Land Reform

Archive, Edition 2003/02

WTO - World Trade after Doha

From the Uruguay Round to the Doha Declaration - What's new?

The 4th WTO Ministerial Conference in Doha in November 2001 launched a new round of trade negotiations. It provided the mandate for negotiations on a range of subjects to be completed by 2005. The existing Agreement on Agriculture is to be amended and converted into a fair and market-oriented trading system for agricultural products. The WTO Ministerial Declaration also reflects the political will to improve the integration of developing countries into the multilateral trading system.
Dr. Rolf Drescher*
German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Division305: Globalisation; Trade; Investment
Bonn, Germany

The WTO, food security and poverty reduction - a contradiction in terms?

The objectives of the World Trade Organization (WTO) are based on the principles of comparative advantage and global free trade. A world market for agricultural products that is liberalized and not distorted by subsidies provides greater potential for improving food security and reducing poverty. This applies particularly to locations enjoying favourable climates and production systems. Global free trade may harm marginal locations with weak infrastructures.
Eberhard Hauser
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische
Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) GmbH
? German Technical Cooperation
Rural Development Division
Eschborn, Germany

Agriculture negotiations in the Doha Round: The EU's negotiating position

The EU protects its agricultural producers heavily. According to OECD's figures, subsidies accounted for around 35 percent of gross farm income in the EU in 2001. The EU thus lies well above the overall OECD average (31 percent). The high level of agricultural protection is damaging to many developing countries, firstly because it restricts their opportunities to export to the EU and other markets, and secondly because subsidized exports entering the developing countries' markets displace local production and thus contribute to rural poverty. For these reasons, developing countries are urging industrialized countries, within the WTO framework, to dismantle their protectionist policies in the agricultural sector.
Harald Grethe
Institute of Agricultural Economics
University of Göttingen
Göttingen, Germany

An »Everything but Development Agenda« out of Doha at WTO

Al most years after the launch of a new round of trade negotiations at the WTO's 4th Ministerial Conference in Doha, Qatar, in November 2001, the WTO is finding itself with a plateful of good and bad food that cannot be swallowed or digested. In the intricate WTO world of secrecy within which the talks are held, it is clear that at the end of the day, if there be one, it may become a case of everyone losing, but none gaining.
Chakravarthi Raghavan
Chief editor
South-North Development Monitor
Geneva, Switzerland

The implications of WTO negotiations: Fears and hopes in the Jamaican sugar sector

Jamaica is a high-cost sugar producer. Maintained by preferential marketing arrangements, the Jamaican sugar industry is presently at a point in which its viability is threatened by internal financial problems and what it considers to be external threats brought about by the possibility of losing its preferential benefits from the EU and the introduction of the EBA proposal. In the upcoming WTO round of negotiations the Sugar Protocol, the Special Preferential Sugar Agreement - SPS - , and the »Everything-But-Arms-Initiative« - EBA - will be examined and the future of the Jamaican sugar industry will be at stake.
Cheryl McIntosh
Bonn, Germany

Pro converting agricultural subsidies

The World Trade Organization (WTO) is currently engaged in negotiations on the liberalization of agricultural trade. Liberalization is expected to engender economic growth, producing a »trickle-down« effect to the poor so that poverty is almost automatically reduced. But this correlation does not exist in many countries: it is most likely to occur in Asia, and least likely to do so in Africa. A key issue now concerns the »flanking measures«, i.e. »liberalization plus«. However, this »plus« has yet to feature on the WTO negotiating agenda.
Dr. Rudolf Buntzel-Cano
Commissioner for World Food Issues
Church Development Service (EED)
Berlin, Germany

The WTO - Threat or opportunity for the Indian dairy sector?

Today, India is the largest milk-producing country worldwide, with an annual output exceeding 80 million tonnes. The development of the Indian dairy sector - also known as »Operation Flood« - is an unprecedented success story, for it is based on small-scale farming. The liberalization of markets within the WTO framework, and especially the OECD countries' export subsidies now seem to be threatening the Indian dairy sector.
Angelika Wilcke
Frankfurt am Main, Germany
WTO - Regulations and Standards

Regulations, standards and international trade

The current debate on globalization and trade liberalization is accompanied by growing concerns about environmental degradation, worker exploitation and food safety. Although environmentalists, human rights activists and many consumers in industrialized and developing countries alike share these concerns, the debate is nonetheless strongly polarized. Industrialized countries fear that high standards will lead to a loss of competitiveness due to the substantial costs involved, whereas developing countries are concerned that standards will become a new form of protectionism.
Dr. Ulrike Grote
Center for Development Research
University of Bonn

TRIPS and its approach to living material

The protection of intellectual property can be a stimulus for innovation and technology transfer. But uniform, high standards of protection fail to reflect the various developing countries' different socio-economic situations and protective needs. Developing countries' concerns about the potential negative impacts of patenting living material are justified. However, the current provisions of the TRIPS Agreement do ensure a large measure of implementational flexibility that must not be undermined. No country is obliged to patent any plants or varieties.
Achim Seiler
Social Science Research Center Berlin
Berlin, Germany

What is biopiracy?

