Egypt has initiated a proposal in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to ban export restrictions on farm products to poor countries that are net food importers. The Group of 20 has also exhorted the upcoming WTO ministerial conference to adopt a specific resolution on export restrictions.
In the Arab world, most trade unions are affiliated to governments, but independent labour organisations are starting to emerge.
Some of the decisions taken on trade in the Istanbul Plan of Action are likely to disadvantage poor countries while others are so vague as to be meaningless, says Abdoulaye Sanoko, counsellor at the mission of Mali to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in Geneva.
The World Health Assembly could adopt landmark resolutions asking governments to improve water and sanitation to eradicate cholera and guinea worm, the latter of which exists in just four countries in Africa. While safe drinking water and toilets are the most cost-effective public health measures, they have not been a priority for most developing countries.
Long-term investors like pension funds are probably the reason why the prices of commodities, including crops, have been driven to a higher level than in 2008 when food riots erupted in 30 countries, according to the British nongovernmental organisation Christian Aid.
While foreign direct investment in least developed countries (LDCs) in Africa has risen sharply over the past decade, most of it went to resource-rich economies and had little impact on employment creation.
The special session on Syria held by the United Nations Human Rights Council Friday agreed on neither an international mission of enquiry, as originally foreseen, nor a lower level fact-finding mission - only a mission by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
The fifth conference of the 173 parties to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, Apr. 25-29, could bring to 22 the total number of internationally agreed forbidden pollutants. Alternatives to DDT - one of the persistent organic pollutants (POPs) used in the fight against malaria - are gaining popularity, but its complete ban is not on the agenda.
"It would be bad news for poor countries in Africa if the Doha Round of trade talks fails. This round was meant to rebalance the rules of world trade in favour of developing countries. We have put a lot of resources and hopes into this process and a collapse would be a big betrayal for us."
The international commission of inquiry established by the U.N. Human Rights Council to investigate alleged violations of human rights in Libya will start its mission next week, and report on all crimes, committed by anyone, including foreign powers.
"IBSA what?" is the question you most often get in Geneva when enquiring about the India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) dialogue forum, established in 2003 between these three multicultural democracies and emerging markets "to contribute to the construction of a new international architecture".
An independent U.N. body has criticised the Global Compact, the largest initiative for corporate social responsibility, for not sufficiently monitoring the human rights and environmental commitments of participating companies.
Part of the delay in the finalisation of the economic partnership agreements (EPAs) is due to the so-called non-execution clause that gives the EU the power to take steps against its African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) trading partners if they violate human rights, democracy and good governance principles.
Investing in adding value to raw materials is crucial for the development of the African continent.
Local and foreign investment on the African continent is slowly moving away from agriculture and raw materials to manufacturing, services, communication and tourism, despite poor infrastructure and low skills levels.
In an unusual move, West and Central African civil society organisations have participated in the negotiations between their countries and the European Union on the economic partnership agreements (EPAs). The organisations stress developmental concerns while assisting under-resourced African governments with trade expertise.
Senegalese fishers participating in the 2011 World Social Forum (WSF) warned governments to "wake up to the ethical and transparent regulation of access to fisheries" to halt the overexploitation of this increasingly scarce resource.
It is only the second time that the World Social Forum (WSF) takes place in Africa, the first one having been held in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2007. Since the start of the WSF in Porto Alegre, Brazil, 10 years ago, the organisers have been building African participation.
To allow least developed countries (LDCs) to protect nascent industries, they are not required to cut tariffs for industrial goods and fisheries in the Doha Development Round. However, tariffs cuts will affect them if they are members of customs unions where some of their neighbours are larger developing countries without LDC status.
Least developed countries (LDCs) in Africa did not use the commodity export boom of the mid-2000s to diversify their economies from commodity dependence to manufacturing value-added products. Significantly, the agricultural sector has also not benefited, with the result that LDC reliance on imported food has become even worse.
The United States’ policy to double agricultural exports shows that its government "has learnt nothing" from the last food crisis, a problem reflected in the dramatic increase in that country’s trade-distorting farm subsidies between 2007 and 2008.