FAO Symposium on trade, agriculture and food security opens in Geneva
What will be the most pressing issues facing developing countries at the upcoming World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations on agricultural trade? Representatives from developing countries, observers from regional institutions and international organizations, and selected experts and resource persons will be gathering in Geneva, Switzerland, from 23 to 24 September to examine this question at the FAO Symposium on Agriculture, Trade and Food Security. The FAO Symposium aims to assist governments in the developing world prepare for the WTO Ministerial Conference to be held in Seattle, United States, from 30 November to 2 December. According to a WTO press release, the Seattle Conference will mark the beginning of "global negotiations which will shape world trade".
The Geneva Symposium is intended to provide a forum where those concerned about the effects of agricultural trade reforms on developing countries can share their views on different aspects of all the relevant agreements. In the words of Hartwig de Haen, Assistant Director-Genreal of FAO's Economic and Social Department, "The Symposium aims to address the critical linkages that exist among agriculture, economic development and food security."
The Symposium will look at trends in agricultural trade over the past two decades and the effects the AoA has had on international markets and the economies of developing countries. Participants will then focus on the issues at stake in the WTO negotiations and the policy options for improving agricultural production, trade and food security. In formulating potential policy options, participants will use as reference points the goals stated in the Rome Declaration on World Food Security and the Plan of Action of the 1996 World Food Summit. It is hoped that the ideas that emerge from the FAO Symposium will contribute to ensuring that the WTO negotiations in Seattle will 'shape world trade' with food security in mind.
Listen to or download an audio report on the Symposium on Agriculture, Trade and Food Security. The report includes an interview with Paul Nicholson, member-farmer of the Spanish non-governmental organization Via Campesina.
22 September 1999