There is mounting public controversy over cases in which companies or research institutions based in Europe or the US make use of active agents extracted from plants or animals native to developing countries in order to make new pharmaceutical or cosmetic products. To safeguard promising finds of such active substances, companies frequently seek to take out patents in the North. In this context the term »biopiracy« inevitably
comes up .
Andreas Gettkant
Alice Müller
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) GmbH
Eschborn, Germany

Côte d'Ivoire: An eldorado for child labour in West Africa?

In recent years, the extent of child labour in Côte d'Ivoire has been a cause for concern, not only in terms of the large number of children affected, but first and foremost because of the particularly severe forms of child exploitation - hazardous work, begging, maltreatment, sexual abuse, etc. Despite the increasing severity of the problem and the fact that the government of Côte d'Ivoire has signed Conventions 138 and 182 adopted by the International Labour Organization (ILO), implementing the necessary corrective measures is proving a very slow process.
David Atse
Senior Consultant
Abidjan Riviera,
Côte d'Ivoire

Do social and ecological standards protect people and the environment?

Social and ecological standards can vary widely in terms of rigorousness. Consequently, the level of protection they afford people and the environment is also variable. The spectrum of standards initiatives ranges from weak voluntary commitments with self-regulation to very tough standards, compliance with which is verified by independent inspection bodies. Regrettably, even the binding standards for sustainable development adopted at the Johannesburg World Summit are non-binding statements of intent rather than binding declarations.
Dr. Dietrich Burger
Katrin Gothmann
Claudia Mayer
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) GmbH
Programme Office for Social and Ecological Standards
Eschborn, Germany

Land policy, poverty alleviation and sustainable rural development

For developing countries and countries in transition, land law and land tenure are still unresolved problems cementing rural and urban poverty. Systematic integration of the 'land issue' into Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSP) is all the more warranted because, for the poor, land is a vital production factor and an asset; and indirectly because secure land rights impact on investment and (rural) growth.
Dr. Klaus W. Deininger
The World Bank
Washington D.C., USA
Prof. Dr. Michael Kirk
Philipps-Universität Marburg
Institut für Kooperation in Entwicklungsländern
Marburg, Germany

The pros and cons of land markets

Although there is now widespread consensus throughout the world that access to land is key to reducing poverty in rural areas and implementing the right to food, heated debate has broken out over the market-assisted land reform approach. This debate sometimes suggests that there are irreconcilable ideological differences surrounding this issue that could jeopardize the valuable basic consensus people have fought so hard to achieve.
Dr. Uschi Eid
State Secretary (Parlamentarische Staatssekrerärin) in the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Berlin, Germany

Land reform in Poland on the eve of EU accession

In preparation for accession to the EU, Poland has launched state support programmes in an effort to consolidate agricultural land tenure, which is currently still very fragmented. Despite numerous measures taken, development of the agrarian structure is not yet satisfactory and the desired number of economically viable holdings has not yet been reached.
Jerzy Plewa
Under-Secretary of State
Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of the Republic of Poland
Warsaw, Poland

Land reform in South-East Asian transition countries: Cambodia's path as a post-conflict country in transition

After more than twenty years of civil war and the reign of terror by the Khmer Rouge, Cambodia has been engaged in a process of reconstruction and transformation since the peace agreement of 1991. Major reform measures were introduced following the elections of 1998. A core element of these is implementation of land reforms with the aim of securing access to land for all population groups and creating legal security in the land sector
Willi Zimmermann
Land Management Project Cambodia
c/o Ministry of Land Management,
Urban Planning and Construction
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Gabriele Kruk
Sector project »Land policy and land tenure«
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) GmbH
Eschborn, Germany

Land redistribution and tenure reform in Namibia

In Namibia -the driest country in Sub-Saharan Africa - land is highly unequally distributed. Due to a racially structured policy Namibia's heritage at Independence was a dualistic land tenure structure, consisting of areas where land is held under freehold title and areas where no ownership of land or freehold title can be obtained. Since Independence, land reform has concentrated on broadening access to freehold land for previously disadvantaged Namibians by transforming large-scale freehold farms into smaller agricultural units. Land tenure issues in non-freehold areas, however have not featured prominently in land reform.
Wolfgang Werner
Windhoek, Namibia

Preventing conflicts over land in Mauritania through the »Code Pastoral« Rain, sand and fences

In eastern Mauritania, land is used both by sedentary farmers and nomadic pastoralists. An attempt is being made to resolve the resulting conflicts between individual ownership and common goods with a new »Code Pastoral«, developed and introduced within the framework of German technical cooperation with Mauritania.
Dr. Dirk Thies
Lakhsara Dié
Brahim Sall
Alexandra Müller
Stephan A. Neu
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) GmbH
Bureau de la GTZ
Nouakchott, Mauritania

International Conventions

New Treaty on Agricultural Biodiversity: FAO takes a step forward

Almost 20 years to the day that Mexico first tabled a proposal for a binding international treaty on plant germplasm, the FAO Conference, in November 2001, adopted the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. The new Treaty emerges as the result of seven year long renegotiation of the Undertaking. It will come into force 90 days after the 40th country has ratified.
Cary Fowler, Ph.D.
Senior Advisor to the Director General
International Plant Genetic Resources
Institute - IPGRI
Rome, Italy