UNCTAD: make agriculture sustainable, or else

A new report from UNCTAD* was welcomed by groups who have long advocated for agroecological approaches, including GRAIN, La Via Campesina and the ETC Group.

Enitled—Wake up before it is too late: Make agriculture truly sustainable now for food security in a changing climate (pdf)—it was written with contributions from over 60 experts, and finds that “urgent and far-reaching action” is needed to address the “collective crisis” of “rural poverty, persistent hunger around the world, growing populations, and mounting environmental concerns.”

For its contribution to the report the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, (IATP) focussed on…

the effects of trade liberalisation on agriculture systems. We argued that trade liberalisation both at the WTO and in regional deals like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) had increased volatility and corporate concentration in agriculture markets, while undermining the development of locally-based, agroecological systems that better support farmers.

The report’s findings are in stark contrast to the accelerated push for new free trade agreements, including the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the U.S.-EU Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which expand a long discredited model of economic development designed primarily to strengthen the hold of multinational corporate and financial firms on the global economy. Neither global climate talks nor other global food security forums reflect the urgency expressed in the UNCTAD report to transform agriculture.

Read more: | Common Dreams

1. Download the report (pdf): |  UNCTAD/DITC/TED/2012/3 Wake up before it is too late: Make agriculture truly sustainable now for food security in a changing climate.
2. Download their Trade & Development Report, 2013 Adjusting to the changing dynamics of the world economy (pdf): | UNCTAD/TDR/2013 which now warns that the traditional model of export-led development is no longer viable.

* (UNCTAD) – United Nations Conference on Trade & Development

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