Policies and laws that govern trade and investment can have profound impacts on strategies for promoting food security and nutrition. While trade and investment can bring a range of benefits that may help to increase inclusive economic growth and improve livelihoods, secure greater access to food at more stable prices, and open or expand markets for smallholders, these benefits are not automatic. Indeed, where trade and investment are poorly governed, increased flows can undermine states’ food security commitments and obligations, enshrined in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and in binding international human rights treaties. Given the profound implications that trade and investment agreements can have on global and national sustainable development priorities, calls for improvement of these legal regimes have increased in recent years. As trade and investment agendas and policies are reformed, strong consideration must be given to food security and nutrition objectives to enable meaningful and effective alignment of trade, investment and food security policies and obligations.
To discuss these issues, CCSI, together with the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), co-organized a panel discussion at the Committee on World Food Security’s (CFS) 44th Plenary Session. Representatives from civil society, academia, the private sector, and other stakeholders provided their insights on: the implications of trade and investment agreements for food security and nutrition; recent developments in trade and investment treaty drafting and policies that are relevant for achievement of food security and nutrition objectives; and necessary steps that must be taken to ensure that trade and investment promote, rather than undermine, efforts to end hunger, achieve food security, and enhance nutrition.
Other issues for discussion included: key regulatory shifts and policies that are needed to ensure food security and improved nutrition; ways in which these regulatory shifts and policies may be impacted by trade and investment; and possible options for resolving or avoiding negative impacts or conflicting priorities/ obligations created or exacerbated by the trade and investment regimes. Side event attendees were encouraged to share their insights and experiences on these issues.
- Jesse Coleman, Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI)
- Nana Osei-Bonsu, Ghana Private Enterprise Federation (GPEF)
- Liliane Ortega, Permanent Representation of Switzerland to FAO, IFAD and WFP
- Carin Smaller, International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)
- Shiney Varghese, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP)
- Susan Bragdon, Quaker UN Office (QUNO)
For a short summary of this event, see this blog post.