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Agricultural Commodities, Trade and Sustainable Development

Thomas Lines


This book arises from two Strategic Dialogues that were recently organized jointly by the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) and the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED).The first was held in Windsor, England, in July 2004 on Agricultural Trade Negotiations, Poverty and Sustainability, and the second in Barcelona in June 2005 on Commodities Trade, Poverty and Sustainable Development.2 Both brought together a mix of policymakers, researchers and activists. The goals of the dialogues were to determine (i) how the Doha Round agricultural negotiations could increase benefits for poor people and nations, (ii) how to link developments in those negotiations to other areas of policy necessary for trade liberalization to realize its potential to improve the lives of the world’s poor, and (iii) what are the main leverage points for action and opportunities for collaboration within ongoing negotiations and other processes. The meetings established a platform for individuals and organizations to carry forward the thinking on poverty and promote sustainable development in their respective countries or regions, and to influence the multilateral trading system and other international processes. Participants agreed that the discussions had helped shape an agenda for reform towards pro-poor, sustainability-oriented agriculture policy reform. Findings and further work can be fed into trade negotiations through a number of well-placed organizations based in Geneva and in the key capitals.Activities to promote greater coherence between agricultural policy and other domestic policies were discussed, as was the need to define clear policy objectives to bring together a range of actors and to link those that understand what is going on in the South with those shaping policy in the WTO and in the North that shape the options for developing countries.

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