/11/2014.
- Hajer, M. A. (1995). The politics of environmental discourse: ecological modernization and the policy process. Oxford: Clarendon.Google Scholar
- Jarosz, L. (2009). The political economy of global governance and the world food crisis: the case of the FAO. Review: A Journal of the Fernand Braudel Center for the Study of Economies, Historical Systems, and Civilizations, 32(1), 37–60.Google Scholar
- Langhelle, O. (Ed.) (2014). International trade negotiations and domestic politics: The Intermestic politics of trade liberalization. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Margulis, M. (2013). The regime complex for food security: implications for the global hunger challenge. Global Governance, 19(1), 53–67.Google Scholar
- OECD/FAO (2012). OECD-FAO agricultural outlook 2012, OECD Publishing. DOI: 10.1787/agr_outlook-2012-en.
- Stone, D. (2002). Policy paradox. The art of political decision making. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. Revised Edition.Google Scholar
- Sutherland, P. (2010). A future for the world trade organization? The 2010 Jan Tumlir Lecture. Brussels: European Centre for International Political Economy (ECIPE). Jan Tumlir Policy Essays, No. 1.Google Scholar
- Termeer, C. J. A. M. (2013). Aiming for food security. In M. Kropff, J. A. M. Arendonk, & H. J. M. Löffler (Eds.), Food for all: sustainable nutrition security (pp. 128–131). Wageningen: Wageningen UR.Google Scholar
- Toye, R. (2012). The international trade organization. In A. Narlikar, M. Daunton, & R. M. Stern (Eds.), The oxford handbook on the world trade organization. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- WTO (2001). Doha WTO Ministerial 2001: Ministerial Declaration. WT/MIN(01)/DEC/1.Google Scholar
- Zulauf, C., & Orden, D. (2014). U.S. Agricultural Act of 2014: Reaffirming Countercyclical Support. http://www.ifpri.org/sites/default/files/Zulauf%20and%20Orden%20Narrative%20FINAL%20Synopsis%20to%20Accompany%20Policy%20Seminar%20PowerPoint%20-%20July%2021%202014.pdf. Accessed 1/10/2014.