As the international community wades into the political discussions regarding the alternatives to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) after 2015 and the design of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as mandated by the Rio+20 conference, it is timely to consider the question of whether development is a matter mostly of individual effort on the part of nation-states or whether there are elements in the international economic system that could serve as significant obstacles to national development efforts.
Regional trade agreements have grown very rapidly in recent years, and today the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has been notified that 253 are in force.
The steady increase in patent applications and grants that is taking place in developed and some developing countries (notably in China) is sometimes hailed as evidence of the strength of global innovation and of the role of the patent system in encouraging it.
New analysis suggests that developing countries are losing a trillion dollars or more each year to tax evasion and corruption facilitated by lax laws in Western countries, raising pressure on global leaders to agree to broad new reforms at an international summit later this year.
A few years ago, nobody could have imagined that some 50 Heads of States and Prime Ministers from Africa would meet the President of the United States for a summit. Yet, the first Africa/United States Summit took place in Washington from August 4 to 6, making headlines around the world.
India’s decisive stand last week not to adopt the protocol of amendment of the trade facilitation agreement (TFA) unless credible rules were in place for the development issues of the South was met with "astonishment" and "dismay" by trade diplomats from the North, who described New Delhi’s as "hostage-taking" and "suicidal".
The failure of the two major players in global trade negotiations to bridge their differences has put paid to the adoption of the protocol of amendment for implementation of the contested Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) for the time being.
Food price rises as far back as 2008 are believed to be the partial culprits behind the instability plaguing Arab countries and they have become increasingly aware of the importance of securing food needs through an international strategy of land grabs which are often detrimental to local populations.
“Only two years ago, the soup kitchen was serving 50 meals a day. Today the number has almost doubled and, what is even more worrying, we have started receiving families with children,” says Donatella Turri, director of the Caritas
Diocese of Lucca.
A group of developing countries brought a tectonic shift at the World Trade Organization on Friday by turning the tables against the industrialised countries, when they offered a positive trade agenda to expeditiously arrive at a permanent solution for food security and other development issues, before adopting the protocol of amendment of the contested Trade Facilitation Agreement.
The official outlook for agriculture up to 2023 carries optimistic forecasts for agricultural productivity and commodity prices but it is unlikely that the benefits will be shared by the world’s poorest.
The sixth BRICS Summit which has just ended in Brazil marks the transition of a grouping based hitherto on shared concerns to one based on shared interests.
Attempts to genetically modify food staples, such as crops and cattle, to increase their nutritional value and overall performance have prompted world-wide criticism by environmental, nutritionists and agriculture experts, who say that protecting and fomenting biodiversity is a far better solution to hunger and malnutrition.
Framing rules at the World Trade Organization for maintaining public stockholding programmes for food security in developing countries is not an easy task, and for Ambassador Jayant Dasgupta, former Indian trade envoy to the WTO, “this is even more so when countries refuse to acknowledge the real problem and hide behind legal texts and interpretations in a slanted way to suit their interests.”
The Sixth BRICS Summit which ended Wednesday in Fortaleza, Brazil, attracted more attention than any other such gathering in the alliance’s short history, and not just from its own members – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.